By: Dave Manners
We’ve completed the first quarter of the springer season. So far, there have been some days where fish have been caught and super slow days. That’s normal for springer fishing for us. We should see more fish come in May and June from the central to north Oregon Coast.
The first quarter has had a lot of cold, rainy weather and it’s hurt the bite. It hailed on me twice in the last few days, which isn’t normal. However, when the weather has been good the fishing has been better. I think the best way to describe it would be inconsistent. One day it can be good and then next slow. On the other hand, that’s springer fishing. I’m marking fish daily, but they don’t always bite. Springers are weird like that. Springers are tougher to pattern. They aren’t as easy as catching fall fish, which is what makes it so special to catch them.
Coastal springers are much bigger than Willamette or Columbia River fish. It’s not uncommon to catch 25 to 30 pound fish. There was a 28 pounder caught this week, but our fish average in the high teens. Meanwhile, you’re going to have to work hard to catch them. Springer fishing isn’t easy.
While there’s springers all along the Oregon Coast, I’ve been fishing in Tillamook Bay and tidewaters. I’ve mainly been trolling herring and been curing my herring in Natural Fire Brine, which is the same thing I do every year. I’ve also caught fish on Green and Blue Fire Brine this season. However, when I’m using blue I’m using natural and adding a little blue. I don’t want them super blue. I’ll use 80 percent natural and 20 percent blue. This is one of my secret mixes and it works well. I’ve been also trolling spinners. When I’m trolling spinners I’ve been using Oregon Tackle scent chambers and stuffing scent in it.
I like trolling herring more on incoming tides and in cooler water temperatures. When the water temperatures get into the mid fifties then I like spinners. Water temperatures have been back and forth with the weather. It’s below 50 now. I lot of times if I’m fishing four people when I run herring I’ll put a spinner out the back. Last week I had a day where every fish was on herring. The next day it could be different. Both methods work great.
I catch fish on the incoming and outgoing tide. I like the outgoing more because the fish start to get into the deeper slots and channels and become more concentrated. The incoming can be good too because you are targeting fish that are fresh out of the ocean. Tide changes are always a good time to catch a fish, too. Salmon tend to bite on the turn.
Editor’s Note: Big Dave Manners operates Big Dave’s Fishing. For more info on his guided Tillamook springer trips please visit http://bigdavesfishing.com.