By Pete Heley
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | No comments posted.
Most crab aren’t completely fullCrabbing is still very good at Winchester Bay, but many of the crabs have recently shed their shells and are not yet completely full. Some boat crabbers are still getting their limits of full crab, but they are culling quite a few crab to do so.
As the rains continue, crab in the lower Umpqua River will gradually move closer to the ocean to avoid the river’s decreasing salinity. Ocean crabbing becomes legal for sport crabbers on Dec. 1, but there is a reason that the commercial crabbers won’t be starting then ��” because many of the crabs are not full.
Salmon enter lakes
As you are reading this, a few coho salmon should be entering Tenmile Lakes. Tahkenitch Lake has been producing better salmon fishing than Siltcoos, but one can reasonably expect Siltcoos to get another good shot of coho with some heavy rain.
Bottomfishing off the South Jetty was very good over the weekend with one angler stating that he was catching rockfish on almost every cast. He was fishing the Umpqua River side of the Triangle. Rough bar and ocean conditions have kept offshore bottomfish anglers from taking advantage of the excellent lingcod fishing out of Winchester Bay.
Anglers wanting to participate in what is almost completely catch-and-release fishing can try fishing for steelhead on the Umpqua River. One of the best early spots for bank anglers is at Family Camp, but the Smith River should be producing decent steelhead fishing by early December. Depending upon stream levels, Tenmile Creek may be producing winter steelhead by then as well.
Bass, perch fishing
There are other iffy, but infrequently spectacular, fishing opportunities available. The heaviest five-bass limit I’ve heard of in quite some time was pulled from Tahkenitch Lake last November by two anglers from Eugene’s Emerald Bass Club. All the best five fish weighed more than five pounds and the heaviest weighed more than nine pounds.
Anglers fishing the Umpqua River’s areas of slowest current and in backwaters can still catch some dandy smallmouths, especially in the late afternoons when the river is not too muddy. Crappie fishing can be very good, if inconsistent, during late afternoons and evenings this time of year. Yellow perch fishing has been quite good in Tenmile Lakes over the last couple of weeks and Tony Stark, of Lakeside, caught a 16-inch perch near Rocky Point on South Tenmile Lake last week.
Trout fishing has been fair to good on some of the area’s larger lakes, but if the water gets much colder, the bite will almost certainly slow down. The best way to handle these fisheries at this time of year is to not expect too much and appreciate it when you are wrong.
Ten ways to avoid getting into trouble while fishing this month:
n Be aware that virtually all of the trout streams in the area are closed to trout fishing since Nov. 1.
n Trout anglers from this area who have traditionally traveled to central and eastern Oregon for winter trout fishing need to remember that the minimum size limit for trout is no longer six inches, but eight inches and that is for the entire state.
n Understand the “nuances” of fishing Tenmile Lakes and Tenmile Creek, such as the channel between the two lakes is not open for coho salmon fishing and Tenmile Creek is also not open to coho salmon fishing, in season, below Hill Top Drive in Lakeside. While Tenmile Creek is not open to salmon fishing, it is open year round, except for that portion of the month of May up until the fourth Saturday, for adipose finclipped steelhead. Early season steelhead fishermen need to remember that the salmon in the stream at that time are definitely not legal angling fare.
Tenmile Lakes, which are open to bass fishing year-round, has a rather unique bass fishing regulation in that all bass measuring 15 inches or more must be released. Tenmile Creek, however, which is open to bass fishing during the same time period as its steelhead season, is under the normal bass fishing regulation, which is a five-fish limit with only three bass measuring more than 15 inches.
n Realize that Eel Creek, the largest tributary of Tenmile Creek, does not open for steelhead fishing (finclipped only) until Jan. 1. It closes May 1, before opening for trout season on the fourth Saturday in May. Saunders Creek which enters Tenmile Creek in Spin Reel Park is not open for steelhead fishing, but is open for trout during the regular trout season.
n Realize that while Tenmile Lakes are open for the taking of adipose finclipped steelhead the entire year, its rainbow trout measuring 20 inches or more are considered steelhead from Jan. 1 through April 30, considered trout from May 1 through Oct. 31, and then steelhead again from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.
n Salmon anglers on Tahkenitch Lake need to realize that only the lake is open during coho salmon season and fishing downstream of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge at the lower end of the lake or any of the tributary streams is strictly illegal.
n Realize that while the Siltcoos River is open for coho salmon, in season, it is only open down to the U.S. Highway 101 bridge. When the lake is open to coho fishing, it is illegal to fish above Five Mile Road on Fiddle Creek Arm and above the railroad trestle on Maple Creek Arm.
n Anglers need to remember that both Siltcoos and Tahkenitch creeks are closed to steelhead fishing, even that portion of the Siltcoos River that is open to coho fishing, yet both lakes are open to the taking of adipose clipped steelhead.
n Anglers need to realize that while second rod licenses are legal on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes, they are not legal while the coho salmon season is in effect from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
n Boat anglers need to remember that they cannot keep legal-size cabezon of more than 16 inches in length, even though bankbound anglers can.
While Oregon does a pretty good job of protecting spawning brown trout in the relatively few in-state waters that have them, California allows trout fishing in most streams until Nov. 15 and that last half-month, which is not available to Oregon anglers except on the Deschutes River above Lake Billy Chinook and the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon.
Accomplished anglers in California often take advantage of the late stream closures to target spawning browns, especially above lakes and reservoirs. A good example of the kind of brown trout that may be found in such stream areas in early November is the 30-inch brown taken by Matt Heron of Truckee while flyfishing the Little Truckee River above Boca Reservoir. What made Heron’s catch stand out was that he was using a very small fly on a tippet only testing three and a half pounds.
Columnist Pete Heley can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person on weekends at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay.