|Oregon Coast Notes|
|Local Chinook fishing is exceptional so far|
by Peter Heley for The Umpqua Post
Fishing for bottomfish at depths greater than 240 feet ends at the end of March. Fortunately, the South Jetty has been fishing very well for all the bottomfish species normally taken from it, as well as all three species of sea perch — redtailed surfperch, striped surfperch and pile perch. Recent weather has ensured that jetty outings have not been that much fun, no matter how good the fishing.
In the previous 10 days, the spring Chinook fishing on the Umpqua River has been exceptional, with lots of salmon caught and quite a few big ones. A number of salmon weighing more than 40 pounds have been landed and as reported in last weekend's The World newspaper, a 54-pound giant was caught. So far, Bob House of Bob's Market hasn't heard of the giant salmon, but if it was indeed caught, he will. So far, the salmon derby sponsored by Wells Creek Market has yet to break the 36-pound mark.
Back to that 54-pounder. If weighed on an accurate scale, it would be the second heaviest spring Chinook that this writer has heard of being taken from the Umpqua. And the Umpqua produces the heaviest spring Chinook of any river entirely in Oregon.
About 20 years ago, "Swede" Swanson, the grandfather of Umpqua River guide John Swanson, caught a lengthy 58-pound fish that one can only guess how heavy it would have been if it were shaped like many of the girthy spring Chinooks taken from the Umpqua. Although the Umpqua now seems to produce springers weighing 50 pounds or more, at least a half-dozen times out of every 10-year period, that 58-pounder has yet to be threatened.
While it produces more springers than the Umpqua, the Rogue has yet to officially exceed the 50-pound mark. It has, however, come within a few pounds of doing so countless times.
The heavy rains, as I am writing this, coupled with some adjacent tides that ensure heavy river flows, may wake up the Umpqua's sturgeon fishery which has been a big disappointment so far this year. A few sturgeon were taken in the river's upper tidewater areas near Mill Creek, but it will to take a lot more action for the Umpqua to start living up to its sturgeon fishing reputation.
Bad bass weather
Cold, miserable and unstable weather has greatly shrunk the number of people pursuing bass and those that have still tried for them have received little cooperation from the fish.
Empire Lakes is slated to receive 6,000 rainbow trout this week and is the only scheduled trout plant in our area this week. Yellow perch fishing should be good in most area waters. It has been especially good for many of the anglers fishing of the fishing dock at the County Park in Lakeside.
Supposedly, the ocean salmon season will be decided on April 6, and for it to mean much for anglers launching out of Winchester Bay, they will need some opportunities to actually get their boats into the ocean. Hopefully, there will be a meaningful ocean quota announced and Winchester Bay anglers will actually get a chance to once again compete with Newport as Oregon's busiest salmon port on the central coast.
Bill Luckner of Newport, who heads an organization called "Clam Diggers Association of Oregon," reported in a recent meeting — with Port of Newport manager Don Mann, Port Commissioner Dean Fleck, ODFW district biologist Bob Buckman and Shellfish Project Manager Leslee Parr and members of her staff — that she was told that the restricted area around the NOAA facility would be reduced to 50 feet and there would be further mitigation to offset habitat use adjacent to the natural gas facility.
Don reports that this sounds an awful lot like good news for sportsmen that make use of Newport's and Yaquina Bay's tidewater areas. Let's hope that our areas are properly mitigated for any loss of habitat usage in the future.
The April/May issue of In-Fisherman Magazine has the results of their Catch & Release Fishing Contest ...Read More