Spearfishing and bait use for smallmouth bass again temporarily allowed on Coquille River system

Coquille River - Coquille, OR (Coos County)


by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
5-21-2021
Website

CHARLESTON, Ore – The use of spears, spear guns and angling with bait to harvest smallmouth bass is allowed in the Coquille River system beginning Saturday, May 22 through October 31, 2021. The temporary rule is meant to reduce impacts of illegally introduced non-native smallmouth bass on wild fall Chinook salmon. Under existing regulations, there is no limit on the size or number of bass that can be taken in the Coquille.

While poor ocean conditions in recent years resulted in low fall Chinook returns coastwide, the Coquille has been particularly hard hit and has not rebounded to the same extent as other systems. ODFW scientists concluded the most likely cause is predation by non-native smallmouth bass which have expanded their range significantly since the initial illegal introduction. In addition to their impact on fall Chinook, there are also concerns for Pacific lamprey which are preyed upon by smallmouth bass. Fishery managers enacted the same temporary rule on spearfishing in 2020 (mid-July through October), and began limiting wild fall Chinook harvest in 2019.

“Our main objective is to limit the number of smallmouth bass in the Coquille River system where they are negatively impacting juvenile fall Chinook salmon,” said ODFW biologist Gary Vonderohe. “Spearfishing provides another tool to remove smallmouth bass and help our native fish. Many spear fishing anglers participated in this unique harvest opportunity last year.”

Fall chinook salmon and Pacific lamprey are culturally important to many Pacific Northwest Tribes. Locally, the Coquille Indian Tribe is concerned about the impacts smallmouth bass have on both species.

“The Coquille Tribe has been in the Coquille watershed since time immemorial, and we want to see a healthy river system,” said Helena Linnell, Biological Planning and Operations Manager for the Coquille Indian Tribe. “Restoring healthy populations of fall Chinook and lamprey is important to us. If spearfishing can reduce the non-native species, that’s good for the tribe and good for the local community.”

The temporary rule applies in the mainstem Coquille River and the East, Middle, North, and South forks of the Coquille River. In the South Fork Coquille, the regulation applies from the mouth to the U.S. Forest Service boundary near Powers.

Access maps to the South Fork Coquille and lower Coquille can be found here and for a map of smallmouth distribution, click here. ODFW has a helpful series of videos on spearfishing the Coquille River, including how to build your own fishing spear and how to filet a smallmouth bass.

ODFW conducted electrofishing for smallmouth bass in 2020 and is developing plans to add other removal methods to reduce predation on juvenile wild fall Chinook. A smallmouth bass population assessment will be conducted later this summer which will help inform future control actions.

Multiple age classes of smallmouth bass were first confirmed in the Coquille in 2011 meaning the fish had been in the river for multiple spawning cycles. Vonderohe said their distribution has grown yearly in the Coquille Basin, expanding to most of the reaches with habitat and temperatures conducive to smallmouth bass reproduction.

“The warm temperatures and low flows we’re seeing so far this year really favor smallmouth bass and allow them to make further inroads into salmon habitat,” Vonderohe said.




