At least two months into the season, spinner flingers in Winchester Bay are finally catching spring Chinooks. Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point have each produced several springers in the last two weeks. Spring Chinooks are also being caught by anchored boat anglers at various spots on the Umpqua between the Scottsburg Bridge and Roseburg.
Bottomfishing using conventional gear and techniques has been closed in marine waters deeper than 40 fathoms since May 1st. While the “long leader” technique is still legal to use in waters deeper than 40 fathoms, anglers pursuing lingcod must fish in waters inside 240 feet deep.
While fishing the surf for redtailed surfperch is a year-round recreational activity, the spawning run of female perch into the lower Umpqua River just above Winchester Bay has started to produce some perch. This extremely popular fishery should run through July and quickly show marked improvement, but in the last few years the perch have shown an increased tendency to move back and forth with the tides — causing fishing success to fluctuate greatly.
The perch seem to bite best when the water is moving (mid-tide) and early in the morning when there is considerable boat traffic. Sand shrimp and Berkley Gulp sandworms in red or camo are the most popular baits.
Shad fishing on the Umpqua River is improving rapidly. Most of the fishing pressure is still taking place around Yellow Creek, but good catches have already been made at Sawyers Rapids and as the river continues to drop it will get even better. Pink and chartreuse jigs and flies or shad darts are accounting for most of the shad catches.
Umpqua River smallmouth bass tend to get overlooked during the river’s shad and spring Chinook runs, but fishing is currently very good for them and will remain so through mid-October. While most Umpqua River smallmouth anglers use soft plastic lures or nightcrawlers anglers fishing the less clear water in the Coquille River usually opt for larger crankbaits because of the greator visibility — and because it increases the chance of incidentally hooking a striped bass.
Striped bass are rewarding a few anglers fishing the mid-tidal and upper tidal reaches of the Smith River at night. Now that the Coquille River has become less muddy, fishing pressure and success has increased for that river’s striped bass and smallmouth bass anglers. Most of fishing pressure directed at the Coquille’s striper population has been near the Arago Boat Ramp near Myrtle Point, but this summer many of the stripers will be hanging out between Riverton and the Highway 101 Bridge.
Bass fisheries near Interstate 5 are currently post-spawn for crappies and almost completely post-spawn for largemouth bass. The warmer daytime temperatures in these waters seem to greatly shorten the duration of the bass spawn whereas most coastal bass fisheries have a much longer spawning period. For example, the bass spawn at the lower end of Loon Lake usually lags the bass spawn at the lake’s upper end by a full month.
Bluegill and crappie have not yet showed up in any numbers at Tugman Park on Eel Lake. But they are being caught in other areas of the lake. Largemouth bass and rainbow trout are being caught by anglers fishing off the dock or along the shore between the boat ramp and the water treatment plant.
Trout plants were common throughout the entire state last week and local waters that were stocked include: North and South Tenmile Lakes with 3,000 legal rainbows each — or about 2.1 trout per surface acre; Upper and Lower Empire Lakes with 2,000 trophy trout each — or slightly over 70 trout per surface acre.
Other local waters that received trout plants last week include: Butterfield Lake (3,500 legals, or 140 trout per surface acre); Eel Lake (4,000 legals, or 11.4 trout per surface acre); Bluebill Lake (3,000 legals, or 100 trout per very shallow surface acre); Cleawov Lake (230 legals and 1,477 trophies for 1,707 total, or almost 21 trout per surface acre): Munsel Lake (1,650 trophies, or nearly 16 trout per surface acre); Saunders Lake (3,000 legals, or 60 trout per surface acre): Bradley Lake (3,000 legals, or 100 trout per acre); Carter Lake (750 trophies, or nearly 30 trout per surface acre) and Sutton Lake (1,000 trophies, or nearly nine trout per surface acre).
Floras Lake, between Bandon and Port Orford, was stocked with 4,950 legals or nearly 20 trout per surface acre. The water levels in Galesville Reservoir, near Azalea, can fluctuate greatly. This spring it’s full and has nearly 600 surface acres, which means the 2,500 trophy rainbows it received last week was slightly more than six trout per surface acre.
Even with the warm weather of the last couple of weeks, some of central Oregon’s larger lakes still have access problems. The amount of snow melt that is occurring has some central and eastern Oregon rivers almost unfishable.
Good news for Northwest anglers, especially if the ODFW should decide to “follow suit” is that beginning July 1st this year, anglers will no longer be required to purchase a Columbia River endorsement to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its Washington tributaries. The endorsement, at $8.75 for Washington anglers was cheaper than the $11.75 required of Oregonians, but as of July 1st will not be required at all.
Cooke Aquaculture will pay the full $332,000 penalty to the Washington Department of Ecology for the collapse of its floating salmon pen near Cypress Island that released 250,000 non-native fish into Puget Sound, said the agency.
The collapse in August 2017 led to a multi-agency investigation, and ultimately to the state Legislature passing a bill to phase out non-native fish farming.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.