Fishing Report: Friday, Jan. 19

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Hazardous seas warnings are in effect until 4 p.m. Saturday, and that puts a serious damper on weekend bottomfishing off the couth coast. The forecast calls for 20-knot winds and 22-foot swells today, making this the first real coastal storm of 2018. Saturday's winds are forecast to build up to 25 knots with 9-foot wind waves and a 21-foot swell.

Bottomfishers are back in business coastwide with the new five-fish marine aggregate rockfish daily limit. Lingcod fishing is also in full swing, with some good early catches this week. 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 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, and fishing is not expected to be worthwhile this weekend.

Crabbing is open in the ocean and estuaries from Cape Blanco near Port Orford to the Washington border after tests showed domoic acid levels in Dungeness had dropped to safe 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 forecast Tuesday, but be careful digging in the dark, especially on open beaches during high surf conditions. 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 recently stocked rainbow trout. The lake was up a hair 27 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 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: The lake's ice has melted, the north boat ramp is open and fishing for rainbow trout has been very good under very unusual conditions. Fish worms under bobbers or PowerBait off the bottom.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 39 percent full and rising steadily over 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. 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 mostly melted and is not safe for angling. A few anglers are casting bait into open water for rainbow trout, and the action is slow. 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 does not look promising for the next few weeks. Fishing for rainbow trout should be good in open water for bank anglers. 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 1,818 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: About half the lake was ice-free Thursday. The resort has cancelled an ice-fishing clinic that was set for Feb. 10-11. Fish for perch and rainbow trout with worms or PowerBait near the resort and other open water.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Rains are going to cause flows to rise today and again early next week, which should jump-start winter steelhead fishing in the middle Rogue and perhaps bring the first bright fish of winter to the upper Rogue.

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. 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. Look for that to change with the uptick in flows today and throughout next week. Flows at Grants Pass were a paltry 2,135 cfs Thursday but they were forecast to climb to about 3,800 cfs today before dropping Saturday and Sunday. That bodes well for weekend anglers. After that, more rain will make the river fluctuate daily. Focus on fishing days when the water is dropping.

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 1,709 cfs, thanks largely to the 1,400 cfs releases from Lost Creek Lake. Flows are forecast to jump today to about 2,600 cfs, and the water clarity should still be good. Flows will drop and rise over 3,000 cfs early next week. Similar fluctuations are forecast for the old Gold Ray Dam site, where flows Thursday were at 2,244 cfs and forecast to rise to around 3,600 cfs today. These increases in flows should bring early winter steelhead into the lower section of the upper Rogue.

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 4,500 cfs Thursday but forecast to rise to 7,800 cfs later today. As the river falls, that should bring the bankies out with plunking rigs. Use Mag Lip 3.5s or K-11 Kwikfish.

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 be carefully 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 5,800 cfs and rising Thursday and forecast to rise today before dropping steadily through Sunday until more rain will likely blow the river out Monday. Large fluctuations in flows are forecast for all of next week.

ELK: Look for good winter steelhead fishing this weekend as water conditions pull into fishing shape. Flows at the hatchery were at 4.8 feet after 3 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. The murky green water was looking very fishable at the hatchery, but wait for the water to start dropping before looking for fresh winter steelhead with roe and plugs.

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