Fishing Report: Friday, March 10

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: The weekend weather is predicted be decent for offshore anglers along the south coast, though today will be a bit dicey. Forecasts call for 15-knot winds and swells of up to 11 feet today, followed Saturday and Sunday by 15-knot winds and 5-foot swells.

Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and estuaries. Bay crabbing has been poor, however, because heavy freshwater flows are pushing Dungeness either low in the estuary or out to sea. Ocean crabbers are averaging about three crabs per day.

Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are now closed south of Cape Arago near Charleston. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake was listed as 98 percent full, up a hair from last week. There has been little angling interest of late, and water clarity is poor. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows should be pretty good this weekend as water levels finally settle out. The lake was listed Wednesday at an elevation 1,930 feet above sea level, up five feet from last week and still almost 10 feet shy of the regular filling schedule as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preps for more storms and heavy snowmelt. That's also 57 feet from full. Outflows were down to about 550 cubic feet per second Wednesday and scheduled to hold there for the immediate future. Trolling for rainbow trout should improve with better weather. The French Gulch ramp is the only usable ramp at the lake.

DIAMOND: The ice is about 6 inches thick, and ice fishing has been good for rainbows with worms or PowerBait. Vary your depths. Anglers using portable fish-finders are marking good numbers of trout. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Wednesday at 81 percent full and rising slowly. Spring bass fishing should start heating up with the warmer days. Try afternoon fishing with plastic worms slowly near structures.

FISH: The lake was up a hair to 54 percent full, and ice fishing is still decent for rainbow trout near the Forest Service ramp. Catches are a mix of rainbows and tiger trout. Tigers must be released unharmed. A mix of worms, PowerBait and ice flies have worked well.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The ice is not thick enough for ice fishing, and water levels are rising. The lake was listed Wednesday at 69 percent full.

HYATT: The ice is suspect, and anglers are staying away. The lake is 62 percent full.

LOST CREEK: Outflows will hover around 1,725 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the reservoir right on its filling schedule. Fishing pressure was very light this past week. Early March is often a good time for trolling near the dam with a red or green Wedding Ring lure with a worm. Warmer days are best. Fishing above Peyton Bridge should improve daily until the next rains come.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice-fishing conditions are excellent, and anglers primarily are catching perch with worms near the resort. Few trout or kokanee have showed up in the catch. For them, try deeper water. The resort is open on weekends.

WILLOW: Trout fishing has been a bust lately because anglers are waiting for ice to develop.

EXPO: The pond received its first complement of 1,500 legal-sized trout Tuesday, and that should jump-start fishing at the pond. Try for them off the grassy area (that's where they were stocked) with bobbers and worms or PowerBait. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. The $4 day-use or $30 year-long parking fees won't be enforced until April 1.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue has been in decent shape for winter steelhead fishing but flows are climbing again today, as are flows in the middle Rogue, and flows in the lower Rogue aren't forecast to drop until Saturday.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue, and while flow projections don't bode well for today, look for conditions and winter steelhead catches to improve as the flows ebb. Flows Wednesday were at 4,113 cubic feet per second at Dodge Bridge, and it's forecast to rise today and peak late today around 5,800 cfs. As it drops Saturday and Sunday, fishing with plugs along the inside turns of gravel bars and tailouts will be good for intercepting migrating winter steelhead. Fish Mag Lip 3.0s and 3.5s. The rattle helps in dirty water.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were at 5,730 cfs Wednesday and forecast to hit around 8,100 cfs late tonight or early Saturday morning. This stretch, like farther upstream, will fish decently for winter steelhead early next week as flows drop. Fishing for winter steelhead could be good upstream of the mouth of Bear Creek, where the flows are very turbid.

Cole Rivers Hatchery techs counted nine summer steelhead Tuesday, pushing the total to date to 4,031 fish. They also counted 26 fresh winter steelhead, boosting the count so far to 341. The 10-year running average for this week is 236 winter steelhead. No spring chinook have appeared yet at the hatchery.

Flows at Grants Pass Wednesday were at almost 7,500 cfs and forecast to be on the rise today. As flows drop and clear, conditions should be good for some decent driftboat fishing with a mix of plugs, worms and watermelon corkies, and roe for winter steelhead. Bankies will also be in the mix, with side-planing a solid option in the Rand area. Lots of halfpounders have been getting caught, but they will be heading downstream very soon. Flows are forecast to be up Saturday and peak at about 10,000 cfs.

In the lower Rogue, fishing has been something of a bust so far for early spring chinook, with no verified catches of a hatchery chinook and rumors of just a handful of wild springers that now must be released unharmed river-wide. Plunkers are getting a few decent late-run winter steelhead, but that will be on hold until flows drop. Flows at Agness were at 16,800 cfs Wednesday and forecast to increase Saturday and peak late Saturday or early Sunday at about 19,000 cfs. Expect more spring chinook to get caught in the lower Rogue next week.

APPLEGATE: The river was in decent fishing shape heading into the final three weekends of open steelhead fishing here. Flows out of the reservoir were dropped Wednesday to 546 cfs and were scheduled to hold for the immediate future. Flows at the town of Applegate were down to 950 cfs Wednesday, and that's the best they've been since the winter steelhead first showed up. That's a good level for pitching spinners and spoons as well as side-drifting worms and corkies or jigs under bobbers. Another 54 fresh winter steelhead were captured this week at the trap at the base of Applegate Dam, boosting the capture to 60 so far. That's a bit off the 10-year average of 75 for this week. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

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