Fishing Report

Bo and Dylan Hunt of Florence Oregon were just setting for the surfperch. Bo says his strategy is to walk the beach looking for the deeper depressions in the sand. Photo provided

• Labor Day was a wet one across much of western Oregon, including Lane County, which saw March return for the weekend. Let’s say it shook the apple cart a bit but this weekend things have returned to something more reminiscent of early June. A lot of years, a late spring rain is often welcomed but this year the lakes already are full and the Cascade rivers and streams are running cold and a bit high. In general the conditions were excellent across the county. So the rain only worked against folks trying to take advantage of the three-day weekend.
• June 1-2 was a ”free fishing weekend” across the state. In preparation the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife planted hatchery trout in all the remaining waters destined for trout plants this season. It added more hatchery fish to others already stocked including all the Lane County trout fishing waters, too. No doubt some went to the fry pan last weekend but there should be plenty to last through the summer. The next ”free fishing weekend” comes up in August, the 17-18.
• It’s also the time of the year that some still call ”the second season” this year — May 24 when all the summer trout fisheries across the state and county were open. Though some are open year round like the Coast Fork Willamette and Blue River, they aren’t planted for the season until late May; in some instances it will be the only plant of this season.
• Also open for trout fishing are the rivers on the west side of the county that have been closed since the end of the winter steelhead season. Lake Creek, the Siuslaw, Holt Pound and the creeks in the far northwest part of the county near Heceta Head and others are now open for coast range wild cutthroat trout.
• More good news: Early season hatchery trout were planted in February at Junction City Pond, Alton Barker Cannel and Cottage Grove Pond, and more trout were added in May. Beneficiaries of the good water conditions this season the catching and quality of the fish has been good. In late April and a couple of times in May the McKenzie River was planted with hatchery trout, too, and will be regularly planted up to Labor Day weekend. From Finn Rock Landing to Hendricks Wayside, the fishing has been good for both wild trout that have to be released and hatchery trout to keep. The headline here is that trout you can catch-and-keep are plentiful across Lane County.
• Remember our county stretches across two different angling zones so it’s important to understand the regulations that apply to each zone. For instance, in the Northwest zone you can keep two wild cutthroat per day. In the Willamette zone near Creswell, wild trout on most rivers have to be released. There are exceptions, which only highlights the importance of checking the rules before you cast.
• Across the county, warming weather also has the bass and crappie in all the lakes on the bite. The best are the Florence lakes, world class bass fishing destination plus some are stocked with trout and some have wild trout where a limited harvest is allowed. We are just in that zone of conditions that find all these species of fish active in Siltcoos, Munsel, Sutton, Mercer lakes and many other lakes east to west.
• Out on the ”big pond” in spite of the fact that the surf has been fairly calm, the surfperch have been somewhat elusive on the Lane County coast. There have been some good reports mostly from folks fishing south of the Siuslaw jetty. But nothing like the reports I’ve been hearing from the South of Cape Blanco beaches. I look for bits of sand crab at the surf line; they are a good indication of feeding fish in the surf. Although the surf has been down, it has been windy on the beach and very windy offshore. It’s kept most bottom fishers in port so not much to report this week about offshore sport angling.
• The run of Willamette salmon and steelhead this spring is anemic. But the catching below Dexter and Leaburg Dams has been fair to good so far. Looks like the higher river flows this spring have drawn these fish up river faster than normal, reaching us feisty and eager to bite. There are also few salmon at the base of Doreana on the Coast Fork Willamette and a few have been caught there, too. It’s still too early in June to think the run is over but the bite below the falls at Oregon City has dropped off and the numbers of both salmon and steelhead passing through the ladder at the falls has also diminished. Both suggesting we may be looking at another poor season for salmon and steelhead fishing in the valley.
— Compiled by Frank Armendariz



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