Local lakes: This Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17 is free fishing weekend. During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply, including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.
These lakes in the Florence area were just stocked with rainbow trout: Alder, Carter, Cleawox, Dune, Munsel and Siltcoos Lagoon. Lakes in Coos and Curry counties will start to be stocked in late February and early March and continue up to the free fishing weekend in June. The 2019 Oregon trout stocking schedule is now posted on MyODFW.com.
Once the weather starts to stabilize and warm up a bit, winter bass fishing on Tenmile Lakes should start to show noticeable improvement.
Local rivers: Melting snow pack should affect the Umpqua, south fork Coquille, Sixes, Rogue and Chetco rivers this week. Snow melt along with a rainy forecast should bring the rivers up and out of shape.
The Elk River, north fork Coquille River at Laverne Park, both east and west forks of the Millicoma rivers as well ast Tenmile Creek should remain fishable. Spinreel campground on Tenmile Creek should be a good spot for possible first time steelheaders looking to fish this weekend's free fishing. A simple bobber and jig setup is all one needs to effectively fish the creek, which has good access.
This run tends to be a month later than other Coos County rivers, so hatchery steelhead may be available through March and April. Last weekend, cold water temperatures slowed down the steelhead bite on most South Coast rivers. A good tip when river temperatures get cold is working shallower water, which tends to warm up quicker.
Pacific Ocean: Rough ocean conditions hampered any bottom fishing or surf fishing last weekend.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission approved catch limits for sport halibut fisheries off of the U.S. West Coast that are approximately 25 percent higher than the catch limits of 2018.
Based on that catch limit, ODFW staff recommended the following season dates. For the central coast spring all-depth fixed dates, based on input from last week's public meeting and online survey, staff and recommending 15 fixed dates (May 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 and May 30-June 1 and 6-8) with a quota of 171,103 pounds.
The summer all-depth halibut season opens Aug. 2-3, then every other Friday and Saturday until Oct. 31 or when the quota of 67,898 pounds is met.
The nearshore halibut season opens June 1, seven days a week, inside the 40 fathom line through Oct. 31 or when the quota of 32,591 pounds is met.
Area shellfish: Crabbing in the smaller Bandon and Winchester bays are very slow because of the fresh water entering after a series or winter weather passing through the Pacific Northwest. Crabbing remains decent in lower portions of Coos Bay and the Charleston docks.
Tony Roszkowski owns and operates Port O' Call (TonysCrabShack.com) on the Bandon waterfront. Hear more from Tony on "Hooked On Oregon" Thursdays on KWRO 630 AM. Email your report to email@example.com.