COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for quite the bouncing around of conditions this weekend, with winds up to 20 knots and wind waves around 6 feet today and Saturday, followed by winds Sunday starting at 25 knots but ebbing to 15 knots with 4-foot wind waves. That makes Sunday by far the best opportunity of the weekend.
Very good to excellent lingcod and black rockfish catches have occurred recently out of Brookings when the weather has allowed. Blue rockfish catches have been good to very good.
Rockfish anglers have new bag limits for 2017. Canary rockfish are part of the seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish as part of that seven-fish aggregate limit. Also, there's a new, combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are off-limits.
Rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device and use it when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper, but that does not affect rockfish anglers, who must currently stay inside the 30-fathom line.
Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast but it's slow.
Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are closed south of Cape Arago near Charleston. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake is full. Spring fishing has been pretty good for crappie, yellow perch and the occasional bass. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows picked up after 10,000 legal-sized rainbows and 800 trophy trout were added at the Hart-Tish Park and Copper ramps late last month. Thanks to rain and snowmelt, the lake is less than 4 feet from full. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing about 75 cfs more water than it is capturing, so levels will rise start to drop this weekend if the trend continues. Bank fishing with worms under bobbers near the release sites will be a good idea. Trollers might try a Wedding Ring lure spiced with half a worm. Fishing off the bank higher up in the reservoir has been good at times for those using PowerBait or worms under bobbers with varying leader lengths. The French Gulch ramp also is open.
DIAMOND: The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well for rainbows in the shallows at the south end and near the shrimp beds. PowerBait floated off the bottom is out-fishing worms under bobbers, and the cold water makes trolling a slow option. Fish often bite lightly in cold water, so be attentive.
EMIGRANT: Another 1,000 legal-sized rainbows were released two weeks ago at the county boat ramp to go with 1,000 legals released there a month ago. The lake was listed Thursday as full. Spring bass fishing is picking up for those casting plastic worms or slowly worked crankbaits in the shallower water around willows and other structure. Look for that to improve with warming temperatures. Look for bass catches to improve in the Emigrant Arm amid next week's hot weather.
FISH: This week saw another big infusion of rainbows, with 3,500 legal-sized trout and 500 "pounders" released this week to go along with the 5,000 legal-sized rainbows stocked earlier this month. The fish have spread out, but many remain in the cove near the Forest Service ramp, where Sno-Park permits are no longer required. Catches have been best with PowerBait, as well as leeches and woolly bugger flies. The lake was up a bit this week to 76 percent full, and fishing is good around the shallows as trout cruise for early insects. Tiger trout must be released unharmed.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake received its first complement of rainbows of the season earlier this month, and the fish have been moving about the lake. Fishing has been good for both trollers and still fishers with PowerBait in water 8 to 12 feet deep. The far upper flats, normally just a meadow in most years, are also holding fish feeding on insects. The resort is open and operating, and boat rentals are available. Early-season anglers have done well trolling out of the Willow Point boat ramp, but also expect good bank angling in the shallows around the resort. On warmer days, troll the shallows with Wedding Rings and worms and other lures.
HYATT: The lake is ice-free and it got its first batch of fresh trout of the season when 5,100 legal-sized rainbows were released earlier this month. The water is cold, so still-fishing with PowerBait is a good bet. Bass are starting to get active, as well. The lake is down a hair to 62 percent full and it will stay about that level for the foreseeable future in preparation for some improvements to Hyatt Dam this summer.
LOST CREEK: The lake got 800 trophy trout split last week between the Takelma and marina ramps, as well as 20,000 legals last month. The lake level is holding at a little more than a foot under full as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers juggles releases to keep the lake under full while passing most, if not all, of the inflow. Lots of debris in the lake and heavy inflow continues to push anglers down to the dam area, where trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Fishing is picking up for rainbows in the shallows with bait or lures. The resort is open.
WILLOW: The lake got 4,000 legal-sized rainbows last month at the county boat ramp. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before they disperse.
EXPO: The pond received 1,500 legal-sized trout two weeks ago to go with 3,000 legal-sized rainbows stocked there earlier this spring. Fishing is best with worms and bobbers or Panther Martin lures. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are required.
MEDCO POND: The pond received 2,000 legal-sized rainbows this week to go with 2,000 legals released the first week of May. Fishing is good for them with PowerBait or worms under bobbers.
ROGUE: Water flows are high, and that continues to slow the migration of spring chinook salmon river-wide, with even lower Rogue fishing slow as anglers anxiously await a decent showing of the most popular anadromous fish in the Rogue.
The lower Rogue is still the best bet for at least the weekend, but look for anglers to start showing more interest in the upper Rogue despite high flows.
In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing tailed off a bit this week, but good conditions have springers milling around from the top of tidewater up to Agness. Flows at Agness Thursday were just above 8,300 cfs and set to taper down slightly through the weekend. Bankies fishing Brad's cut-plug herring lures are using 10 ounces or more of lead to keep their bait swimming in deeper water, while boat anglers are running into a few fish a day from the top of tide to the Quosatana Creek area, but they're spending a lot of time looking for fish. About 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 springers are hatchery fish that can be kept.
In the upper Rogue, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept the outflow around 3,700 cfs, but warmer water will be needed to get some springers on the move. Focus on migration lanes and inside turns of gravel bars or tailouts to intercept springers as they move upstream. Kwikfish and Mag Lip lures are best, with chartreuse and pink combinations good bets. Sometimes it's best to find a nice lane and hunker down there, hoping the springers come to you. Effort has been light.
The Hatchery Hole is closed for the season because state fish biologists are concerned that Cole Rivers Hatchery runs the risk of not meeting spring chinook production goals for the second straight year. Fishing is allowed from the old deadline on down, which is also the area where boat fishing begins.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were a feisty 4,300 cfs Thursday, a pretty consistent level this past week. But the water is clear. Flows at the former Gold Ray Dam site were close to 5,300 cfs. The trick is to find some slower water to fish, and that means most of the traditional holes aren't that good in these conditions — too much hydraulics in holes for fish to hold there. Bank fishing is best at Hayes Falls.
Just three more spring chinook showed up this past week at Cole Rivers Hatchery, boosting the early return to just six chinook. That's the lowest at this time in the run since 2008.
The Grants Pass area is very slow for spring chinook, and a few anglers are hiking into Rainie Falls for spring chinook, but they're not talking.
Surfperch fishing off the Rogue sand spit has been good when the surf cooperates.
APPLEGATE: The river is closed to all angling.
CHETCO: The river is closed to all angling.