Some boat crabbers are making fair catches of dungeness crabs near Charleston in Coos Bay and in Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay. Dock crabbers are catching a few crabs at Charleston and at high tide in Winchester Bay. On an ominous note, the state of Washington recently announced that crabbing will not reopen this summer in Marine Areas 11 and 13. This closure is not because of toxins, but primarily because the crab harvest in those areas has shrunk by more than 85 percent in both areas since 2014.
Spring Chinook fishing on the Umpqua remains very slow, with just enough salmon being landed to keep some anglers fishing. A few salmon have been hooked by bank anglers casting green or chartreuse spinners at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point in Winchester Bay. Moss and suspended algae are starting to become a problem — especially above Scottsburg.
Ocean fishing for Chinook salmon was starting to produce a few fish, but rough ocean and bar conditions have limited recent fishing pressure. The heaviest spring Chinook turned in, as of last weekend, to the annual contest at the Wells Creek Inn weighed 29 pounds and 9 ounces.
There are boat anglers trying every day, but so far only three redtail surfperch have been reported caught above Winchester Bay. The run is definitely late and could start at any time. When this run is well underway, there are sometimes more than 50 boats and well over 100 anglers fishing the three miles of Umpqua River above Winchester Bay, and with a 15-fish daily limit it is amazing that this fishery has sustained itself as well as it has. My preference would be an eight-perch daily limit, but two years ago the state of Washington raised their daily limit on surfperch from nine fish to 12.
Despite windy conditions, Winchester Bay’s South Jetty is still producing decent fishing. Unlike the catch restrictions on anglers using the long leader technique in water deeper than 40 fathoms (240 feet), jetty anglers and fishermen fishing water less than 30 fathoms or 180 feet deep can use conventional bottomfishing gear and techniques and keep lingcod, greenling and black and blue rockfish.
Although they are seldom reported, a few striped bass are being caught on the Smith River. The Coquille River still has fair numbers of mostly younger and smaller stripers, but many of them are now larger than the 24-inch minimum length limit. Many of the Coquille’s stripers, especially in the Myrtle Point area, are taken incidentally by anglers fishing larger crankbaits for smallmouth bass.
The hottest fishery in our area is for shad — and excluding a few short term lulls, for the last two weeks it has been red hot. The most popular spot has been the Yellow Creek area, nearly midway between Elkton and Sutherlin. Most of the shad fishing at Yellow Creek is done by bank anglers, but the fishing has been so good that some boats are showing up as well. Continued good weather will most likely allow the Umpqua River to drop enough to make Sawyer’s Rapids, nine miles west and downriver of Elkton, the most productive shad fishing spot. The excellent shad fishing has tended to over shadow the increasingly-good smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River.
There are no trout plants scheduled this week in our area, but the Newport-area lakes are being stocked this week. Several local waters are slated to receive trout plants next week, including Loon Lake with 2,000 legal rainbows.
As usual, most of the bassfishing pressure in our area is occurring on Tenmile Lakes. Black crappies are starting to show up at the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake, with a few bluegills and smaller bass as well. Loon Lake is fishing fair for crappies, bass and trout and very good for bluegills.
To the best of the ODFW’s knowledge, Oregon is still a state that is free of chronic wasting disease (CWD). However that classification is fragile and may be temporary, as evidenced by a recent event.
Parts from a Montana deer that had CWD were brought into Oregon in violation of Oregon law. Oregon State Police were alerted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks personnel and contacted the Oregon resident who had already buried some of the infected body parts in a local landfill where they were not recoverable. State police were able to properly dispose of the rest of the deer.
Since deer do not normally forage around in landfills, the unrecovered deer parts, hopefully, will not continue to jeopardize Oregon’s “CWD-free status.”
CWD is a terrible disease that targets the brain in infected deer, is always fatal and can last in the environment for years, making it almost impossible to eradicate. Please do your part to keep Oregon CWD-free.
The last reported outbreak was in 2010, but Oregon’s sea lions are once again suffering from an outbreak of leptospirosis, a bacteria-caused affliction that occurs sporadically in marine mammals worldwide. Most of Oregon’s infected sea lions have been along the north coast, in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop counties
What makes leptospirosis more dangerous than many wildlife diseases is than it can be transmitted to other wildlife species, livestock, especially dogs and even humans. Beach visitors are strongly advised to keep their dogs on a leash.
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.