COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for a mix of ocean conditions over Free Fishing weekend, starting today with winds growing from 5 knots to 15 knots to go along with 5-foot swells. Saturday looks a little rougher, with forecasts calling for 15-knot winds and 6-foot swells. Sunday will see a forecast that bumps winds to 20 knots but the swells cap out at 6 feet.
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. The South Coast halibut season is in swing with just a handful of fish caught. It remains open through Oct. 31.
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 been slow and a lot of males have recently molted. That makes for poor meat quality. The best ocean crabbing has been for those in more than 100 feet of water.
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 down to 98 percent full. 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: Another 14,000 legal-sized trout and 500 pound-size trout were stocked last week and they are well acclimated for what is expected to be a busy Free Fishing Weekend. Fish were released at Hart-Tish Park and French Gulch. Catches should be very good with worms and bobbers off the bank or trolling Tasmanian Devil or Wedding Ring lures off points near those ramps. The lake is loaded with floating woody debris, so be cautious and heed the 10-mph speed limit. The lake is a hair under full as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reduced releases to 1,100 cfs as inflows have dropped to less than that. That will stabilize the lake. 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 for now.
DIAMOND: The lake is 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, with corn yellow and salmon-egg peach the most popular flavors this past week. Trollers are starting to get some action on Needlefish and Flat Fish. The South Ramp remains closed because of snow. The North Ramp near the resort is open but busy to plan accordingly, especially for Free Fishing Weekend.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed at 98 percent full, and the warm weather plus trout stocking earlier last month mean the entire gamut of fishing opportunities await. 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 bass catches to improve in the Emigrant Arm amid this weekend's hot weather. Trolling for trout will be best in the lower section of the lake, but look for trout to work their way up toward cool creek mouths.
EXPO: The pond is set to get another complement of 1,000 legal-sized trout for Free Fishing Weekend, so expect some mid-day crowds. Fishing is best with worms and bobbers or Panther Martin lures. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are required, even during Free Fishing Weekend dates.
FISH: Last week saw another big infusion of rainbows, with 3,500 legal-sized trout released tjis past week to go along with 3,500 legal-sized rainbows and 500 pounders released in mid-May. The fish have spread out, but many remain in the cove near the Forest Service ramp. Catches have been best with PowerBait, as well as leeches and woolly bugger flies. The lake was up a bit this week to 80 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 5,100 legal-sized trout near the resort last week, and fishing is best from the resort north to the shallows. Fishing has been very good from Grizzly Campground on up into the flats at the lake's northwest side, with trolling and still fishing equally effective. Lots of bug activity in that area means fishing streamer flies such as leeches and thin woolly buggers should be good.
HYATT: The lake received 5,100 legal-sized rainbow trout stocked at the Bureau of Land Management ramp last week, and anglers will be catching them with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. Trolling will be good along the lake's old creek channel with Needlefish or Flat Fish lures. Bass are starting to get active, as well. The lake is holding steady at 61 percent full and it will stay about that level for the foreseeable future in preparation for some improvements to Hyatt Dam this summer. Warming water means the bass are getting very active. While numerous, however, they tend to be smallish.
LOST CREEK: The lake got 800 trophy trout split in mid-May between the Takelma and marina ramps, as well as 20,000 legals last month. The lake level is holding at a hair under full as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cut releases down to 3,800 cubic feet per second and that is a hair above in-flows. Debris levels aren't bad this year. Trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm near the dam. Wind-driving worms right where the river flows into the upper part of the lake is very good, but the waters above Peyton Bridge are a no-wake zone, so it takes a while to get there.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Fishing is picking up for rainbows in the shallows with bait or lures. The resort is open, and Free Fishing Weekend activities are planned for Saturday.
MEDCO POND: The pond received another 1,600 legal-sized rainbows this past week to go wiht the 4,000 legals stocked in May. Fishing is good for them with PowerBait or worms under bobbers.
WILLOW: The lake got another 3,000 legal-sized trout and 1,500 pound-sized trout last week. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before they disperse.
ROGUE: More manageable flows and more fish means for better spring chinook salmon fishing in the upper Rogue and ditto for the lower Rogue now that wild chinook can be kept, while the middle Rogue is dead for springers. That makes the best bet now the upper Rogue, but expect crowds because it's Free Fishing Weekend.
In the upper Rogue, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped the Lost Creek Lake outflow to 3,800 cubic feet per second after running more than 4,700 cfs earlier in the week to keep pace with a growing inflow to a reservoir just inches from full. However, out-flow is slightly ahead of inflow, and the outflow should hold steady through the weekend. That's stabilized fishing conditions throughout the upper Rogue, where traditional holes have been seeing too much current to hold springers. Fishing is best for bank and boat anglers in migration lanes, where the chances of catching a hatchery fish are better. Divers fished with roe and sandshrimp are good choices for boat anglers as well as Kwikfish and Mag Lip lures or back-bouncing either roe and sandshrimp and Spin-Glo's. Bank anglers are casting bead combinations.
The Hatchery Hole is closed for the season because state fish biologists are concerned that Cole Rivers Hatchery might not meet spring chinook production goals for the second straight year. Fishing is allowed from the old deadline on down, which is the area where boat fishing begins.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to a manageable 4,056 cfs Thursday, and that should hold through the weekend. Water color is very good. Flows at the former Gold Ray Dam site were at 4,638 cfs, and that's making more slower spots for migrating springers to rest.
Bank fishing is best at Hayes Falls.
Just five spring chinook showed up this week at Cole Rivers Hatchery, boosting the early return to just 36 chinook. That's even lower than 2008, another high-water year. No new summer steelhead were found in the hatchery collection pond this week.
The Grants Pass area is very slow for spring chinook. A few anglers are hiking into Rainie Falls for spring chinook and hitting a few fish a day.
Surfperch fishing off the Rogue sand spit has been good when the surf cooperates.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing, but all wild trout must be released unharmed. Most of the trout are actually steelhead pre-smolts.
CHETCO: The river is open for angling. Look for sea-run cutthroat trout in the estuary.