ROGUE Spring chinook fishing has slowed dramatically since the low returns of wild springers prompted a river-wide ban on wild spring chinook harvest, though anglers can still target fin-clipped hatchery chinook. That should have slowed springer effort river-wide beginning Thursday, when the ban went into place. The lower Rogue reopens to wild chinook harvest beginning July 13, when anglers will be targeting the plentiful wild fall chinook as they start entering the Rogue River bay.
The upper Rogue has been hit and miss for spring chinook, and catches split by bankies hitting about as many wild springers are they are hatchery ones. The best way to avoid wild salmon is to target migration lanes instead of deep holes, where the wild salmon hold waiting to spawn. Hatchery fish are more inclined to be on the move, where you can hit them on Kwikfish, roe or sandshrimp. That also makes boat-fishing a far better way to increase your hatchery chinook catches.
The count through Tuesday was 7,083 chinook and 233 summer steelhead over Gold Ray Dam near Gold Hill. Obviously, the chinook count is terrible and the summer steelhead count is OK for this time of year. The general rule of thumb is to start targeting summer steelhead in the evenings along the upper Rogue once the count hits 500 adults at Gold Ray Dam.
The middle Rogue remains poor for spring chinook, with a few bankies hitting fish at Weasku Inn, Hayes Falls and Ennis Riffle, but otherwise catches are low and effort is light.
The lower Rogue remains a spring chinook disappointment, with guides anchoring in their best slots and cumulatively catching 4-5 adults a day. The lower Rogue remains best for sea-run cutthroat trout, which can be caught on spinners and flies near the mouth of Indian Creek and a few other places just upstream of tidewater. Some summer steelhead and a few early halfpounders are also getting caught in the lower Rogue, but catches and effort still remain somewhat light for now.
Flows have hung steady. The flows out of Lost Creek Lake, which is now more than 14 feet down from full, was just over 2,300 cubic feet per second of 51-degree water. The lake is dropping about four feet a week. For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.
UMPQUA The warming water has caused a nasty algae outbreak on the main-stem and lower South Umpqua, which has really made it difficult to fish for shad. Shad remain abundant in the main-stem, but the algae makes it tough to get a good drift.
The lower South Umpqua is still good for smallmouth, but the algae also is hurting that. Top-water baits sometimes can work longer before the hooks grab a piece of algae.
In the lower North Umpqua, spring chinook and summer steelhead numbers crossing at Winchester Dam have picked up. Fishing, however, remains sporadic, with the Rock Creek area best for both species.
UMPQUA Shad fishing has been good on the Coquille with late afternoons and into the evening the best time. The dock at Sturdivant Park in Coquille is a good spot for bank fishers. Striped bass are available in the Coquille estuary, and anglers usually do better fishing after dark. Sand shrimp and large plugs that imitate small fish can be effective with most fishing taking place up to Arago.
COOS A few shad have been picked up but fishing has been slow so far. Anglers should not give up as shad fishing can turn on fast. Most shad fishing takes place on the lower Coos and Millicoma rivers where anglers troll or cast lead-headed shad darts. Sunny afternoons are often the best time to catch shad.
HOWARD PRAIRIE Conditions look very promising for the trout derby planned Saturday at Howard Prairie Resort. Bait fishermen are doing best in about 15 feet of water using chartreuse PowerBait. Orange and rainbow PowerBaits are good backups and changes of pace. Just south of the resort jetty, Redrock and Buck Island have been the best. Bass are starting to dominate the catch in the north end, but there are some big cruising trout there.
Trollers should still concentrate in the top 15 feet of water and far behind the boat. The east and west sides of the lake seem equally productive. Red-dot Frog Needlefish are a lake favorite, as is a Wedding Ring with one-third of a night crawler on the hook as a trailer.
Bass fishing has picked up with the warmer weather, and catches were good on red lures.
HYATT Bass fishing remains very good near the Bureau of Land Management campground. Small red lures and flies all work. Trout fishing has improved for trollers in the evenings. Catches include hold-over trout from last year, some legal-sized fish stocked this year and fingerlings added to the mix last month. The fingerlings arent big enough to be kept yet. The limit is five trout over 8 inches a day, but only one of those can be more than 20 inches.
