Pumpkinseed sunfish, one of the prettiest freshwater fish in Oregon, don’t put up much of a fight when they’re caught.

Before we get to today’s fishing report and topic de jour, I need to apologize for an egregious error I made in last week’s column. I’m not sure if I sent an old article or what happened, but there are not salmon and tuna being caught right now.

Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t pull a stunt like that at some point, but I definitely did not do any such thing on purpose this past week. The tuna will come in time and the salmon … meh … who knows?

What we can confirm is that nice limits of rockfish and lingcod are to be had on the small windows of opportunity that present themselves weather-wise. Long-leader, near-shore, bay fishing and so on is all good lately but, again, it’s all dependent on the weather.

I don’t think a single soul got out last week for halibut, and at the time of this writing, it’s looking the same for this upcoming week. Oh well, that’s life on Oregon’s south coast!

Crabbing in the bay has picked up some lately, and we’re glad for that because I can only go so long without having a crab “fix.”

Red-tailed perch are running up the Umpqua to have their babies, and catches on the beach remain hit or miss lately, with a few more checks in the hit column than the miss column.

Freshwater bass fishing is getting better, but we need more sun and heat for the largemouth. It seems, however, the weather is near perfect for the smallmouth bass; I’ve been catching a ton of smallmouth lately on the beautiful Umpqua River system with a better grade overall than I’ve ever had.

This past Monday, Hunter and I headed out by Elkton to catch these beautiful fish and after a quick stop at Arlene’s Restaurant and convenience store for snacks and drinks, we hit the water.

We fished out of kayaks and would cover different spots at the same time. Of course, when one would find a hot, spot we would fish it for 10 or 15 minutes before we “remembered” to holler out and tell the other that we were on the fish. All is fair in war and fishing.

In addition to smallmouth bass, we also caught a couple little salmon, some bluegill and a fish that I think is the prettiest freshwater fish in North America, the pumpkinseed.

I will usually catch one or two of these little fellas per trip just for the sake of seeing them and marveling at their beautiful colors. They don’t put up too much of a fight due to their small size but ultralight gear makes it fun nonetheless.

Pumpkinseed look like a tropical cichlid that one might find for sale in a pet store but these are not tropical at all and are found from coast to coast all across America. The pumpkinseed are related to and look very much like a bluegill, with the easiest distinguishing feature being the orange spot behind the black dot on its gill cover.

The pumpkinseed in the picture was caught by Hunter Marchant and, considering it was the biggest I’ve ever seen in these waters, we probably should have spent some time targeting a few more for dinner, but the bass fishing was too good to stop for long.

Pumpkinseeds typically run about 4 to 6 inches in length. These fish make their living by eating small aquatic insects, insect larvae and small snails. Once water temperatures reach between 55 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit, the male pumpkinseed will make a nest in shallow water with a gravel bottom. These nests are often grouped together as sort of a community nursery — or as I like to call it, a “bass buffet.”

The female lays one to two thousand eggs and then immediately vacates the nest while the male stays behind to guard the eggs. These eggs will hatch in less than a week and the male will stay with the young for about 11 days — or until he becomes sick and tired of them constantly fighting over the television remote.

These beautiful fish will live up to about seven years unless they fall prey to a bass or an angler. Look for them by fallen, sunken trees and other obvious structure, use tiny bait, and don’t plan on leaving your spot when you locate them because there will be hours of fun to be had.

Whether you are crabbing in the bay or fishing for sunfish I hope to see you out there.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle (www.basintackle.com) in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-FISH, on Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or email basin_tackle@yahoo.com.

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