Coastal Casts

Western Canada geese are abundant along the southern and central Oregon coast.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Let’s get right to business today. Salmon fishing is still slow all up and down the coast. For certain there are still a few fish to be caught but nowhere near the numbers we are used to or frankly were expecting. Most of the good salmon reports that I have been hearing of are up in the tide-water regions.

Rockfishing is picking up in the ocean and seems to be getting better and better all the time. Add lingcod to this as well as we are seeing a better grade of fish closer in to shore all the time with folks starting to consistently catch limits. Keep in mind the ocean opened to rock fishing past the 20-fathom line Saturday.

I’m assuming all the monster lingcod are just sitting there waiting to be caught.

Another thing to note is the closure of razor clamming and mussel harvesting along the entire Oregon coast until further notice. This closure does NOT affect bay clamming at all. Bay clamming includes Empire, butter, cockle, softshell, littlenecks and purple varnish clams. Again, these species are NOT impacted by the closure, only razors and mussels.

Dungeness crabbing remains good in the bay and in the ocean. Some people are still reporting good catches off the docks as well with some of the biggest red-rock crab to ever get dropped into a pot of boiling water!

Archery hunting season is giving way to the general rifle season and soon freezers will be filled with red meat. One of the telltale signs of this change in seasons are the geese that we now see flying south for the winter. On one of Hunter’s (from Basin Tackle) days off during the goose season opener he got out and took advantage of the numbers of Western Canada geese we have been seeing.

It turns out there are actually a few subspecies of the Canada goose with the Western being the largest of them. This particular subspecies is the only one in the Canada goose family that nests in Oregon and Washington, but they are not native to our area. These geese were introduced to the area by private wildlife managers and aviculturists (folks that raise birds) and now Western Canada geese from all over the western part of our country come here to nest, kind of like tourists during the summer (I’m not saying tourist are nesting here, you know what I mean).

Western Canada geese have a little bit of an attitude when it comes to other goose species and prefer to hang around with their own kind, usually on golf courses and other urbanized areas, so essentially we have snooty country club type geese. Geese love to eat grass, tender shoots, aquatic vegetation, and any bug that may crawl in front of them.

Geese will mate for life and will start nesting at about three years of age. These birds will build their nests near water, usually in cattails or other tall grasses or reeds. I’ve even seen them nest on top of beaver dams and in trees. I have pictures somewhere of a goose nest in a large old tree on a low branch that was damaged and grew back with a really wide “V.” Geese will often use the same nest year after year if it remains in good condition and doesn’t need too much repair work.

Between March and May the female goose will lay an average of five or six eggs and incubate them for about a month at which point adorable yellow fuzzies hatch. Within 24 hours, these hatchlings can walk and swim and at about 10 weeks can fly short distances. Some of these geese along our coast stay all year long and are referred to as resident geese.

Here’s some cool goose facts for y’all: geese are taught to migrate by their parents so any resident birds and their young will remain resident birds forever, a flock of geese not in flight are called a gaggle and there must be five or more birds to be considered a gaggle. And by the way, no geese were harmed in the writing of this article, except, like, you know, the ones Hunter shot.

Whether you are chasing salmon or hunting geese, I hope to see you out there.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-3474, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston or email at basin_tackle@yahoo.com.

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