Weekend fishing opportunities
The recent cold snap has many rivers running low and clear, and steelhead off the bite. Look for fishing to improve on many rivers once things warm up and there’s a little rain.
If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed, it’s probably because that river, lake or reservoir is closed for the season, inaccessible due to snow and bad roads, or offers limited fishing opportunities during the winter months. These water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.
2014 trout stocking
The 2014 trout stocking schedule will be posted as soon as it becomes available – usually in February or March, depending on the zone. In the meantime, the 2013 schedule can often be used as a general guideline for 2014.
Diamond Lake: trout
Diamond Lake received an additional 16,000 trout in late August. These were 8-inch legal-sized trout. The lake also received about 20,000 sub-legal trout in November. Anglers should remember to release all trout smaller than 8 inches.
Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext 236 or 238 for updates. The road around the lake, campgrounds and boat ramps are not plowed during the winter.
Coquille River Basin: steelhead
The rivers in the Coquille Basin have been low and clear but a few winter steelhead are being caught on the lower Coquille River between the towns of Mrytle Point and Coquille. Steelhead anglers are having the best success by plunking with bait, like eggs or shrimp. The best steelhead fishing usually occurs in January in the Coquille River Basin. In the Coquille Basin, from Dec. 1 through April 30, anglers may keep one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day for a total aggregate of three adult fish harvested daily.
Loon Lake: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill
Loon Lake has been stocked with over 8,000 trout. The lake can also provide good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. Fishing is slow and both the BLM and Resort’s boat ramps are closed.
Pacific Ocean and beaches: bottomfish, Dungeness crab
Recreational Dungeness crabbing is open in the ocean.
Fishing for bottom fish, including rockfish and lingcod, is now open at all depths. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod is two.
Tenmile Basin: largemouth bass, steelhead
Bass fishing has been slowed down with last week’s cold temperatures. Bass will be lethargic, so anglers will need to slow down their presentations.
The daily bag limit is one wild coho adult per day and five for the season. The wild coho season bag limits are in aggregate with all other wild coho fisheries in the northwest and southwest coastal basins (not including the ocean season).
Steelhead fishing is open in Tenmile Creek but there have been no reports of any steelhead caught yet. Fishing in Eel Creek is now open. In the Tenmile Basin, from Dec. 1 through April 30, anglers may keep one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day for a total aggregate of three adult fish harvested daily.
Winchester Bay: winter steelhead
Steelhead will be migrating up the Umpqua for the next several months. Most steelhead fishing in the lower, Main and North Umpqua is catch-and-release since most of the fish are wild. Anglers wishing to harvest a hatchery fish should focus on the South Umpqua.
Waterfowl hunting in bays and marshes has been reasonably good due to the lack in precipitation. Inland fields have not experienced extensive flooding yet. However, the weather forecast indicates rain may be in our forecast. When enough rain occurs waterfowl will move to inland fields to take advantage of feeding opportunities in flooded fields. Hunters will have to get permission to access private lands in the Coos and Coquille river basins to find hunting opportunities in these areas.
Until this flooding occurs and birds move as a result, places to hunt closer to the coast in Coos County include but are not limited to certain islands in Coos Bay, Bandon Marsh Unit of Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and parts of New River ACEC, near Langloios.
Wilson’s Snipe season is open and the number of birds present locally is improving. These fast flying shore birds move south with the oncoming winter. Often they can be found feeding in marshes and areas where puddles occur in clear cuts. For the coastal hunter who wants to do some bird hunting similar to the type of hunting upland birds provide, Wilson’s snipe hunting is a good substitute. These birds hold well for a bird dog like some upland birds. When they flush they do so noisily and fly fast and erratically presenting a very challenging target. Finally, they are good to eat, as well. Those interested in hunting Wilson’s snipe need to learn to differentiate these birds from other shore birds. The best way to do this is to consult a bird identification book, do a search for information on the internet or consult your local ODFW wildlife biologist.
Grouse has been very low due to rainy weather in May and June the past few years, which causes young chicks to get wet and become hypothermic. As a result, populations are depressed in Coos County. There are some indications that this spring was less problematic for broods but the overall population is low enough due to past years that finding grouse remains difficult.
Quail populations are also decreased compared to the past but they are doing better than grouse. This is likely due to the fact that their broods hatch later in the spring than grouse. Hunters wanting to harvest quail will find the best hunting either in the vicinity of farm land for California quail or on exposed ridges for mountain quail.
Cougar is closed in Zone A (Coast/North Cascades) but open in other parts of Southwest. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.
Coyote populations are good in Coos County and they will often respond to calls. Calling coyotes in the coast range is challenging due to brush. Many landowners with sheep are complaining about losses of sheep to coyote predation. Hunters interested in hunting coyotes may find success in asking for permission to hunt private land where landowners are losing sheep.