COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for some good August summer fishing days this weekend, with conditions getting slightly worse as the weekend progresses. Forecasts call for 5- to 10-knot winds and 2-foot wind waves today, 5- to 15-knot winds and 3-foot swells Saturday and 10-knot winds with 6-foot swells Sunday, with winds up to 25 knots by evening.
Very good to excellent lingcod and black rockfish catches have occurred out of Brookings when the weather has allowed. Blue rockfish catches have been good to very good. The South Coast halibut season is open through Oct. 31, and some very nice fish have been caught when the weather cooperates.
Canary rockfish are part of the 2017 seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish. Also, there's a new combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are back in the mix for anglers, but catches have been light.
Rockfish anglers must still stay inside the 30-fathom line. When that restriction is lifted Sept. 1, anglers must carry at least one descending device on board of each boat and use it when releasing any rockfish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper.
Surf perch fishing remains very good to excellent along the South Coast, with catches lower on windy days when the fish move behind the surf line. The sand spot at the Rogue River mouth remains best, followed by Winchuck Beach and Nesika Beach. Berkely Gulp sandshrimp or sand worms work best because they stay on hooks well. Prawns also work well.
Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and it is picking up in bays. Some of the crabs are still with soft shells and low meat content after molting. Look for crabs to fatten up by September.
Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are open from Lincoln City to the California border. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474. Mussels are open on the southern half of the Oregon Coast.
AGATE: The lake is down to 53 percent full, the lowest it's been this year. Look for crappie, yellow perch and occasional bass in deeper water and anywhere there's shade. The water is very warm. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Rainbows are spread throughout the lake and recent hot weather has shot the surface temperature up to 76 degrees. That is putting trout deeper in the water column and near the mouth of Carberry Creek. Fishing is best in the evenings or early mornings. A worm 10 feet or so under a sliding bobber system is working well at the upper end of the reservoir. Bass fishing off points and around structure in the upper part of the reservoir has been fair to good. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped releases a tad to 345 cfs, and inflows have plunged to about 78 cfs as the snowmelt disappears. The lake was listed Thursday at 29 feet from full, down almost 4 feet from last week.
DIAMOND: The lake is fishing very well for rainbows in the shallows at the south end and near the shrimp beds and the old Cheese Hole — lots of fish between 12 and 17 inches. PowerBait floated off the bottom is out-fishing worms under bobbers, with corn yellow and salmon-egg peach popular, but don't forget the glitter chartreuse. Trollers are getting action on Needlefish and Flat Fish. The south ramp is open and so are the campgrounds, but bring bug spray — the mosquitoes are brutal this year.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 60 percent full, actually up a hair thanks to water manipulation for irrigation. Look for that to change and the lake will begin dropping again as it normally does. Bass fishing has held its own for those casting a mix of plastic worms and grubs and crankbaits in the early mornings and evenings. Smallmouth are in the rock structures, largemouth largely in the submerged willows. Trolling for trout has slowed in the warm water, with the upper section of the lake best near Emigrant Creek.
EXPO: Fishing is slow amid hot water conditions. No fresh fish have been stocked and the water is warming rapidly. Fish with worms and bobbers or Panther Martin lures, with warmwater fish more accessible now. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are required.
FISH: The lake got 3,000 legal-sized rainbows a month ago. That's it until September, but fishing is still good. Catches have been good with PowerBait, as well as leeches and woolly bugger flies. The lake was down significantly in the past week and was listed Thursday at 70 percent full. Tiger trout must be released unharmed.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: Trout fishing is holding its own despite the usual late-summer swoon, largely because high water conditions have kept the trout feeding, cool and in good shape. Fishing has been very good from Grizzly Campground up into the flats at the lake's northwest side, with still-fishing with various colors of PowerBait best. The lake was listed Thursday as 87 percent full, which is great for April let alone August. The lake's surface temperature has risen to 72 degrees.
HYATT: The lake received 5,100 legal-sized rainbows at the BLM ramp last month, and anglers are catching them with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. However, with a 72-degree surface temperature, trout fishing has slowed and lots of smaller largemouth bass are getting caught. The first confirmed smallmouth bass was caught there last week by state biologists in an electroshocking boat. The lake has dropped significantly in the past week and is now at 43 percent full.
LOST CREEK: The lake got another 10,000 legal rainbows and 1,500 pound-sized trout a month ago, split between the Takelma and marina boat ramps. The trout have spread out fairly well, with some of the best fishing directly across the lake from the marina and near the dam. The lake was listed Thursday at 37 feet from full. Trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm near the dam. However, anglers need to get deep because the hot surface temperatures are pushing the trout down in the water column. Experiment with varying depths.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Fishing is good for rainbows in the shallows and farther out in the lake with bait or lures. Some kokanee have been caught in the deeper recesses of the lake.
MEDCO POND: The pond got 1,600 legal-sized rainbows in June and 4,000 legals in May. Fishing is good with PowerBait or worms under bobbers.
WILLOW: The lake got 3,000 legal-sized trout and 1,500 pound-sized trout in early June. Catch them on PowerBait or worms.
ROGUE: A mix of spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead continue to create a good fishery for part of the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue has started to pick up for a mix of early fall chinook and summer steelhead. But the story of the week is chinook salmon fishing in the lower Rogue Bay, which some oldtimers are calling some of the best fishing in two decades.
So that clearly makes the lower Rogue the best bet, with catches estimated at more than two fish a day per boat, including the tourists. Even if fishing wasn't that good, clear skies and 63-degree weather is a draw of its own. Fishing is best on the morning incoming tides with anchovies or Brad's cut-plug herring lures.
Adult summer steelhead and halfpounders are starting to show up in the Huntley Park seining data, so look for those fisheries to improve in the lower Rogue.
In the upper Rogue, anglers can still double-dip for steelhead and chinook downstream of Dodge Bridge and that's drawing the lion's share of anglers. Upstream of Dodge Bridge is open for steelhead but not chinook. The Corps of Engineers has held the outflow steady at 2,350 cfs. That's the lowest it has been all year. The late-run spring chinook are also hitting eggs and sandshrimp back-bounced or fished off divers. Those fishing smaller plugs have hit some nice summer steelhead on both sides of Shady Cove. The floating algae masses that have dogged anglers the past few weeks seem to be waning.
In the steelhead-only water, the action has been good for a variety of anglers. Fly-fishers, particularly spey casters, are doing well on leeches and other bigger bugs. Plug fishing is very good for driftboaters, and worms and corkies or beads are still good and legal for side-drifters and bank anglers, particularly those fishing around dusk.
The early summer steelhead tend to be either 20-inch, first-time spawners or 8-plus pounders that are either wild fish on their second or third spawning run or hatchery females stripped of their eggs and released to the Rogue.
Anglers fishing downstream of Dodge Bridge can keep wild springers as part of their two-chinook limit, while those upstream of the bridge must release wild spring chinook unharmed. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were down about 300 cfs to 2,319 cfs Thursday, 2,551 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site, 2,240 cfs at Grants Pass, and 2,900 at Agness. All were the lowest flows of the season.
In the middle Rogue, anglers targeting summer steelhead are catching fish most evenings, with Panther Martin lures or worms and corkies the top offerings. Also, the float from Valley of the Rogue to Chinook Park has been productive for steelheaders, with a few late-run springers seen moving through as well. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing, but all wild trout must be released unharmed. Most of the trout are actually steelhead pre-smolts.
CHETCO: A few more wash-in fall chinook are getting caught in the estuary, but not at the pace of earlier this month. Lots of anchovies are in the bay.