Fishing Report: Aug. 23, 2013

COASTWIDE - Pretty mellow winds and decent seas are forecast into early next week on the south coast, which should make this second-to-last weekend of summer a good one for salmon and bottomfishers.

Shellfishers will find a decent minus tide this morning, the last of a good set of tides that have helped clammers this past week. Mussel harvest from the California border north to Cape Arago near Coos Bay remains closed.

Salmon fishing has been very good out of south coast ports when anglers have been able to get out. Lingcod and bottomfish catches have been very good coastwide. Anglers must stay within the 30-fathom line.

The only halibut fishing across the vast majority of Oregon remains south of Humbug Mountain for Southern Oregon ports, where activity has been somewhat light except for some halibut fishing out of Brookings.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Cabezon may be kept, with a limit of one per day at least 15 inches long as part of that seven-fish aggregate. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

It should be another decent weekend for bay crabbing, and crabs are starting to fill out.

Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended unless only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.

BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing remains very good for anglers when they are able to beat the winds and hit the water. Catches have been best for anglers trolling anchovies with hoochies about 30 to 40 feet down in 150 feet or so of water within a few miles of the whistle buoy. Most of the chinook are in the 15- to 17-pound range, but there have been plenty of 30-plus pounders in the mix.

Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good. Anglers should release large female lingcod to help recruitment.

Surfperch fishing has been on-again, off-again at Winchuck Beach depending on the winds.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has been excellent from the sand spit off the bay's south jetty. Catch them on mussels, bright flies, sand shrimp or fake scented sandshrimp. Bottomfishing for black rockfish and lingcod remains very good outside of Gold Beach when anglers can get out. Bay fishing for fall chinook really picked up this week.

AGATE - Fishing for bass and crappie has been fair. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked well, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows. Bass are biting plastic worms and grubs. The lake is down to one-third full, but this week's rains should reverse, at least temporarily, the rapid drop. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake got no new fresh fish this month, but a few anglers are still doing well for stocked trout higher in the lake and near the Copper ramp. Catch them by trolling Wedding Rings with worms or use PowerBait off the bank. Evenings are best. Trout fishing in the Seattle Bar area is a no-go with the lake down to 38 feet from full and dropping. Bass fishing has been very good off points and in coves.

DIAMOND - The lake's post-rotenone record for the heaviest trout was broken this week when a 12.1-pounder was pulled from the middle of the lake by an angler fishing with orange PowerBait. That has certainly jump-started interest in the lake again after the standard mid-August lull in action here. Some algae growth is starting to form on the lake, but recent tests showed it is not toxic. Most of the action remains on PowerBait in water 35 to 40 feet deep. Trolling has slowed with the midsummer heat. Fly-fishing has been fair on chironomids and woolly buggers. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are 9 to 10 inches. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be more than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been very good in the evenings off rocky points and near submerged willows. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is down to 41 percent full. Trout are holding off the mouth of Emigrant Creek and can be caught there on worms and woolly bugger flies.

FISH - Fishing for rainbow trout is fair amid a quickly dropping reservoir, which is down to 27 percent full. For trout, mornings and evenings are best in the deeper recesses of the lake. Some of last year's tiger trout are as long as 12 inches, but they must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Early-morning fishing is the best, with the action dying off dramatically during the day and kicking back in around dusk. No new trout have been stocked recently. Air quality has been very good. Anchoring in deep water and fishing PowerBait has been best, while trollers have worked the middle of the lake with some success. Bass fishing has been very good regardless of what bassers throw at them, but white plastic worms and topwater baits have been better choices. Largemouth are hitting a variety of crankbaits and plastic worms.

HYATT - The BLM boat ramps are open, and fishing is fair with PowerBait near the dam, around the Orchard and in the upper stretches of the lake. Trolling the old creek channel near the lake's western edge can be good, especially in the evenings. Catches have been light, but the percentage of trout 16 to 20 inches long is high.

LOST CREEK - Trout fishing is best above Peyton Bridge, where the water temperatures are cooler. Water quality remains good, but smoke levels have been bad at times this past week. Smallmouth bass are hitting plastic worms and crankbaits off rocky points, primarily in the mornings and evenings off points. Some nice largemouth have been taken of late around submerged trees and logs, but they are far outnumbered by smallmouth. The lake is down to 40 feet from full, and the surface temperature is back up to 75 degrees, but look for that to fall.

WILLOW - Trolling for trout has been fair to good during early mornings and evenings. Crappie and other panfish are being caught consistently with worms under bobbers or jigs.

ROGUE - Fall chinook salmon have stretched through the middle Rogue and have reached Grants Pass in decent numbers, while the lower part of the upper Rogue continues to be a good show for a mix of fall chinook and summer steelhead. After a few weeks of doldrums, the lower Rogue Bay turned on Sunday and catches are averaging 60 to 80 fish a day.

That makes the best bet is the closest stretch of the Rogue to home because each one has plenty to offer.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain flat at 1,750 cubic feet per second, and that's helped both the steelhead and the chinook bite. For chinook, the open water extends from Dodge Bridge on down, with most of the driftboat action on the run from Dodge to TouVelle State Park, and for good reason. The bite has been good on both roe and Kwikfish, with some of the fish starting to get pretty dark and ready to spawn. Anglers can keep wild fish in that stretch now, as well.

More than 150 fresh summer steelhead reached Cole Rivers this past week, inching the count there to 764 fish so far — pretty good, but still well off last year's pace. Still, there are plenty for anglers to target on evening or morning trips from the bank or boats. The fish are biting worms, lures, plugs and flies, but the action has not been really intense yet. There is one more week for the all-gear approach to these steelhead before it's flies-only on the upper Rogue.

The steelhead mostly congregated in riffles 4 to 8 feet deep and deeper, so focus on good, churning water. Early steelhead are either first-time spawners 18 to 19 inches long or fatties 8 pounds and up. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

The lower Rogue bay really turned on for trollers Sunday, with some big fish in the mix. Jots Resort weighed in a 50-pounder earlier this week, and a few 40-pounders have been caught. Bay temperatures have increased, and that has helped the bite. The fish are moving in with the incoming tides, but most head straight upstream without holding in the bay. It's strictly a trolling show with anchovies, but a few anglers will drag copper-bladed or gold-bladed spinners. Halfpounder fishing is good at Huntley Park on days the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is not seining to count fish. Although halfpounder numbers are good, they seem to be moving upstream fairly quickly, and that bodes well for those who like fishing for them in the Agness area riffles.

The middle Rogue has seen a mix of fall chinook and summer steelhead, but catches have been real hit-or-miss for both. The canyon waters and the White Horse Park area have been fairly good for driftboat anglers, while bank anglers are doing OK at places like Finley Bend. The summer steelhead are scattered. Fly-fishing the lower ends of riffles around dusk is best as the fish move in for their sundown feed.

In the far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Lake, the regular stocking schedule for the summer is in place, and anglers are catching legal-sized trout daily.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for trout fishing. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target steelhead when they reach the river during trout season.

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