DEPOE BAYâ€” Anglers in search of a freezer full of fillets of a rainbow of rockfish and gape-jawed lingcod know that winter and spring offers the best chance of the year for non-stop limit fishing. Itâ€™s like spitting in the ocean â€“ you just canâ€™t miss.
A great part of the fun is that you never know what youâ€™ll haul up. Youâ€™ve got a shot at cabezon, sea trout and a smorgasbord of rockfish â€“ tiger, vermilion, canary, quillback and black or blue sea bass make for a colorful bag. Top it off with a limit of lingcod and youâ€™re ready to head for the barn.
Recent charter trips during the string of great winter weather have done just that, often well before the allotted five-hour trip time. Youâ€™ll be ashore for a late breakfast or an early lunch.
All offices also offer fishing and crabbing combination trips. Theyâ€™re a toss-the-pots, catch-the-fish, pull-the-pots and youâ€™re done affair. Crabbing is cyclical, however. Ask before you book. Youâ€™ll find no fish tales from charter professionals â€“ youâ€™ll get the truth.
Bottomfishing trips out of both Depoe Bay and Newport last week were limited by unfavorable weather conditions, however, anglers reported rockfish catches had improved slightly and that lingcod fishing was still good.
â€śFishing has been good when we can get out, both inshore and in the deep,â€ť reported Capt. Loren Goddard, skipper of The Affair with Dockside Charters, fresh from the NW Sportsmanâ€™s Show in Portland.
According to Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the bottomfish season is open at all depths with a General Marine Species bag limit of five fish, and a separate lingcod limit of 2 fish. No cabezon may be retained until July 1. The longleader-gear fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line is open all year, and several of the party boat companies have become experts at this exciting deepwater adventure. Catches often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes.
If five hours on the ocean is just too much for you, check out the whale-watching menu offered by offices in the harbor. Surprisingly, the winter migration of gray whales southward from The Bering to Baja is still growing strong. But you wonâ€™t see them from shore â€“ youâ€™ll need to hop on a charter boat for a close encounter with these gentle giants.
Pick the trip thatâ€™s right for you and your family. Remember, it is winter. If you can, set aside two or three days for the right ocean conditions. For all these trips in Depoe Bay, call Tradewinds Charters, 541-765-2345, or Dockside Charters, 541-765-2545. To sail from Newport, call Yaquina Bay Charters, 541-265-6800, Captainâ€™s Reel Deep Sea Fishing, 541-265-7441, or Newport Tradewinds, 541-265-2101.
You wonâ€™t go wrong with these hotshots at the helm.