We’ve had a couple nice-weather days lately and a lot of you got out to enjoy them. From ocean fishing big lingcod to the more than 50 people who came out clamming with us last Saturday there was literally tons of seafood harvested here locally.
Our pro-staffer Keifer is still plugging away at steelhead with smaller numbers, but still a really good success ratio. He is going to be switching from winter steelhead to summer steelhead in the next few months and we will keep you posted on that as it happens.
Pro-staffer Trenton and crew got out to the ocean and placed a substantial beating on several lingcod and rockfish as they always do. And last, but not least, Captain Sharky was out for the giant lingcod once again, with one coming in at 26 pounds and several smaller, but still a high grade of fish.
Near shore the black rockfish bite turned on and the crabbing is OK to good. In the bay the rockfish bite turned on like a switch a few days ago. I had some customers come in first thing in the morning and pick up some gear and about an hour later they came in with a fishing report; full limits of rockfish! When I saw them come back in I just assumed the wind chased them off the water. From the Jetty to the Green Bridge there are fish to be caught right now! Crabbing in bay is slow but work hard and you will be rewarded.
I almost forgot to mention Empire Lakes here in town; the ODFW has recently stocked them and there are thousands of trout for the kids to catch. If you call the shop for info ask for Hunter as he has the ability to catch these things in his sleep, backwards, on his head.
I’ve been spending more time in the kayak lately searching for Striped Sea Perch in the bay in an attempt to be on the first wave of them coming into the bay en masse. The few we have been catching have young inside but they are still a week or so away from birthing, perhaps even as far off as two or more weeks. When they do come in it will be by the thousands and I promise you will hear me hootin’ and hollerin’ from the water, so you’ll definitely know when it’s time to catch them. While we are talking about these fish let’s just officially make them the topic of the day.
These little neon beauties with their vertical blue and orange stripes look more designed for an aquarium than the dinner plate. But make no mistake — they are a good eating fish. Striped sea perch are mostly caught inside the bay and estuaries and are quite different from the surf perch we catch in these parts.
Striped sea perch are known by several different names, such as “blue perch” and “squaw perch” and are sometimes erroneously referred to as piling perch, which are in fact a different species. But no matter what they are called these fish exist in abundance, and they taste, oh, so good.
When I fish for surf perch such as pink-fin I usually use a hook as large as a 1/0 or a 2/0 depending on the bait I am using and how picky I want to be on the size of the fish I hook up. With striped sea perch I routinely use hooks as small as a number 6 and whatever bait I use it is always a small piece, perhaps as tiny as a pencil eraser depending on how “nibbly” the fish are that particular day. A large pink-fin has such a large mouth can be “lipped” like a bass when holding them while the striped sea perch has a tiny mouth that better suits its diet of tiny snails, mussels, shrimp, and the like.
Striped sea perch range from Baja, California Mexico to South Eastern Alaska and are easily identified by their approximately 15 beautiful neon blue and orange stripes running the length of their body that we mentioned earlier. Striped sea perch can get into the 15-inch range and live up to 10 years. I have seen these fish up to a couple pounds in size but unfortunately the ODFW doesn’t keep stats on record sizes of these fish. The California record is 2 pounds 3 ounces and the Washington record is listed at 2.07 pounds, I know a lot of you have caught ones far bigger than that here locally so let us know what your personal record is, we would love to brag about it!
Striped sea perch normally lead a somewhat solitary life at depths around 70 feet and down to 300 feet but appear in large numbers in the late spring to early summer when they come into the bays and estuaries to give birth to their young. These beautiful little fish are “viviparous,” which means “live birth;” they don’t lay eggs like a lot of fish and they actually give birth to happy swimming little offspring, from three to 40 of them at a time.
There’s no size restriction on these fish and the limit is 15 per license, so grab the kids and head out to catch a bunch when they come in.
Whether you are stalking monster lingcod or perch in the bay I hope to see you out there!
Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.com in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m. at kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.