I don’t know if the ODFW is paying attention, or not, but in the midst of salmon fishing, tuna fishing and crabbing, there are still a lot of people fishing for bass and panfish. This was made quite evident to me this last Saturday when I tried to spend a few minutes bass fishing.
My first stop was Eel Lake, but both parking lots were full and there was no room for another angler off the fishing dock, near the boat ramp or along the shoreline for a considerable distance — so I opted for “plan B”.
My next stop was the County Park on South Tenmile Lake in Lakeside, but the parking lot was so full that I would have had to park near the park entrance and walk well over one hundred yards to where I could fish and then hope that the “human activity” hadn’t shut down the fish. So I decided on ‘plan C,” which was to fish beneath the bridge on North Lake Avenue next to the private park on North Lake.
But the small parking area near the bridge was jammed full to the point where some vehicles wouldn’t be able to leave until the vehicles blocking them in left. So I decided to return to the County Park and watch the weigh-in for the first day of the Tenmile Open. Although the bass seemed much slimmer than those caught in spring tournaments, some impressive weights were achieved during Saturday’s weigh-in — heavy enough to get me to show for Sunday’s weigh-in, as well.
The team of Kim and Willie Nelson caught five bass limits weighing more than 17 pounds (17.92 and 17.18) each day to win the tournament with a two day total of 35.10 pounds. But they had some close competition. Finishing in second place was the team of Craig and Steven Sutphin with a total weight of 32.54 pounds (16.71 and 15.83). The Third place team was Renaud Pelletier and Jon Denton with a total weight of 31.64 pounds (15.06 and 16.58).
Fourth place went to the team of Kevin Hertsman and Ross Baker who totaled 31.02 pounds (15.17 and 15.85).
In fifth place was the team of Peter Gobel and Steve Gausnell with 30.81 pounds (15.35 and 15.46). The team in sixth place was Dennis Kinney and Dan Kuntz with 30.51 pounds (17.72 and 12.79). Also weighing in more than 30 pounds was Tim Kennedy who fished without a partner to weigh in 30.31 pounds (17.84 and 12.47).
The tournament paid down to 15 places and paid down to 10th place for big fish.
The big fish results were (1)-Dennis Kinney-Dan Kuntz (6.43 pounds); (2)-Cody Thrall and Dennis Castro (5.66 pounds); (3)-Kevin Hertsman and Baker Ross (5.63 pounds); (4)-Steven and Craig Sutphin (5.61 pounds); (5)-5.51; (6)-Tim Kennedy (5.14 pounds); (7)-Renaud Pelletier and Jon Denton (5.04 pounds).
The tournament was efficiently run and the most surprising thing to me was how successful the anglers were on Sunday when they had to deal with a lake that was “pounded” on Saturday and they had two fewer hours of fishing time. Also impressive was that despite very warm water only one bass died during the weigh-in.
Through July 29th of the ocean fin-clipped salmon season, only 3,018 fin-clipped coho of the 35,000 fish quota for our zone (Cape Falcon to California border) had been harvested — or 8.6 percent.
Even though the fishing is improving, it appears that with the season ending on September 3rd, the quota won’t come close to being met.
Currently the hottest port is Florence and the salmon angler success rate is now up to .60 salmon per angler-trip. The retained salmon per angler-trip for other ports in our zone is: Garibaldi (.16); Pacific City (.24); Depoe Bay (.36); Newport (.43); Winchester Bay (.30); Charleston (.17); Brookings (.24). Bandon and Gold Beach have each had less than ten angler-trips for the entire season - not enough to derive meaningful data.
Brookings has improved somewhat and more than 99 percent of the retained salmon have been Chinooks.
The spring all-depth halibut fishery is closed, but the summer all-depth halibut fishery for the central coast is open on Fridays and Saturdays beginning August 3rd with a quota of 53,866 pounds. The central Oregon coast nearshore halibut fishery is still open with approximately one-third of the 25,856 pound quota remaining — but the ports of Depoe Bay, Florence, Winchester Bay and Charleston have yet to report a single nearshore halibut taken.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 9th at the North Bend Public Library, the final and closest ODFW meeting will be held regarding 2019 regulations for bottomfish and halibut.
Oregon isn’t alone in having to deal with much heavier bottomfishing pressure. Alabama recently closed its popular redfish season six weeks early due to increased fishing pressure.
Even though it’s not as bad as California, Oregon is having a terrible year for wildfires. During one recent week Oregon’s air quality was the nation’s worst and a significant portion of the Rogur River was closed to all recreational use due to firefighting efforts.
Fishing for Chinook salmon in the four miles of Rogue River above Gold beach has been very good and anglers with 2-rod validations can use them to fish for salmon through September 3rd. Salmon anglers with valid 2-rod licenses can use them on much of the Coos River system through September.
It seems that some of those secretive Smith River striped bass anglers are telling people that their striper catches are coming out of the Coquille River, which only seems fair since some of the Coquille River striper catches are being reported as being caught in the Smith River.
In a move quite contrary to hunting trends in the Pacific Northwest, Maine increased its deer hunt lottery permits by 28 percent to 84745.
In a move that may determine how we enjoy future visits to our national parks, Grand Canyon National Park recently used a $10,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to purchase a machine to read blood alcohol content.