Regarding ocean recreation, crabbing is now closed and will remain so until December 1st, when both sport and commercial crabbing in the ocean will resume. Of course there is always the chance of a toxin-related closure or a voluntary closure by the commercial crabbing fleet because of a low meat content in the crabs they test.
River and bay crabbing appears to be slowing down, but is still decent for boat crabbers. Dock crabbers willing to put sufficient time in are making decent catches as well.
The ocean Chinook fishery will close an hour after sunset on October 31st.
Steve Godin took some OCA members on his boat to fish the Chetco River’s “bubble fishery” in early October and one member, Russell Smitherman, was fortunate enough to hook and land a 40-pound Chinook. Steve said that since the “fishing area” only extends to three miles offshore, the 250 boats Steve was competing with made for very crowded fishing conditions.
The best ocean angling opportunities are for bottomfish. The long leader method is still legal in waters deeper than 240 feet — but most anglers are using conventional bottomfish methods because, since October 1st, this method has been legal in waters deeper than 180 feet — which is where most boat anglers are fishing who want to be able to keep lingcod, greenling and black and blue rockfish — fish species that are not legal to keep when using the long leader method.
Coho salmon fisheries on Tahkenitch, Tenmile and Siltcoos lakes has been open since October 1st, but no salmon have yet been reported in Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes. But Jeremy Hicks, who owns Ada Resort on Siltcoos Lake, reported that some coho jacks were caught last week as well as a few adult cohos measuring less than 24-inches.
One thing I find ironic is that anglers fishing the rivers, or in the ocean, for finclipped coho salmon and are constantly advocating for being able to keep the first one or two salmon they land, regardless of whether they are finclipped, or not, gripe like crazy about the one adult salmon daily limit that is in effect on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes. The coho salmon regulations on these freshwater lakes is almost exactly what the salmon anglers fishing the ocean and coastal rivers say they want. It seems that when it comes to salmon fishing, hypocracy runs rampant.
Bradley Lake is slated to receive 800 trophy rainbows this week in addition to the 800 it received last week and should offer good trout fishing. The 1,390 trophy rainbows planted in Butterfield Lake last week should be easy to find, since the main portion of the lake is not connected to the smaller west portion and the recently planted trout are confined to about 15 acres of water.
Trout fishing should also be good on Upper Empire Lake, which currently has less than 30 acres of water and received more than 3,200 trophy rainbows last week. Powers Pond, which currently consists of less than 30 extremely weedy acres, was stocked last week with 1,300 trophy rainbows — so the holding water for the trout is rather small and the trout typically go on a strong bite right at dusk. Fifty-acre Saunders Lake also received 1,300 trophy rainbows last week.
The state of Washington, which for the last few years has made massive fall trout plants, is scheduled to plant 147,000 rainbow trout statewide in the next few weeks and most of the trout will measure between 13 and 15 inches.
Fishing at Eel Lake has dropped off drastically. All summer long, Eel Lake provided the area’s most consistent fishing for trout, bass, bluegills, crappies and trout. Currently there seems to be few trout present and the bluegills that are present are only willing to bite on worms. The crappies and larger bass seem to have moved to deeper water. On a recent trip to the lake, our catch consisted entirely of smallish largemouth bass.
Tenmile Lakes, which offered decent bass fishing all last winter, also seems to have slowed down — but hopefully will rebound for both largemouth bass and lunker rainbow trout.
I drove to Powers last weekend to get info on smallmouth bassfishing on the South and Middle Forks of the Coquille River. I had been hearing about lunker smallmouths from both streams and when I talked to Jack, the butcher at the Powers Market, I got a serious reality check. Jack told me that there were smallies in the South Fork as far upstream as the “swimming hole”, which is above Powers, but the largest smallies he has encountered, measured between 13 and 16 inches — a far cry from the 3- to 4-pounders that others were claiming to catch.
I do believe that there are larger smallmouths present in the lower seven or eight miles of the South Fork Coquille and in the Midde Fork Coquille below the community of Bridge, but there also seems to be a lot of exaggerating when discussing the sizes of smallmouth bass being caught in these Coquille River forks.
May it never happen in Oregon — a recently appointed member of Idaho’s Fish Commission resigned at Governor Butch Otter’s request after the commissioner, Blake Fischer, posted photos on social media of him and his wife posing with animals he shot on an African hunting trip. The animals he shot included a giraffe, a leopard, a warthog and such antelope species as impalas, sable, kudu, gemsbok (oryx) and an eland.
But the photo that sparked the most backlash was of him posing with four baboons, two of which were subadults that he shot and killed with a bow and arrows. It will be most unlikely that his replacement will be equally “clueless.”
Petet 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.