Fishing Report: Friday, Feb. 16

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Forecasts today call for winds up to 25 knots but backing down to 15 knots near Brookings. The forecast also calls for 4-foot wind waves with a 6-foot northwest swell. Saturday looks a little better, with 15-knot winds dying down to 5 knots by the afternoon and wind waves of 3 feet but rain. Sunday things start kicking up again with winds to 15 knots and wind waves building to 14 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 on days when anglers can get out, particularly out of Brookings.

Surfperch fishing could be rough thanks to too many straight days of wind and beach surf. Wait for the surf to die down a few days to give the perch a chance to make their way into range of surf casters.

Crabbing is open in the ocean coast-wide.

No minus tides will be around next week for clammers. The recreational harvest 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 larger stocked rainbow trout as well as fingerlings stocked there earlier. The lake has been rising quickly and is up to 67 percent full. Fishing pressure is light, and the water is murky. Fish PowerBait or worms under bobbers 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 light and water levels are rising now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in reservoir-filling mode. The lake was up Thursday by almost 5 feet from last week. However, the only boat access remains the low-water launch at French Gulch. Fish off the bank near French Gulch or where Carberry Creek flows into the reservoir for rainbow trout. PowerBait is out-fishing other offerings.

DIAMOND: Fishing remains very good for those fishing PowerBait at the lake's north side.The lake is ice-free, and the north boat ramp is open. The water is very cold, so trolling for trout is slow. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 46 percent full and rising slowly. Fishing pressure is light. The most interest is among bass anglers on warm days slowly working crankbaits near rocky areas. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours. Some holdover trout are available.

EXPO: Some of the 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 150 18-inchers that were stocked just before Christmas remain for anglers willing to pay the $4 day-use parking feet off Gate 5. Casting small spinners or unweighted worms has been effective.

FISH: The lake is ice-free, and some bank fishing is happening around the Forest Service boat ramp, but pressure and catches continue to be light. Cast bait into open water for rainbow trout. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Sno-park permits are required. The lake was listed at 72 percent full Thursday and holding steady.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is ice-free but access is poor. The lake dropped 2 percent this past week to 64 percent full. Fishing for rainbow trout should be good in open water for bank anglers. The marina is closed.

HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area. The lake has held steady this past week at 45 percent full. Any fishing is off the bank.

LOST CREEK: Flows out of Lost Creek were holding steady Thursday at 1,200 cfs, as it has for nearly three weeks as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to capture as much runoff as possible amid drought-like snowpack conditions. The lake has risen less than 4 feet the past week and is now just under the 1,834-foot elevation. The few anglers on the lake are finding trout by trolling green Wedding Ring lures 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.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is ice-free and the Forest Service boat ramp at Rainbow Bay is open and usable. Boat anglers are finding mostly yellow perch and no kokanee, which likely are in the middle of the lake and deep.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Despite low water, catches of winter steelhead have picked up in the middle Rogue, while the upper Rogue is awash with spawned-out summer steelhead making their way downriver, and the lower Rogue is a dud — though rumors of the first spring chinook salmon sighting is encouraging.

That makes the middle Rogue the best bet, and for the first time this winter it's for a good reason. Winter steelhead fishing is consistently pretty good from the town of Rogue River down to Robertson Bridge, primarily for boat anglers fishing with MagLip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with the gold and black working best. A few bank anglers have hit winter steelhead in Grants Pass on worms and watermelon corkies. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 1,664 cfs and forecast to bump up some late Sunday after rain Saturday and a mix of rain and snow Sunday and Monday. The schools of halfpounders that have entertained boat anglers in recent weeks remain below Ennis Riffle. Hatchery halfpounders under 16 inches can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. All wild halfpounders must be released unharmed. Anglers can keep one wild winter steelhead over 24 inches a day as part of the two-fish daily limit.

In the upper Rogue, winter steelhead movement has been very slow, with most of the action coming on waves of spawned-out summer steelhead. That includes many hatchery females stripped of eggs at Cole Rivers Hatchery and released. Just one more winter steelhead and 38 more summer steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery this past week. That makes the winter steelhead count to date eight. The 10-year running average for this week is 82 fish. Last year, 181 winter steelhead had been counted at the hatchery by this time. That shows the difference between a rainy early winter and a dry, cold one. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,286 cfs, lower than what they are during a dry October. Flows at Gold Ray were under 1,560 cfs. Despite cold water conditions, the steelhead that are biting are hitting a mix of roe, worms and corkies and smaller plugs fished in pockets and deeper glides.

In the lower Rogue, low and clear water conditions have hamstrung bank and boat anglers. Flows at Agness were down to 2,647 cfs Thursday and dropping. However, one spring chinook was reportedly seen rolling in a lower river riffle. No confirmed catch of the first springer, however, has been reported.

APPLEGATE: Low flows have slowed winter steelhead movement, and fishing has been largely relegated to spinners fished in deeper holes near the bottom. Flows at the town of Applegate were down to 219 cfs and dropping. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has slowed amid very low, clear and cold flows. Flows were down to 1,038 cfs Thursday.

ELK: The river was very low and clear, with little or no winter steelhead angling.

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