COASTWIDE: Coastal weather forecasts look decent for today, and then things will get rougher for those stalking lingcod and other bottomfish off the coast. The forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and swells starting at 5 feet and subsiding throughout the day. Saturday looks unpleasant, with winds building to 20 knots and swells increasing throughout the day to 9 feet. Sunday looks to sport winds up to 25 knots and wind waves to 8 feet.
The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Anglers are allowed to fish for midwater rockfish species outside 40 fathoms using 30-foot leaders and floats to stay off the bottom. The midwater species limit is 10 per day.
Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers can get out, particularly out of Brookings, and anglers this past week benefited from excellent ocean conditions.
Surfperch fishing has been solid more often than not off the Rogue River sand spit off the south jetty, as well as at Nesika Beach. Winchuck Beach has been very good for surfperch after two days of relatively calm surf. Fish with Berkley Gulp sand worms or sandshrimp.
Commercial and recreational crabbing is open coast-wide. However, ocean crabbing has slowed, as has dock crabbing in Charleston.
Midmorning minus tides run today through Tuesday, with today’s being the best for clammers. Razor clamming has been very good in the open stretch from the Columbia River to Cascade Head, including the clam-rich Clatsop County beaches. The rest of the coast is closed to razors because of elevated levels of domoic acid. Bay clamming and the recreational harvest of mussels is open along the entire coast, but that can change quickly, so check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before digging.
AGATE: The lake was stocked last month with 350 larger-sized rainbow trout to go along with trout stocked in early winter. Fishing for them has been decent with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. The lake is completely full now, but turbidity is a problem. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake is up another 8 feet from last week and is 16 feet from full. Look for a big boost in fishing success now that 10,000 legal-sized trout and 800 larger trout were stocked this past week. Most of the action has occurred around the French Gulch and Copper ramps. Slow trolling of Flatfish or Wedding Ring lures could be good, and still-fishing in the French Gulch cove with PowerBait should be good. The surface temperature has risen to the mid 40s.
DIAMOND: The lake is ice-free, and fishing has been very good for still-fishers and fly-fishers working the south side and the shrimp beds. The water is cold, so be mindful of light bites. Fish worms about 5 feet under bobbers and PowerBait off the bottom, as well as chironomid flies. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake’s water gauge was inoperable Thursday so its capacity was unavailable. However, the lake was stocked last week with 1,000 larger rainbow trout at the county boat ramp, and that’s where the action is for bait fishers using PowerBait or worms under bobbers. Trollers need to work very slowly. Bass fishing has been good on plastic worms and grubs fished slowly. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours.
EXPO: The pond was stocked last week with 1,500 legal-sized rainbows, and action should continue to be very good for them with worms, PowerBait and small spinners. There is a $4 day-use parking fee off Gate 5.
FISH: The lake will get 5,000 legal-sized rainbows stocked at the resort next week. Look for good fishing in the marina area with PowerBait, worms and small spinners. The lake is up slightly this past week and is now 80 percent full. A sno-park pass is needed to park at the Forest Service lot near the boat ramp through the end of the month.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is ice-free, and access is available at the Willow Point boat ramp when snow doesn’t deter access. The lake will be stocked next week with 7,500 legal-sized rainbows, and that should jump-start fishing and interest.
HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area until late next month, harming access and fishing interest. Those launching boats off the shore are doing well for rainbows in the Orchard area on PowerBait.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is ice-free, and fishing for rainbows and perch is improving. Brown trout fishing and kokanee catches have been low.
LOST CREEK: Another 15,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 800 larger trout were stocked this week and were split between both boat ramps. Most of the action is in the lower few hundred yards of the reservoir. Flows out of Lost Creek were decreased to 2,000 cubic feet per second Thursday as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to reduce the filling rate for the reservoir, which is expected to fill by the end of the month. The lake was up to 16 inches short of full pool Thursday. A big spike in inflows is expected through the weekend. Anglers have been finding trout by trolling near the dam and around the island off the Takelma boat ramp. Bank anglers using PowerBait at either side of the dam also are faring well.
ROGUE: A new batch of winter steelhead has reached the middle Rogue, while numbers are improving but still aren’t great in the upper Rogue. Spring chinook fishing has picked up in the Gold Beach area, but migration continues to be slow into the upper Rogue.
That leaves the middle Rogue as the best bet, with a new school of fish showing up this past weekend in the Galice area. Fishing has been good with roe, worms and plugs, with fishing best on cloudy days. Flows Thursday at Grants Pass were at a favorable 3,664 cfs and dropping slowly into next week with no new rain in the forecast. That’s good.
The Gold Hill-Rogue River area has seen a nice bite for winter steelhead this past week for those side-drifting roe or yarn flies from driftboats. A spring chinook that weighed at least 30 pounds was caught earlier this week at Hayes Falls, but not much other action has been reported.
In the upper Rogue, flows out of Lost Creek Lake were down to 2,000 cfs Thursday. Those flows should stay steady, and that will help the winter steelhead bite. After this past week’s rains, flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge were up to 2,587 cfs and forecast to drop slowly into next week. That should be good for winter steelheaders despite relatively low returns so far this season. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just a hair above 2,400 cfs Thursday before the increased flows reached there. Flows will peak there around 3,150 cfs Tuesday, and that’s good for winter steelhead. A few rumors of spring chinook getting caught in the upper Rogue remain just that. However, steelheaders report hooking large fish that break off and are never seen.
No fresh springers again this week in Cole Rivers Hatchery, so the count so far remains at one. Another 162 winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers this week, less than half the return of last week and still well below the 10-year average.
In the lower Rogue, a consistently good but not great spring chinook bite has occurred this week in the lower 15 miles of freshwater, with some guides limiting out. Flows Thursday at Agness were a steady 6,089 cfs and look to be dropping slightly daily into next week. Most of the action was on 6-inch anchovies behind a gold blade, but boat anglers found success on cloudy days with a brass blade. Bankies continue plunking with the Gray Ghost Spin-Glo (now actually named the Rogue), as well as flame-chartreuse and pink-pearl.
Anglers can now keep one wild winter steelhead longer than 24 inches river-wide, and no more than five per year.
APPLEGATE: The river is closed to all angling.
CHETCO: The river is closed to all angling.
ELK: The river is closed to all angling.