More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, May 19th
Lower Willamette River: Lower Willamette River sturgeon retention season planned for two Saturdays in June
Nestucca River: Sprink Chinook Fishing Is Slow But There Are A Few Fish Being Caught
Trask River: The Trask is Still a Little Slow and Water Conditions are Very Low Above Tidewater
Wilson River: Summer Steelhead Should Be Showing Up This Month
Alton Baker Canoe Canal: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 1,000 Legal-Size and 200 Pound Size Rainbow Trout
Breitenbush River: The Forest Service Road Up the Breitenbush River is Closed
Coast Fork Willamette River: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 1,000 Legal-Size Trout
Detroit Reservoir: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 4,200 Hatchery Trout
Dexter Reservoir: Was Last Stocked The Week of April 12 With 2,000 Pounder-Size Rainbow Trout
EE Wilson Angling Pond: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With About 1,000 Hatchery Trout
Fall Creek: Will Be Stocked This Week With 1,333 Legal-Size Rainbow Trout
Foster Reservoir: Reservoir Water Level Will Slowly Rise Throughout The Spring
Gold Lake: Gold Lake Will Open This Coming Saturday!!
Green Peter Reservoir: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 7,300 Trout
Junction City Pond: This Pond Will Be Stocked Again This Week With About 1,500 Hatchery Trout
Leaburg Lake: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With 800 Legal-Size Rainbow Trout
McKenzie River: When Boating, Treat This Section of River Like It Is The First Time You Have Been On It
Middle Fork Willamette: Spring Chinook Are Still Coming Upriver
Quartzville Creek: Trout Are Active Year-Round and Anglers Are Allowed to Keep Up to Five Fish Daily
Salmon Creek: Was Last Stocked The Week of May 12 With 1,350 Legal-Size Rainbow Trout
Santiam River ( North Fork) : Trout Harvest is Now Closed and Will Not Re-open Until May 22
Santiam River ( North Fork) Above Detroit Lake: This Section of The River Is Closed to Salmon Fishing
Timber Linn Lake: Will Be Stocked Again This Week With Around 1,600 Legal-Size Trout
Walling Pond: About 1,500 Trout Are Going to be Stocked in This Pond This Week
Waverly Lake: This Lake Will Be Stocked This Week With About 1,500 Legal-Size Trout
Hat Rock Pond: There Will Be 1,000 Legal and 100 Trophy Trout Stocked This Week
Magone Lake: Fishing Has Been Excellent The Last Few Weeks
McNary Channel Ponds: There Will Be 5,000 Legal and 300 Trophy Trout Stocked This Week
Umatilla River: Steelhead Fishing Is Closed and Will Not Open Until Sept. 1
Antelope Flat Reservoir: Recent Sampling Indicates Excellent Overwinter Survival
Crane Prairie Reservoir: Anglers Report Good Fishing
Crooked River: Irrigation Season Has Started So The Water Level Is Higher
Davis Lake: Water Is Low and It May Be Difficult to Launch a Bigger Boat
Deschutes River: Anglers Report Good Fishing
Haystack Reservoir: With The Warm Weather, Trout Will Be Harder To Catch During The Day
Lake Billy Chinook: Bass Fishing is Picking Up
Lava Lake: Access To The Lake Is Open
North Twin Lake: Lake Will Be Stocked With Rainbow Trout This Week
Ochoco Reservoir: Water Level is Extremely Low
Odell Lake: Anglers Report Fair Fishing For Kokanee and Good Fishing For Lake Trout
Paulina Lake: The Road to Paulina Lake is Now Open!
Prinevile Reservoir: Trout and Bass Fishing Have Been Good
Shevlin Youth Pond: Pond Will Be Stocked Again This Week
South Twin Lake: Lake Will Be Stocked With Rainbow Trout This Week
Wickiup Reservoir: The Reservoir Level is Low But Boats Can Be Launched Safely At This Point
Agate Lake: There Should Still Be Some Trout Hanging Around At Agate Lake
Applegate River: Hatchery Staff Are Still Making Weekly Checks Here
Chetco River: Trout Fishing Opens May 22
Coos River: Trout Fishing In Streams and River Open This Saturday May 22
Coquille River: Boat Anglers Have Been Catching Shad On The Mainstem Coquille River Near The Town of Coquille
Eel Lake: Trout Fishing Has Been Good in Eel Lake for Both Boat Anglers and Bank Anglers Fishing From the Fishing Dock
Elk River: Trout Season Opens May 22
Emigrant Reservoir: Bass Fishing Has Really Picked Up in The Last Few Weeks
Empire Lake Lower: Bass Fishing Should Be Picking Up in Lower Empire Lake
Fish Lake : Fish Lake Received 500 "Pounder" Rainbow Trout This Week
Howard Prairie Reservoir: Howard Lake is Accessible!
Hyatt Lake: Was Recently Stocked With 5000 Legal Rainbow Trout
Illinois River: Trout Fishing Will Reopen May 22
Lake Selmac: Trout Fishing Should Be Good
Medco Pond: Fishing Has Been Good Out Here
Rogue River - Middle: Trout Fishing on the Rogue is Closed and Reopens on May 22
Rogue River- Upper: The Hatchery Hole is Closed to All Fishing Through July 31
Tenmile Lakes: Trout Were Stocked in North and South Tenmile Lakes Recently
Willow Lake: Trout Fishing at Willow Lake Should Be Excellent
Ana Reservoir: Fishing should be excellent!
Campbell Reservoir: Lake is Low For This Time of Year
Heart Lake: Heart Lake Report
Holbrook Reservoir: Stocked Recently
Upper Klamath Lake: Catch rates for redband trout continue to improve
Klamath River - Upper - OR: Klamath River Report
Krumbo Reservoir: Anglers Catching Plenty of Trout
Lake Of The Woods: Heavily Stocked With Trout
Owyhee Reservoir: While crappie fishing has been good throughout the reservoir
Owyhee River: Caddis hatches are happening right now
Phillips Reservoir: water levels are currently the lowest observed in it’s 56 year history
Sprague River: Sprague River Report
Wood River: Flows Are A Little High
Yellowjacket Lake: Yellowjacket Lake Report

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