There have been a lot of questions about trout plants this year, mostly because with the exception of the North Coast Region, the schedules for most other areas had not yet been posted on the ODFW website. However, as of the end of last week, that information is now available on the ODFW website. If you do not already have it bookmarked, the stocking information can be reached by doing an Internet search using “oregon fishing reports” and then going to the bottom left to click “trout stocking.”
A number of lakes in the Coos Bay area were stocked the week beginning March 4. Empire Lakes received 6,000 trout, and Saunders Lake, Bradley Lake, Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond all received 3,000 trout. Loon Lake received 2,000 legal trout and other Douglas County lakes receiving trout were Ben Irving Reservoir (2,500), Cooper Creek Reservoir (2,000), Galesville Reservoir (2,000) and Plat I (1,500). Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 2,000 trout during the week beginning March 18, as is Loon Lake.
Anglers wanting to fish for larger planted trout could consider Junction City Pond, a diminutive body of water located on the west side of Highway 99, which is slated to receive 1,700 barely legal rainbows, 400 foot-long rainbows and 25 trophy trout (16-inchers) this week. Beginning March 18, the north coast lakes are scheduled to be stocked again. Alder, Buck and Dune lakes are slated to each receive 850 barely legal, 100 foot-long and 36 trophy trout. Georgia and North Georgia are slated to receive 150 barely legals, while Carter Lake is slated to receive 2,500 barely legals and Perkins Lake 250. Other Florence-area lakes scheduled to be planted are: Cleawox (3,000 barely legal and 150 trophy); Elbow Lake (200 foot-longs); Erhart Lake (200 barely legal and 36 trophy); Lost Lake (400 foot-longs); Mercer (1,500 foot-longs); Munsel (2,250 barely legal and 150 trophy); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 barely legal, 450 foot-longs and 106 trophy); Siltcoos Lake (1,500 foot-longs) and Woahink Lake (1,000 foot-longs).
Many anglers who fish for planted trout pay little heed to how the number of trout planted compares to the size of the body of water they are planted in. Planting 150 trout in tiny North Georgia Lake probably works out to about 200 trout per acre, while planting 1,500 trout in Siltcoos Lake works out to less than one trout for every two acres. In fact, the futility of following the stocking truck to Siltcoos may be one reason so many of those trout carry over to become genuine lunkers.
The nice weather this week had Winchester Bay’s South Jetty/Triangle area heavily fished, and anglers did quite well. One angler landed seven lingcod, but only one stretched the tape to 22 inches and was therefore legal. A couple of others missed by a fraction of an inch and several other hookups managed to reach the safety (for them) of the submerged rocks. Another angler caught several striped surfperch near the upper end of the South Jetty and while he was walking around the south end of Half Moon Bay, he put on a spinner and made several casts for spring Chinook. Surprisingly, he hooked one, losing the fish, about a 10-pounder, as he tried to drag it onto shore. A couple of springers were caught in the Scottsburg area this last week, but the fishing is very slow and there do not seem to be many salmon yet in the Umpqua River. By this time next week, there should be a decision on when the ocean fishery starts for Chinook salmon.
Decent bar and ocean conditions last Friday morning and most of Saturday allowed some anglers to target the offshore bottomfishing spots southwest of Winchester Bay. As usual, they pretty much limited out on lingcod, but the incidental catch of “brown bomber” rockfish was lower than normal. This fishery is only legal to fish through the end of this month, and waters deeper than 180 feet (30 fathoms) will close April 1 through September. Joe Cook of “The Bite’s On” in Empire showed me an interesting photo of a jumbo lingcod caught by one of his customers last week off of Charleston’s North Jetty. The lingcod, which weighed more than 20 pounds, had seven broken lines coming out of its mouth and in the photo (taken inside the fish’s mouth), each hook was clearly visible.
Anglers targeting redtailed surfperch on area beaches had pretty good luck over last weekend, but the surf could have been somewhat calmer. One Eugene-area angler managed to land a steelhead of more than 36 inches while targeting the perch at North Beach (Sparrow Park Road). He was using sand shrimp on one hook and half of a six-inch Berkley Gulp sandworm on the other hook, and the steelhead took the Gulp sandworm. The fish had already spawned and one can only guess which river it had recently exited, but it did have a clipped adipose fin.
With the exception of Tenmile Lakes, there has been very little fishing pressure directed at largemouth bass and yellow perch, but the perch seem to be very close to actually spawning and some good-sized largemouth bass have been caught recently. Medford-area teenage bass fishing phenom, Colby Pearson, reported catching a bass of more than eight pounds last week from an “unnamed” lake close to his home.