Fishing Report: April 27, 2012

COASTWIDE - Early-morning possibilities exist for ocean anglers who want to sneak out for some near-shore black rockfish and lingcod fishing before afternoon swells chase them back into the bays.

For clammers, a decent low tide is forecast for Saturday morning but no good minus tides for another week after that. A calmer ocean surf will allow some beach digging for clams Saturday, but most diggers will favor the bays.

The near-shore Pacific halibut season opens Tuesday, and look for a good number of boats working the 40-fathom line out of Newport and Garibaldi.

Ocean crabbing is open, but most crabbers will continue to work larger bays such as Coos Bay and Winchester Bay. Freshets have pushed crabs deeper into estuaries and out into the ocean.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, which includes one cabezon. Anglers are relegated to inside the 30-fathom line to protect yelloweye and canary rockfish. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

BROOKINGS - The chinook salmon season opens Tuesday, but not a lot of activity is expected because May is usually a poor time for chinook off Southern Oregon.

Bar conditions look decent again for Saturday and Sunday mornings, and that could give anglers with bigger boats a chance to get at the lingcod and black rockfish north of the north jetty. Rockfish catches have been slow but should pick up when the swells settle down for a while.

Surfperch fishing should be good again on calmer days at Winchuck Beach. Clam necks, mussels, prawns or bright flies all work well for surfperch.

COOS BAY - Heavy freshwater levels from this week's warm storm fronts have pushed the Dungeness deep in the bay and out into the ocean. Anglers will start looking for Pacific halibut beginning Tuesday. Clamming around Charleston and Clam Island should be good during Saturday morning's decent minus tide. The chinook salmon season in the ocean is open down to Humbug Mountain, but effort has been light. Trollers should stay relatively close to shore but deep, in 120-foot waters, with anchovies and hoochies.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing and crabbing has been slow thanks largely to turbid waters. Look for a good sturgeon bite to occur once flows subside. Rockfish catches have been good on the South Jetty.

AGATE - High turbidity levels have made for tough fishing despite the warming water and stocking of legal-sized trout. The lake is full. No fresh trout will be released this week. Fishing with worms beneath bobbers or PowerBait at the lower end of the lake is your best bet. Trolling will be poor until the water clears. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake received 12,000 legal-sized rainbow trout this week, and that should jump-start interest in fishing there once the storms abate. There also are plenty of holdover rainbow trout from last year's stocking. Angling pressure, however, is light. Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow, but continued warm weather should trigger an improved bite in the shallows, coves and along the dam.

The facilities at Hart-Tish Park are closed and the low-water ramp at French Gulch is open and usable, as is the Copper ramp. For spring trout fishing, troll Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms.

EMIGRANT - The lake recently received its second complement of 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout, and fishing for them has been good for bank and boat anglers along the lower section of the reservoir, particularly around the county park. Water clarity is very good for this time of year, but high inflows of cool water has slowed the warmwater fish bite. Bank anglers using chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait have fared very well for trout, while trollers using Little Cleo's or Triple Teasers also have caught fish. The lake was listed Thursday at 99 percent full. Bass and perch fishing is starting to pick up in the evenings after warm afternoons in the Songer Wayside area, particularly for anglers fishing around submerged willows and other woody structure.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake opens Saturday in excellent condition for trout fishing. The lake is ice-free and 85 percent full. Still-fishing will out-produce trolling. For boaters, anchor in water 10 to 14 feet deep and fish chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait. For bank anglers, the resort fishing jetty will be popular and productive. Most of the holdovers are at least 9 inches long thanks to the fall fingerling stocking strategy. The limit is five trout per day, with one over 20 inches.

HYATT - The lake is ice-free for Saturday's trout opener. Anchoring near the Orchard, the dam and the west bank in 8 to 12 feet of water should put you over some holdover rainbows. The cold water should make trolling a little tougher. The limit is five trout a day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be 20 inches or longer.

DIAMOND - The lake is mostly iced-over for Saturday's opener, and ice fishing should be very good in front of the resort. Fishing will be best with worms in the top five feet or so of water beneath the ice. PowerBait can be good, but it's sometimes tough to keep it from tangling when it floats back up while ice fishing straight down. Those who snowshoe or snowmobile to the mouths of Short Creek or Silent Creek should do well in the open water there with PowerBait or worms and bobbers.

EXPO - Fishing has been decent for stocked, legal-sized rainbow trout and bass. No fresh trout will be stocked until early May. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park off Peninger Road. Fish Panther Martin lures and other small lures. Worms a few feet under a bobber have worked well.

LOST CREEK - The lake received its second batch of 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout recently, and fishing for them has been best for bank anglers fishing various-colored PowerBait balls off the shore near the Takelma ramp. Most are fishing fairly close to shore. Trollers working the point off the marina also have done fairly well with Little Cleo's or Wedding Rings spiced with a piece of worm. Warming water conditions should improve bass fishing. Fish slowly presented crankbaits or worms or grubs near structure.

LAKE of the WOODS - Rain and warm weather has softened the ice, making ice fishing a poor choice. The resort is closed until Tuesday.

FISH - The ice has softened substantially. Ice fishing is not recommended.

WILLOW - The lake received another infusion of 4,500 legal-sized rainbows recently, and fishing for them is fairly good but best around the boat ramp. Effort is very light. Access to the county boat ramp is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the campgrounds remain closed.

MEDCO POND - The pond received its first complement of 2,000 legal-sized trout this week. Effort is light.

ROGUE - The Rogue is high and rising riverwide amid high outflows from reservoirs and increased tributary flows from rain and snowmelt that has everything but the lower Rogue and the Hatchery Hole virtually unfishable for at least a few days.

That makes the best bet the lower Rogue, where anglers have consistently run into waves of spring chinook salmon. Guide boats were still hitting a few springers, and bankies did well in afternoon bites up until Wednesday, but the rising water usually makes the springer bite sluggish. Anchovies with spinner blades have been the ticket for anchored boats and bankies fishing in five to eight feet of water. The catch is about 40 percent hatchery springers, which are the only ones that can be kept now.

The middle Rogue was too high for fishing, and much of the upper Rogue is roaring and being ignored by anglers thanks to the rising water levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing 5,500 cubic-feet-per-second of water from Lost Creek Lake Wednesday and another 1,850 cfs from Applegate Lake to make space available to capture runoff from this week's warm storms. The increased water has flushed many of the winter steelhead out of the system. Steelhead fishing had been very good up to earlier this week.

Some winter steelhead and a few spring chinook are being caught daily in the Hatchery Hole.

APPLEGATE - The river is closed to angling. On Wednesday, Cole Rivers Hatchery crews collected 632 winter steelhead that entered the trap in the previous week. No spring chinook had entered the trap as of Wednesday.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua was fishing fairly well for spring chinook in the Elkton area despite high flows and marginal water clarity. Most of the action is between Scottsburg and Scott Creek boat ramps by driftboaters fishing Kwikfish or roe-and-sandshrimp combinations.

The North Umpqua has been very good for late-run winter steelhead in the bait water, but no springers yet. The South Umpqua is fishing fair in the far upper reaches, and fishing closes Monday night.

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