COASTWIDE: Today's forecast calls for 5-knot winds and swells up to 12 feet during the day, but petering down to 7 feet by evening. Saturday winds will kick up to 15 knots with swells to 9 feet, with similar conditions expected Sunday.
Bottomfishers are back in business coast-wide with the new five-fish marine aggregate rockfish daily limit. Lingcod fishing is also in full swing, with some good early catches this week amid very calm seas. Anglers can fish all depths through March, but look for most catches close to shore, off kelp beds or on near-shore reefs.
Anglers may also still 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, so this will be an attractive alternative for bottomfishers.
Surfperch fishing is hit-and-miss during winter months, with catches best when a string of calm days help the perch move closer to shore.
Crabbing is open in the ocean and estuaries from Cape Blanco near Port Orford to the Washington border after tests show domoic levels in Dungeness there are under alert levels. However, south coast beaches from Cape Blanco to the California border are closed because domoic levels are above closure levels.
The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed from Cascade Head to Winchester Bay and from Coos bay to the California border due to domoic acid, including all beaches and bays. Some evening minus tides are beginning Tuesday, but be careful digging in the dark, especially on open beaches during higher surf conditions. The recreational harvest of mussels is open along the entire coast. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: Fishing has been good for recently stocked rainbow trout, which do well here in the winter but can't make it through hot summers, so now is the time to fish here. The lake is up a hair 26 percent full. Fishing pressure is light. 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, with water levels extremely low. However, Forest Service recreation staff have cleared some of the mud at the low-water ramp in French Gulch so it could be usable depending upon the size of the boat and truck. Bank fishing has been good for those trying near the dam or off points. Outflows have remained steady at 150 cubic feet per second. Try still-fishing with small bits of PowerBait and very light weight off the bank in the French Gulch area.
DIAMOND: Heavy Thursday rains were weakening already thin ice that is not safe for anglers. Some steady cold, dry weather will be needed to jump-start the ice-fishing season. When ice fishing returns, small jigs, PowerBait and worms all work very well. All tiger and brown trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 37 percent full and rising fairly quickly in the past week. Fishing pressure is light, and some midday bass fishing has been very good in what's left of the pool near the bottom of the reservoir after a string of warmer days. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours. Some holdover trout are available.
EXPO: Another 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 150 18-inchers were stocked just before Christmas, and anglers are still finding them. Worms and PowerBait are the staples. There is a $4 day-use fee to park there off Gate 5.
FISH: The ice is not safe for angling. When it it, fishing for rainbow trout should be good with worms and jigs near the Forest Service ramp. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Sno-Park permits are required.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: Trout anglers are waiting for the ice to develop for ice fishing, which should be good once the ice thickens thanks to good stocking levels and decent numbers of holdover trout. The marina is closed. The lake was listed at 68 percent full, very high for this time of year.
HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area. The lake is holding steady at 44 percent full. Any fishing now is off the bank in ice-free areas.
LOST CREEK: Flows out of Lost Creek were holding steady Thursday at 1,400 cfs, allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to slowly begin filling the reservoir, which was at 1,816 feet above sea level Thursday. The few anglers on the lake are finding trout by trolling near the dam and around the island off the Takelma boat ramp.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice is not safe for angling. When it improves, ice-fishing for perch and rainbow trout should be good right off the resort with worms and small jigs.
ROGUE: Rains are going to cause flows to rise today and Saturday in the middle and upper Rogue, bringing better but not ideal conditions for late-run summer steelhead in the upper Rogue and early winter steelhead in the middle Rogue. The lower Rogue remains decent for a mix of winter steelhead and halfpounders in the Agness area, but flow conditions need to improve for bank angling to improve.
That makes the middle Rogue the best bet. While some winter steelhead have been caught recently, most of the catches in the Galice area are halfpounders. A fair number of them are fin-clipped hatchery halfpounders, and anglers can keep five of them a day as a legal trout limit. Side-drifting worms and corkies has been most effective, while plugs will be better for winter steelhead if flows lure more fresh fish into the area. Flows at Grants Pass were up slightly to 2,250 cfs Thursday and forecast to eclipse 3,000 some time Saturday before dropping. The next really good flows are predicted to come late next week.
In the upper Rogue, catches of fresh fish are few and far between. This is the 'tweener time in the upper Rogue as summer steelhead fishing is basically over and not enough flows have come to entice winter steelhead into the Shady Cove area. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a skimpy 1,671 cfs, thanks largely to the 1,400 cfs releases from Lost Creek Lake. The old Gold Ray Dam site was at 2,269 cfs Thursday and forecast to bump up to more than 3,000 late today or early Saturday.
All wild coho must be released, but that's rarely an issue. Hatchery coho are notoriously poor biters and are usually poor eating quality when caught in the upper Rogue.
In the lower Rogue, a few winter steelhead have been caught by bank and boat anglers recently but effort and success have been light. Flows at Agness were about 3,700 cfs, just barely good enough to support plunkers using small plugs like Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5.
APPLEGATE: Some early winter steelhead were caught recently at Fish Hatchery Park as well as at Turtle Lane, so a few are present in the lower river. Most of the fish are spawned-out summer steelhead and should carefully be released. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device. Side-drifting worms and corkies or casting spinners or spoons will be best. Fly-fishing with egg flies can also be good, but the cold water has the steelhead a bit less active than ideal.
CHETCO: Flows were more than 3,000 cfs and rising Thursday and forecast to peak and start to drop later tonight, so look for a very productive weekend for winter steelhead side-drifting roe or using plugs. Steelhead are well dispersed.
ELK: Look for good winter steelhead fishing this weekend as water conditions pull into fishing shape. Flows at the hatchery were at 4 feet and emerald green. That's a tad low but the color should help create good conditions for side-drifting roe or fishing plugs from driftboats.