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Warmwater options abundant.

Byline: The Register-Guard

While much could be done to increase or improve warmwater fishing opportunities in Lane County, the area has lots of good places to fish for bass and panfish.

In fact, now's a great time to fish for bass and bluegill - two of the most popular species lumped into the "warmwater game fish" category - says Jeff Ziller, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's district biologist for the southern Willamette Basin.

Area ponds and Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs all provide decent opportunities to catch bass, Ziller said, "especially this time of year, right when the water temperature at the surface is warming into the 60s" and bass become active.

"Actually, this is good timing for bluegills, too," Ziller said. "The best time to catch big bluegill is when they're starting to spawn and the males are guarding the nest."

Both bass and bluegill are most likely to be found "around areas that are a little deeper than the shallowest, weediest parts of the lake," he said. "They prefer to have openings in the vegetation."

In the flood-control reservoirs, "anywhere you can find a deep spot next to a patch of weeds, you're going to find warmwater fish," Ziller said.

However, the bite will probably be best "in areas heated earlier in the day by the sunshine," such as the north side of coves. "Areas shaded by east slopes aren't going to be as good."

In the southern Willamette Valley, "Dorena and Cottage Grove (reservoirs) are definitely the most productive" for warmwater species, Ziller said. However, a health advisory urging people to limit the amount of fish they eat from those lakes, due to mercury contamination, is in effect. State health officials recommend pregnant women, nursing women and children younger than 6 not eat fish from these lakes other than stocked rainbow trout; children older than 6 and healthy adults should not eat more than a half-pound a week.

Residents of coastal Lane County are awash in warmwater fishing opportunities. Virtually every freshwater lake in the Florence area contains largemouth bass and yellow perch. Many also have bluegill and brown bullhead fisheries. Siltcoos and Woahink lakes are the most diverse fisheries, as they both contain black crappie in addition to the aforementioned species.

Printed below is the ODFW's listing of inland Lane County lakes and streams that are good places to try your hand at warmwater fishing. The listing includes the size of each waterway, its location and other access information, and the species of fish present in each waterway. Prevalent warmwater species are listed in italics.

Bond Butte Pond: A long, skinny former gravel pit located just east of I-5, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Diamond Hill Road exit, 15 miles north of Eugene. One of the few places in the Willamette Valley where channel catfish can be caught. About 5,800 juvenile catfish were placed in the pond by the ODFW in five separate stockings during the 1990s and in 2001. The pond also contains largemouth bass, bluegill and white crappie.

Cottage Grove Ponds: 15 acres, six ponds east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road near the truck scales. Largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead.

Cottage Grove Lake: 1,150 acres, six miles south of Cottage Grove on London Road. Largemouth bass, brown bullhead, bluegill. Health advisory on amount of fish to be eaten.

Delta Ponds: 200 acres; along Delta Highway in Eugene near Valley River Center. Bluegill, largemouth bass, white crappie, brown bullhead.

Dexter Lake: 1,000 acres; at Lowell, east of Eugene on Highway 58. Largemouth bass, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass.

Dorena Lake: 1,840 acres, seven miles east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road. Largemouth bass, brown bullhead, bluegill, crappie. Health advisory on amount of fish to be eaten.

Fern Ridge Ponds: Five acres, just below Fern Ridge Dam west of Eugene. White crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, brown bullhead.

Fern Ridge Lake: 9,000 acres, adjacent to Highway 126, 10 miles west of Eugene. White crappie, brown bullhead, largemouth bass, bluegill. The reservoir will be at low pool all summer to allow repairs to Fern Ridge Dam, but still fishable.

Hult Reservoir: 64 acres, 23 miles west of Junction City on Highway 36 to Horton Road, north five miles on Horton Road. Boat and bank access. Largemouth bass, bluegill, native cutthroat trout.

Long Tom River: From Fern Ridge Dam downstream 25 miles to the mouth. White crappie, largemouth bass, brown bullhead.

Lookout Point Lake: 4,200 acres; north side of Highway 58 about 20 miles southeast of Eugene. Limited populations of largemouth bass, white crappie, brown bullhead.

Triangle Lake: 279 acres, 25 miles west of Junction City on Highway 36. Lane County boat ramp and dock is only public access. Largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead, yellow perch, kokanee and native cutthroat trout.

Willamette River: Sloughs between Eugene and Corvallis contain largemouth bass, white crappie, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, black crappie and bluegill.

- Mike Stahlberg
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Title Annotation:Recreation; Fishing for bass and bluegill is especially good this time of the year in Lane County
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 5, 2005
Words:825
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