Fishing Report: Friday, Dec. 15

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Today's forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and swells of up to 8 feet, followed Saturday by 20-knot winds and 5-foot swells. Sunday doesn't look much better, with a forecast of 15-knot winds and swells up to 7 feet.

Halibut fishing is closed off the South Coast. That leaves only ocean bottomfishing outside the 40-fathom line. Thirty-foot leaders and floats are required to keep baits off the bottom and focused on midwater rockfish species. No lingcod, cabezon or other bottomfish can be targeted, even from jetties. Also open is fishing for sanddab and surfperch. Surfperch fishing is likely to be poor through the weekend because of stiff winds and surf.

Crabbing is closed in the ocean, off beaches and in bays south of the north jetty of the Coquille River at Bandon, but open for the remainder of the Oregon Coast. The Southern Oregon Coast closure includes bays and estuaries as well as the open ocean.

The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed from Cascade Head to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid, including all beaches and bays. Clatsop County beaches are open and the digging has been very good. Bay clams are open throughout the Oregon Coast. The recreational harvesting of mussels is open along the entire coast. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: Fishing has been good for recently stocked rainbow trout, which do well here in the winter months but can't make it through hot summer temperatures, so now is the time to fish here. The lake is up a hair to 25 percent full, thanks to recent rains and runoff, and fishing pressure is very light. Fish PowerBait or worms under bobbers either off the bank or anchored in 10 feet or so of water. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: Fishing pressure has been very light, with some catches of rainbow trout for those trolling near where Carberry Creek hits stagnant water far into where the reservoir normally is in spring. The only boat access now is the lower ramp at French Gulch. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decreased water releases to 200 cfs beginning Thursday. The lake has dropped to 98.5 feet from full and just about where the Corps keeps it for winter flood control.

DIAMOND: Though there is no snow on the banks, the lake now sports a thin sheet of ice that has drawn at least a temporary end to the angling action here. Wait for the ice to thicken enough for the winter season.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 28 percent full and dropping amid cold and dry weather. Fishing pressure is light. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours, offering access to the small holdover pool. Some holdover trout are available.

EXPO: Some of the 300 legal-sized rainbow trout and 150 17-inchers that were stocked for Thanksgiving weekend remain. Catch them on PowerBait, worms and bobbers or small spinners like Panther Martins. There is a $4 day-use fee to park there off Gate 5.

FISH: The lake this week was ice-free and about two-thirds full with little fishing action. The few anglers who are there are still occasionally running into what's left of 900 trophy trout stocked late last month at the Forest Service ramp. Use worms or PowerBait, or strip leeches or woolly buggers. Troll plugs that look like chubs or Wedding Ring lures with a small chunk of worm on the hook. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Sno-Park permits are required.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: Trout fishing is decent but pressure is virtually nonexistent. The marina is closed, but the Willow Point boat ramp is open and usable, with most angling in that area. Fishing has been best near the dam. Trollers should use worms and flashers, starting deep and working their way up the water column until they find where the trout are suspended. The lake was listed at 75 percent full, very high for this time of year.

HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area. The lake is up slightly to 42 percent full. Any fishing now is off the bank.

LOST CREEK: Flows out of Lost Creek were holding steady Thursday at 1,500 cubic feet per second, keeping the lake elevation Thursday at 1,812.4 feet, a few inches above where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aims for the winter flood-control season. The few anglers on the lake are finding trout by trolling near the dam and around the island off the Takelma boat ramp. This is one of Southern Oregon's best winter trout fisheries and a popular place to get away from the fog.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake has about 2 or 3 inches of ice now and resort workers plan to cut a test hole today to gauge thickness. Until then, it is not recommended to walk out on the ice. When it thickens, ice-fishing for perch and rainbow trout should be good right off the resort with worms and small jigs.

WILLOW: The lake got 3,000 legal-sized trout and 1,500 pound-sized trout in early June. Catch what's left on PowerBait or worms.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Frigid temperatures have slowed down action in the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue is seeing some decent catches of smallish summer steelhead staging off creek mouths, and the lower Rogue has seen a slight surge in winter steelhead.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but it's a very light recommendation based more on gas prices than activity. A little rain forecast for today could get steelhead moving around again on the upper Rogue, which has seen a nice summer steelhead run this year. Flows were at 3,006 cfs Thursday at Dodge Bridge and forecast to blip up a bit even though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has held Lost Creek Lake outflows 1,500 cfs.

After a few weeks of good activity, summer steelhead have hunkered down. No new summer steelhead and just one recaptured retread steelhead and 16 cohos were counted this week at Cole Rivers Hatchery, making it the worst collection week of the year. When they're this sluggish, fish plugs or large streamer flies to make them angry and defensive.

The Shady Cove boat ramp remains the demarcation line between bait and nonbait fishing since Nov. 1. Upstream of the ramp, catches were still good on roe fished at the heads and tailouts of pools and riffles. Downstream of Shady Cove, catches have been fair of late on plugs, mostly Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5 in the Misty River or crayfish colors.

Precious few coho are getting caught in the upper Rogue, chiefly by anglers fishing pinkish plugs. All wild coho must be released. The run to date to the hatchery limped up to 953 fish, the worst to date since 2010 and below the running 10-year average of 1,240. Hatchery coho are notoriously poor biters and are usually poor eating quality when caught in the upper Rogue.

Flows at the former Gold Ray Dam site were down to 1,856 cfs and not expected to rise much this next week.

In the lower Rogue, a few winter steelhead have been caught by plunkers this past week, but low and cold water has harmed catches. Flows at Agness were down to 3,003 cfs Thursday and not forecast to move much.

All chinook fishing is closed upstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp near Galice.

In the middle Rogue, anglers are reporting a few summer steelhead caught with worms and corkies off the bank or side-drifting from driftboats near the mouths of spawning creeks. The vast majority are smallish wild steelhead. Flows Thursday at Grants Pass were down to 1,765 cfs.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing, but all wild trout must be released unharmed. Most of the trout are steelhead pre-smolts.

CHETCO: Flows were low and clear and forecast to keep going down until mid-week next week when a short spike will occur.

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