FISH REPORT: SURFPERCH STILL ON THE BITE; WINDS KEEP BOATERS AT BAY

June 13, 2008 11:00 pm
Mindy Andrews from Medford holds two nice redtail surfperch she caught using small pieces of raw shrimp while fishing in the surf. (Photo by Larry Ellis).
Mindy Andrews from Medford holds two nice redtail surfperch she caught using small pieces of raw shrimp while fishing in the surf. (Photo by Larry Ellis).

By Larry Ellis

Pilot staff writer

Northwest wind keeps boaters at bay:

When the wind blows from the north – don't venture forth.

That's one of the old fables that actually applies on the Oregon Coast, but if and only if you replace the word north with northwest.

You may have noticed a few whitecaps on the ocean this week, and by the forecast, it's probably going to continue at least until Tuesday.

Actually, northwest winds are a good thing. They create a condition called upwelling.

Upwelling is caused when the upper layer of water is blown out to sea. The missing upper layer creates a vacuum that churns up the bottom and pulls it upward toward the surface.

At first the water looks dirty, like it did last week, hence the name "dirty northwest." After the winds finally die down, the color transforms into a rich pea-green hue.

This is the nutrient soup in which microscopic plankton thrives, the first step in the ocean's food chain.

Plankton is the bread and butter for Pacific sand lance, anchovies, sardines and herring. These baitfish grow rapidly on the plankton, becoming forage fish for rockfish, salmon and tuna. We have no problem dining on the last three.

The winds are supposed to die down this Tuesday to about 15 knots. My guess is that we'll have some pretty good bottom fishing by then.

Our typical pre-summer pattern is about five days of northwest winds followed by approximately five days of a calmer, less windy ocean.

Libby Pond stocked for free fishing weekend:

There were a lot of happy kids wielding heavy stringers of rainbow trout at Libby Pond last week during free fishing weekend on June 7 and 8. There should be plenty of leftovers in the lake. Here's the reason why.

On June 1, Cole Rivers Hatchery planted 667 catchable size rainbows into Libby. In addition, 100 trophy trout about 20 inches long were dumped into the waterbody, followed by a massive stocking of 250 pounds of legal-size steelhead.

The fishing this week should be flat-out phenomenal.

Rainbow- or chartreuse-colored PowerBait used on a sliding sinker set-up should work well.

Rigging up is simple. Take a one-half ounce egg sinker and thread it up the main line, which should be between 4- and 6-pound test.

Thread a 5mm bead on next and then tie a small swivel on the end. The bead prevents the swivel from becoming wedged inside the hole of the egg sinker.

Now take out about 20 inches of 4-pound test. On one end, tie a size 16 treble hook. Tie the free end to end of the swivel.

Take just enough PowerBait out to cover the treble hook. Dip the hook in the water to make sure the bait is floating the hook up.

Make your cast. While the rig is sinking, reel in a few turns to make sure the outfit lays nice and straight. Prop your rod on a tree branch and keep the bail open. This will allow the trout to take out line without feeling any resistance from the sinker.

A simpler way of rigging up is to tie the treble hook directly on the end of your line. Pinch a split shot or two about 18 inches above the hook.

When you use this method, you have to be quick on the stick. Don't leave your bail open this time, but prop the rod in a holder and watch the tip. As soon as it moves, immediately set the hook.

This rig will work when the trout are hungry, but when they're being finicky and biting light, use the sliding sinker rig.

Practically the entire perimeter of Libby is bank accessible. The limit is five trout, of which only one may be 20 inches or over.

Lower Rogue springer bite picks up:

The lower Rogue may be dropping but the springer bite picked up for a few days last week.

"It's not red-hot but it's pretty decent fishing," says Sam Waller from Jot's Resort (www.jotsresort.com). "In three days that I fished we caught seven fish. Unfortunately we had to let four of them go."

Waller says the river flow at Elephant Rock has dropped considerably, so anglers should head further upstream now if they want to nab a springer.

"The current's dropped down below 4,000 cubic feet a second, and that's robbed the rock of a lot of its current," explains Waller. "When you get down to the rock and you don't have a lot of flow, it gets pretty flat. When it's flat and you don't have the current, the fish can wander around anywhere. You want to have some current so it drives them into ya.

"So you want to get up in the river a little more now," suggests Waller. "Right above the rock at John's Hole would be a good bet."

Anglers have been anchoring up using spinnerbait rigs with an anchovy on the back, using straight bait, or just putting out a spinner.

The ratio of hatchery fish to wild fish has been about 50:50.

Surfperch still on the bite:

Anglers were still continuing to catch plenty of surfperch even though the northwest winds were howling.

Redtail surfperch and striped surfperch averaging about 2 pounds were brought into the cleaning station last week. A 2-pound surfperch renders a pretty good size slab from each side.

The hot bait is still small pieces of raw shrimp or bait shrimp.

The best beaches continue to be one-half mile uphill from the Winchuck Wayside, McVay Beach and Sporthaven Beach.

The limit is 15 surfperch.

Tight Lines!