LOST CREEK A toxic algae outbreak has health officials warning people, and pets to avoid contact with the lakes water until further notice. That includes a recommendation for catch-and-release fishing only. The warnings are advisory only and not mandatory. The lakes surface temperature has jumped to 69 degrees and that more than favors bass over trout. The smallmouth bite has picked up this past week along the edges of the lake and in sunny coves, but thats also where the highest concentrations of toxic algae are present. The lake is dropping about 4 feet a week.
EMIGRANT Warmwater species remain the best of show at Emigrant, where catches are very good day-long for bass, perch, sunfish and crappie. The south ends willows are the still best. Trout fishing has been fair to good, with trout caught mostly deep and off rocky points. Also look for cold-water creeks flowing in. Trout throughout the summer will be staging in there looking for cooler environs.
A health advisory has been issued about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
APPLEGATE Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has held on in the middle and lower sections of the lake, while a mix of trout and bass catches remain good in the Seattle Bar area. The lake is now almost 4 feet from full, so look for Seattle Bar fishing to drop weekly.
Anglers can keep up to five rainbow trout or stocked salmon a day, but only one fish can be more than 20 inches long. Also, no bass between 12 and 15 inches can be kept, and only one bass larger than 15 inches can be kept.
DIAMOND The stocked rainbow trout are now spreading out very well at the lake, where freshwater shrimp beds along the west side are attracting plenty of trout. Also, a new mayfly hatch has been seen, another good indication that insect life has improved since last years rotenone treatment. Visibility remains very good, so evening trolling and day-time still fishing are best. The lake has been stocked with trout ranging from legal-sized and fingerlings to 6-plus pounders.
WILLOW Angling for bass and other warmwater fish is good. The boat ramp and store are open.
FISH An algae bloom is starting to reduce visibility in the lake, and that generally harms trolling more than still-fishing for rainbow trout. Still-fishing with worms or chartreuse PowerBait is best.
EXPO POND Catches of bluegill and small bass are good on jigs, worms under bobbers and small flies or lures.
MEDCO POND The pond was stocked with trout earlier this month, and catches of both trout and bass remain decent. Bass catches are out-numbering trout catches from the bank.
LAKE of the woods The lake received another complement of legal-sized and trophy rainbow trout. Catches for these are best by boaters in the middle of the lake still-fishing with either PowerBait or worms. Trolling small Needlefish or the old Midge Wobbler is good in evenings. Also, good catches of smallmouth bass are present, while fair to occasionally good fishing available for land-locked coho (which are similar to kokanee) and brown trout. Lots of perch are present, but they mostly are smallish.
SELMAC Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and bullheads has been good. Also still-fishing is good for recently stocked legal-sized trout. Chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait has worked best for trout, while jigs and grubs are best for bass.
KLAMATH/ AGENCY LAKES Fishing for large Klamath trout has improved throughout the lake during as warming temperatures have gotten fish moving toward the mouths of the Wood and Williamson rivers as well as springs near Rocky Point.
The ocean outside of Brookings and Gold Beach were in great shape this week heading into Saturdays opening of the season for fin-clipped coho. The ocean outside both ports was awash in coho recently, but expect to catch a lot of wild coho that must be released unharmed. Its best to release them using rubber-mesh nets and keeping them in the water as much as possible. Chinook season remains open, and catches are improving. Bottomfishing remains good, as does surf perch off Winchuck Beach and at the Rogue River mouth.
The entire Oregon coast is now open for razor clams, bay clams and mussels. A good series of low tides this weekend should make razor clamming fair in Curry County. Before doing any clamming, check for any updated health advisories by calling the Oregon Department of Agricultures shellfish line at 800-448-2474. For more information about razor clams and current status of particular areas see the ODFW razor clam web page at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/razorclams.
JACKSON Most game bird and big game seasons are closed. An exception is the extended cougar-hunting season, designed to address high levels of damage complaints and damage-related cougar mortality, which is open in portions of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties and along the south coast. Visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/big_game/cougar/ for more information, including the latest report on cougar mortalities and any quotas reached.
GENERAL The Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide at www.oregoncoastbirding.com is a Web site that highlights great birding opportunities all along the Oregon coast. Its divided into sections of coastline, and the north coast is only a click away from the main home page. Links to checklists and sponsors can be found on the home page as well.