Try 3 months for $3

Coos County received its first trout plants this week. Altogether 14,000 trout will be planted and all of them will be in the “legal” size classification measuring 8 to 10 inches. The waters being planted are: Bradley Lake (3,000); Johnson Mill Pond (3,000); Powers Pond (3,000); Saunders Lake (3,000) and Mingus Park Pond (2,000).

Next week Loon Lake is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbows.

Most area streams have plenty of steelhead in them and fishing success depends primarily on stream conditions as well as fishing skill. Tenmile Creek in the Spin Reel Park area has been fishing especially well the last few weeks and although there hasn’t been fishing pressure directed at Eel Creek, the number of steelhead in the STEP fishtrap would seem to indicate that “steelies” are well-represented in the creek below the trap. When I talked to Curt Thompson at the Flyfishing Expo he insisted on me looking at the video output of the camera located in the fishtrap. Currently, Saunders and Butterfield lakes hold adult steelhead that were recently transported from the Eel Creek fishtrap by STEP volunteers.

Winter steelhead are in all of our local streams and fishing success depends on stream conditions in most cases. Two streams that never seem to muddy up are Eel Creek and Tenmile Creek. Eel Creek is extremely “snaggy” and difficult to fish, while Tenmile Creek is the exact opposite and fairly snag free in most sections — and Tenmile Creek has been hot for the last few weeks with fish to 18 pounds taken. Almost all the finclipped, keepable steelhead that ascend Tenmile Creek only do so as far as Eel Creek and then swim up Eel Creek as far as the STEP fishtrap just below Eel Lake. Some of Eel Creek’s steelhead actually spawn in the stream before reaching the fishtrap and some of the preferred spawning sites are inside the several culverts on the stream.

By the way, the Lower Umpqua Flycasters’ 29th annual Flyfishing Expo seemed better than ever. The six-hour long free show featured the numerous flytying demonstrations and new and used fishing-related items and even more raffles than usual. One item that I forgot to return and purchase was a pair of used Simms neoprene waders in exactly my size for only $20 and my “forgetfullness” will bug me for months.

The weigh-in at the “Frostbite Open” was perfectly timed at 3:30 pm — one half hour after the close of the Flyfishing Expo. Miserable cold weather brought out the “doubting thomases.” But as in past years, a substantial portion of the anglers managed to beat the rain and cold water temperatures to post respectable catches.

Out of the 75 two-man teams, 12 posted five-bass limits. Nineteen teams weighed in bags weighing more than 10 pounds and seven teams weighed in more than 16 pounds of bass while the eighth place team weighed in 15.99 pounds. The winning bag weighed 18.56 pounds and the big bass weighed 6.33 pounds.

One angler’s four-bass bag weighed 16.70 pounds and if he’d caught one more bass of similar size, his bag weight would have topped 20 pounds.

One moment that I’ll remember for a long time was when one participant insisted in weighing one of his two good-sized bass for big fish despite several observers telling him that the other fish looked heavier, So his big bass weighed 4.97 pounds and his three bass bag, including one much smaller fish, weighed well over 10 pounds. If he didn’t weigh his heaviest fish for big bass, at some point it will cost him money.

Congratulations to Chris Carpenter and Travis Glass who won this tournament and far more than their share of the bass tournaments held in our area over the last several years.

Pacific herring showed up in Yaquina Bay and Coos Bay in large numbers last week to spawn and may, in lesser numbers, be spawning in other estuaries as well.

On February 28th Bob Free and Steve Godin will attend the ODFW Ocean Salmon Industry Group meeting in Newport — and hopefully have some positive influence on 2019 ocean salmon fishing regulations affecting our area.

Mann Lake, a popular, if extremely remote fishing spot in southeast Oregon for Lahontan cutthroat trout has dried up and all the fish, including goldfish, have died.

More bad news is that an Australian mammal is believed to be the first mammal to become extinct due to human-caused climate change. The Bramble Cay melomys was a brownish type of rat living on the isolated Bramble Cay — a vegetated coral island located at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Its recent extinction is believed to be primarily due to rising ocean levels that greatly reduced its available habitat.

Some of the other viable fishing spots around Oregon include the upper Columbia River system, the lower Willamette River and Lookout Point Reservoir for jumbo walleyes and the Metolius River Arm of Lake Billy Chinook, which harbors the reservoir’s largest bull trout and opens on March 1st.

Not far from the eastern Oregon border lies western Nevada’s Pyramid Lake which seems to produce at least one 20-pound lahontan cutt each week during the winter months.

As of Thursday, the NRCS (National Resources Conservation) reported snowpack, on a 30-year historic average, to be at 106 percent of average in the Owyhee sub-basin; 105 percent in the Malheur; 108 percent in the Grande Ronde, Powder, Burnt and Imnaha sub-basins; 107 percent in the Umatilla, Walla Walla and Willow sub-basins; 104 percent in the John Day; 83 percent in the Upper Deschutes; 82 percent in the Hood, Sandy and Lower Deschutes sub-basins; 81 percent on the Coast Range; 83 percent on the Willamette; 91 percent on the Rogue and Umpqua sub-basins; 94 percent in the Klamath and 105 percent in the Harney sub-basin.

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.

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