The major news this week is the number of highway closures that restricted travel plans and isolated some communities over the last two weeks. The good part of what is bad news is that we now have normal and above normal snow levels throughout Oregon — which doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of a late summer or fall drought, but does make such an occurrence far less likely.
The first spring Chinook was reported taken from the Rogue River two weeks ago and according to The Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach, three have been reported caught so far. None of them were lunkers and they were caught between 5 and 12 miles above Gold Beach.
As for the Umpqua River, if anyone has caught a springer this year, they have not done a very good job of bragging about it. But if none have been caught yet, the first springer should be caught soon after the Umpqua River clears up.
Boat crabbers are still making decent catches at Half Moon Bay at Winchester Bay, but very few crabs are far enough up the Umpqua River to be within reach of dock crabbers. A couple of the crabbing docks at Charleston are producing for dockbound crabbers.
Recreational crabbing is closed on the southern Oregon coast from Bandon to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crab harvesting from Bandon north to the Columbia River (including the Coquille River estuary) remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.
For recreational crab harvesters, it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking, which includes removal and discard of the viscera, internal organs, and gills. Because of Oregon’s precautionary management of biotoxins, the crab and shellfish products currently being sold in retail markets and restaurants are safe for consumers. Before clamming or crabbing, it’s always wise to call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474.
Winchester Bay’s South Jetty is still producing lingcod, greenling, rockfish and striped surfperch, but the recent muddy water has slowed the bite. The water in the lower Umpqua River does clear up somewhat at high tide and if an angler fishing off the south side of the “Triangle” in the ocean would be fishing in water that is even more clear — and the water gets even clearer as one moves toward the beach.
An interesting side note regarding the Frostbite Open that was recently held on Tenmile Lake was that one boat landed at least three bass by casting to fish that were clearly visible. Getting multiple visible bass to bite in that cold water and light rain is an amazing and very rare accomplishment.
The cold weather and the resulting cold water temperatures has definitely slowed the trout bite.
Trout plants over the next couple of weeks include lakes in the Roseburg, Florence and Newport areas. Waters planted this week include: Garrison Lake near Port Orford (200 trophy trout); Ben Irving Reservoir near Winston (1,000 legals); Cooper Creek Reservoir near Sutherlin (2,500 legals); Galesville Reservoir near Azalea (2,500 trophy trout) and Loon Lake near Reedsport (2,000 legals).
Waters scheduled to be stocked next week include: Big Creek Reservoir #2 near Newport (3,200 trout, including 1,200 legals and 2,000 trophies); Buck Lake near Florence (702 trout — 566 legals and 135 trophies); Cleawox Lake near Florence (3,161 trophy trout); Eckman Lake near Waldport (666 legals); Mercer Lake near Florence (1,500 trophy trout); Siltcoos Lagoon near Florence (106 trophy trout) and Siltcoos Lake near Florence (1,000 trophy trout). Cottage Grove and Dorena reservoirs, near Cottage Grove, are slated to be stocked next week with 1,667 and 1,500 trophy rainbows respectively, which if they are near full pool, works out to one planted rainbow per acre. The thousand rainbows going into Siltcoos Lake is less than one trout for every three surface acres.
An angler recently reported catching a small northern pike in Sturgeon Lake which is located on Sauvies Island in the lower Columbia River.
The fish could have been a tiger muskie from Mayfield Reservoir in Southwest Washington. More than a decade ago, one of these sterile hybrids managed to “escape” Mayfield Reservoir and swam down the Cowlitz River and across the Columbia River and into the Willamette River where it was caught by an angler. The more than 30-inch fish weighed 9 pounds and 6 ounces.
But the angler that caught the Sturgeon Lake fish was reported to be an experienced pike angler and if the fish was a northern pike it could be very bad news for the Columbia River. The presence of such a fish in the Portland area could mean that their impact could be a few years away and not decades away, as would be the threat of northerns migrating downstream from Washington’s Lake Roosevelt.
Good news is the report from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that two rockfish species have significantly increased in numbers. Increased numbers of canary rockfish and cabezon will likely result in more relaxed regulation on these species in the future.
Lake Taneycomo, a riverlike reservoir near Branson, Missouri, enhanced its reputation as a producer of giant brown trout when it recently gave up a new state record brown weighing 34 pounds and 10 ounces. The jumbo brown bit a sculpin-imitating jig.
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