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News arrow News arrow Sports arrow Play the fish trifecta for free fishing weekend

Play the fish trifecta for free fishing weekend Print E-mail
Written by Larry Ellis, fishing columnist   
June 06, 2014 06:11 pm

With inclement weather predicted this weekend, you might think about throwing a Pineapple butterfly trap at the Brookings Harbor crab pier like seasoned veteran crabber George Davis did on Thursday.

As of Friday, the National Weather Service is predicting that northwest gale-force winds between 15 and 25 knots will continue hammering the southern Oregon and northern California coast this weekend and well into next week.

Until those winds abate, that pretty much puts the kibosh on salmon, rockfish and lingcod fishing in the ocean; however, it does open the door for a wealth of other fishing opportunities, particularly the fishing trifecta.

So what exactly is the fishing trifecta?

The fishing trifecta includes three other incredible edibles that will be available in copious quantities to shore anglers this weekend and throughout next week — specifically rainbow trout, surfperch and Dungeness crab. If a person so chooses, he or she could fish for one of these harvestables in the morning, go for door number two in the afternoon and then polish off the trifecta by entering door number three in the evening.

It’s a lot of fun playing the fishing trifecta because a person could theoretically be enjoying a crab cocktail for an appetizer, feasting on succulent rainbow trout for the next course and then polish off the last meal with a surfperch fish taco or two.

The tides, the time of day and a little help from ODFW will be the main drivers behind the fishing trifecta.

For instance, anglers aching to catch rainbow trout will have an excellent opportunity to fill their stringers this weekend. In standing bodies of water such as ponds, lakes and other impoundments, the limit is five rainbow trout, of which no more than one trout may be over 20 inches. And if anyone has caught a 20-inch rainbow, those puppies usually average anywhere between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds.

Last week, ODFW just happened to stock 5,000 catchable-size rainbows between 8 and 10 inches into Libby Pond, an impoundment close to the city of Gold Beach off of North Rogue River Highway. In addition, ODFW, courtesy of Elk River Hatchery, liberated 300 of ODFW’s pride and joy trophy-size trout up to 4 pounds last week into Libby as well.

There will be a kids’ tournament at Libby today (Saturday) lasting through 12 p.m., but in the afternoon, what’s left of those fish will be available for kids of all ages. I seriously doubt that all 300 of those monster trout will be caught before noon on Saturday, so there should be plenty of those strapping ’bows waiting to inhale your offering for the rest of the weekend.

But there are yet more fish to fry in another reservoir, Lake Selmac. Selmac is only 75 miles away from downtown Brookings and I fish it every chance I get. Last week, ODFW dumped 2,000 catchable-size trout into the lake, and two weeks previously they liberated another 3,000 legal-size ’bows into the lake as well. 

In addition to rainbow trout, Lake Selmac is without a doubt the bluegill capital of Oregon Those flat-siders are literally all over the lake and they fight like the dickens.

Catching bluegill is easy to do and is an excellent way of introducing your kids to fishing.

My favorite method of catching bluegill would be to use a wooden spring bobber from Bass Pro Shops used with a glow-in-the-dark micro tube jig on the end of 2-pound test. I use 3/4-inch tubes from Radical Glow Lures. I’ll use a 1/64-ounce jig head and place the head inside the tube jig. For insurance, I add one Berkley Crappie Nibble to the end of the hook, or just add a small piece of a night crawler. The bites are instantaneous and you never know whether you’re going to catch a bluegill or a trout on these things. When your bobber goes down, set the hook.

There’s no limit on bluegill at Selmac.

There will also be several varieties of surfperch available for surf fishermen at various locales along the coast.

Here are the most ideal tides and times to catch both redtail and striped surfperch.

Fishing for surfperch is always the best on the incoming tide, especially during a three-hour window starting about two hours before high tide and up to an hour as the tide starts ebbing. Whenever this special window falls early in the morning or late in the evening, your chances of catching surfperch increases exponentially .

That puts today’s (June 7) hot evening bite between 6 and 9 p.m. On Sunday, the best surfperch bite switches to the morning starting at 7 a.m.

Great local fishing locations for redtail as well as striped surfperch are at Crissey Field, the stretch of beach about one-half mile north from the Winchuck River, McVay Park and Chetco Point Park.

Superb locations near Gold Beach are at Pistol River, Kissing Rock, the south side of the Gold Beach South Jetty, the Gold Beach South Jetty Spit and just down the beach from the Nesika Beach Rest Stop.

The best bait is the cheapest — small pieces of raw shrimp used on a size 6 hook. Go to the frozen food section at Fred Meyer and purchase a bag of uncooked shrimp for about 7 bucks and you’ll have enough bait for many, many fishing trips.

To complete the trifecta, the crab dock at the Port of Brookings Harbor located on the south jetty will also provide anglers with great opportunities to catch Dungeness crab.

I do not recommend crabbers use pots here, or even heavy rings, because they all eventually become a part of the iron orchard, a place near the rocks that devours this type of gear with no mercy. The best crab-catching devices are folding appliances called butterfly traps.

The best bait for crabbing has always been inexpensive chicken legs and thighs. Chicken also discourages activity from the pinnipeds, which seem to devour other baits like steelhead and salmon.

During free fishing weekend, folks are not required to purchase a fishing or shellfish license, or buy any fishing tags.  In Oregon, free fishing means “free.” In California, you still have to purchase salmon tags even on their free fishing weekend. And that is not really free.

Tight lines! 

 

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