Pete Heley - 7/28/2012
Despite receiving an additional 5,000 pounds of halibut from the uncaught portion of the spring all-depth halibut season, the near shore halibut fishery closed this last Monday. However, the summer all-depth halibut fishery is scheduled to begin on Friday, August 3rd. Cabezon are, once again, illegal to keep when caught from a boat.
Fair numbers of tuna anglers ventured out this last weekend and tuna were being caught within 20 miles of Newport and from 12 to 20 or more miles out of Charleston. Tuna anglers fishing out of Winchester Bay generally had to go out at least 20 miles to find fish - but it seems that every boat after tuna found them. Judging from the number of questions asked, many anglers are confused about whether a boat can have tuna and other fish on board and the asnswer is YES.
Salmon fishing remains good out of Winchester Bay when the ocean is reachable and fishable. Through July 15th, less than ten percent of the ocean finclipped coho quota had been caught - but 48 percent of them were caught out of Winchester Bay. With the season scheduled to close at the end of this month, it appears that perhaps only 25 to 30 percent of the quota will be caught. Hopefully, fishing conditions and the number of finclipped cohos present will greatly increase fishing success the rest of this month, but it looks like the non-selective fishery is to receive at least part of the uncaught quota. However, it would be nice if the ocean coho season was extended to allow more of the ocean coho quota to actually be caught.
One encouraging note is that some cohos, including finclipped ones, were caught in the Lower Umpqua on Saturday when the sports boats could not fish the ocean. Dave Roe reported that they got a 24-inch finclipped coho near the entrance to the East Boat Basin. Catching coho salmon in the river this early means that the fish are there because of good numbers of baitfish in the river. Cohos will not start moving up the Umpqua to spawn until around Labor Day.
Despite the fact that they are still catching shad in north central California, the Umpqua River shad run is pretty much over. There are still a few striped bass being caught in the Smith and Umpqua rivers at night by close-mouthed anglers. A very few sturgeon have been taken below Reedsport, but the fishing can only be rated as very slow. The major improvement in crabbing at Winchester Bay has made it very difficult to catch flounder on the downriver side of Osprey Point adjacent to the RV Park. One scuba diver admitted to me that he occasionally gets good numbers of gaper clams while diving in the Triangle. In the past, the gapers that establish themselves in the outermost sandy area inside the Triangle get wiped out as soon as they are re-discovered. It seems that these underwater gapers will be a more permanent population harvestable by only a few.
The fishing magazine that I trust the most and actually learn something from every issue is the In Fisherman. However in their current issue (Aug/Sept) they mention as one of their Advemtire section trip hotspots a salmon fishing trip to Astoria, Washington. It is nice to know that even the In Fisherman is human.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North American duck population reached an all-time high of 48.6 million in 2012, Although north americans (people) still outnumber them (the ducks) by more than nine to one, the overcrowding may become serious. The one year increase from 2011 when their were 45.6 million ducks is pretty significant at seven percent. The annual survey started in 1955 and a major reason for this spring’s increase was good water levels which can reduce predation and improve nesting conditions.
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.