Try 3 months for $3

Heavy rains and muddy access delayed the trout plant scheduled for Johnson Mill Pond near Coquille. The trout will be stocked later at a slightly larger size. Trout plants scheduled for this week include: Alder Lake (793 trout, including 332 legals and 461 trophies); Buck Lake (702 trout, including 566 legals and 136 trophies): Carter Lake (750 trophies); Cleawox Lake (3,161 trophies); Dune Lake (702 trout, including 566 legals and 136 trophies); Elbow Lake (1,400 trophies); Lost Lake (400 trophies); Mercer Lake (1,500 trophies); Munsel Lake (2,400 trophies); North Georgia Lake (300 legals and 75 trophies); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 trophies) and Woahink Lake (1,000 trophies).

Very few of the 2,000 legal-sized rainbows dumped into Loon Lake last week have been caught by anglers and cold water temperatures have slowed the catch rate on virtually every lake that has been stocked with trout. With warmer weather, the trout bite will improve. Probably the quickest trout fishery to respond will be Mingus Park Pond. This 2-acre, 2-foot deep pond will only need one warm day to greatly improve fishingwise.

Other areas have been cold, as well. Bend had nearly 46 inches of snow in February — nearly doubling a monthly record that dates back more than a 100 years — and last month was the third coldest February on record for Bend.

The first keepable spring Chinook was pulled from the Rogue River last week. The finclipped fish weighed about 25 pounds. As I am writing this on Sunday, no springers have yet been reported from the Umpqua River.

A few anglers have started casting spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay. When they hook their first springer they will have plenty of company.

The South Jetty at Winchester Bay fished very well for lingcod last week with fish weighing more than 10 pounds taken. Favorite colors have been all over the board, which leads me to believe that the main practice when targeting lingcod is to get a sizable lure — any color sizable lure close to one of these very aggressive fish. If you believe you are using the right lure and color pattern, you will tend to fish it better.

Striped surfperch are also biting well off the South Jetty and some greenling are also being caught. Cabezon are still closed, but the state of Washington recently determined that their cabezon population is healthy and growing, which should be encouraging news to Oregon’s bottomfish anglers.

The cold water temperatures have likely extended the spawning cycle for yellow perch. In most years, the spawn is pretty much over by mid-March, but this year’s spawn will likely extend past the end of March.

Fishing pressure directed at largemouth bass is gradually increasing, despite the cold temperatures, but almost all of the bass boats seem to be headed to Tenmile Lake.

One early season bass-fishing technique that I believe in, but find hard to implement is to target reservoirs that are drawn down in the fall and winter months as late as I can in the spring before they begin filling up. Before the reservoir levels begin rising, many, if not most of the bass will be in the bottom end of the reservoir — in a greatly reduced amount of water.

Such bass fisheries include Cottage Grove Reservoir, Dorena Reservoir and Plat “I” Reservoir. I must warn you that unless you live near such a reservoir, it is really difficult to fine-tune this technique.

A Jury recently convicted two Charter Boat Captains in a Washington state halibut “highgrading” case. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13.

The courtroom testimony of more than 25 witnesses and work by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police Officers and local prosecutors resulted in the convictions last Thursday, Feb. 28.

Charter customers testified that possession limits were exceeded; prior to leaving the fishing grounds and concealed by throwing overboard the smaller halibut, three of which had had their gills cut, and keeping the bigger halibut to ensure that the boat returned to port with only the legal limit. Witnesses testified that some halibut swam off, while others slowly sank.

WDFW Officer Todd Dielman, who led the investigation, contacted more than 100 passengers who described similar experiences on multiple vessels. Passengers estimated that more than 70 halibut were retained and later thrown overboard for larger fish.

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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