Pete Heley - 7/18/2012
The Umpqua’s pinkfin run has generally been disappointing the last ten days. There are still perch in the river from the entrance to the East Boat Basin up to Gardiner, but it appears that the perch have been hauled out at a faster pace than they have been replaced. Additionally, it is almost a certainty that a large majority of the most aggressive perch have already been caught and those that are left are wary and easily spooked. In the meantime, the male redtailed surfperch along area beaches continue to bite aggressively.
On a happier note, the salmon fishing, fair numbers of salmon are being caught when conditions on the Umpqua River Bar and in the ocean allow the boats to actually reach the salmon. However, the fishing, so far, has been very erratic with some boats catching limits or near limits, while other boats having very tough luck. Hopefully, within a couple of weeks there will be enough fall chinooks in the river to justify fishing for them and when that happens, “would-be” ocean anglers will have a viable Plan B when rough ocean or bar conditions rule out ocean salmon fishing. At least the limited ocean access will help make the finclipped salmon quota last longer.
Even the dock crabbers caught some crabs last week, but, as usual, they had to put some time in for them. Ocean crabbing continues to be the most productive, but boat crabbers have made a few decent catches near Half Moon Bay. The South Jetty/Triangle Area continues to be productive for bottomfish.
Gluttons for punishment might want to try for striped bass on the Smith and Umpqua rivers, sturgeon on the Umpqua or shad on the Umpqua above tidewater. All of these fisheries are producing poorly, but a very few fish have been caught. It seems that some of the Umpqua’s sealions have discovered the small pocket of larger sturgeon above Wells Creek. Hopefully, they can be persuaded to leave before permanently damaging the only area to provide anything close to decent sturgeon fishing.
Tenmile Lakes, both North Tenmile and South Tenmile, continue to provide the area’s best trout fishing. However, there are lots of uncaught planted trout in the north arm of Cleawox, the entrance of which is almost invisible from the main lake. Most of our area lakes are fishign fairly well for largemouth bass, but the only decent panfishing recently has been for bluegill at Loon Lake. It seems that fishing for warmwater fish drops off greatly when it is very windy.
The Umpqua River above Scottsburg continues to drop and become more friendly to bank and wading anglers and the smallmouth are biting well. Most anglers use nightcrawlers for bait, but anglers floating the river do quite well with such soft plastics as jigs and plastic worms. Sightfishing for the bass in water less than eight feet deep is a real kick and the Umpqua’s smallmouth limit is a very liberal at ten fish with no size restrictions.
Since Oregon does not keep state records on saltwater fish, you might want to check Washington’s very complete list of saltwater record fish in order to gauge the maximum sizes of some of the saltwater fish you might catch while fishing in Oregon. Here goes: Albacore Tuna (52 lbs); Black Rockfish (10 lbs 4 oz); Blue Rockfish (4 lbs 13.4 oz); Cabezon (23 lbs); Kelp Greenling (4lbs 6.7 oz); Lingcod (61 lbs); Pacific Halibut (288 lbs); Pacific sanddab (12.9 oz); Petrale Sole (7 lbs 8.1 oz); Pile Surfperch (3 lbs 9.2 oz); Redtailed Surfperch (4 lbs .9 oz); Starry Flounder (9 lbs 8 oz); Striped Surfperch (2 lbs 1.1 oz).
A Portland-area fishing club, the Oregon Bass & Panfish Club keeps track of the state records of Oregon’s warmwater fish species and between the club and the ODFW, keeps track of the state records for Oregon’s coldwater fish species, a number of fish species are left out. Here are some state records from Washington and California for fish species that are overlooked in Oregon.: Common carp (49 lbs 8 oz for Washington and 52 pounds for California) and Northern Pikeminnow (7 lbs 14.5 oz for Washington).
Pete Heley lives in Reedsport, Oregon and works at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay. He is also an outdoor writer and his favorite pasttimes are: fishing, playing pool, doing trivia quizes and crossword puzzles. His three most impressive catches of Oregon fish include a 22 pound coho salmon from Tenmile Lakes, a brown trout of more than 15 pounds from the Crooked River Ranch area of the Deschutes River and a nine and a half pound largemouth bass from Loon Lake.