The arrival of the first significant rainfall of the season always means that the bay fishing season for fall salmon will also soon be winding down. Now, by no means is the fall salmon season over but the dense accumulation of salmon that provided much better-than-expected salmon fishing in the Siuslaw River Bay this season has headed upriver. Most passed the angling deadline at the confluence of Lake Creek, although some will linger in the holes above the tide water.
Fresh salmon will continue to move, sometimes all the way into January of the following year. But late-returning fish generally travel quickly through the bay and become difficult to target in the open water. I find it more productive working the holes in the lower river where the fish will hold for a short time on the fluctuating conditions. Wild coho season ended Oct. 15 but Chinook salmon retention by “permanent rules” is open through December. The limit is one Chinook per day and a seasonal limit of two wild Chinook in aggregate for the 2023 season.
The Siuslaw River exceeded expectations this season – especially with the meager reports from other fall Chinook fisheries.
Looking to the future …
It was 2016 when in recognition of its unique cultural values, essential fish and other wildlife habitats that the McKenzie River Trust (mckenzieriver.org) purchased the Finn Rock Reach and Finn Rock boat landing from the Rosboro Logging Company. For decades the Rosboro company had made the site available as a boat launch for fishing parties and other river users, but had made it public that they would eventually seek to sell the land surrounding the boat landing and that the landing could be closed to the public. The purchase ensured that the public will always have access to the boat landing.
Also, that other parts of the river bank holdings would be rehabilitated to benefit fish and wildlife and that work has been ongoing on the upstream end of the property since 2017.
The landing has changed little over the years and has come to accommodate about 400 summer river users daily. Like everything else around it, the landing was almost burned over by the Holiday Farm Fire in September of 2020. As good partners of the McKenzie Valley community, the following year, to help re-establish the local fishing and rafting economy, the Trust removed a number of badly burned trees for safety, and steps were taken to help reduce erosion.
The McKenzie River Trust announced that more work would begin this fall, but closed access to Finn Rock landing Oct. 23. The closure will last until spring 2024.