Fishing Report: Dec. 24, 2010

COASTWIDE - Hazardous seas warnings remain in effect through today, with gale-force winds expected coastwide. Conditions won't get much better through the Christmas weekend, as a storm front is forecast to move in from the west Sunday, bringing heavy rains and stiff winds. A few locals might find a morning to sneak out for some near-shore bottomfishing next week.

The marine aggregate limit remains seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Sport crabbers are back on the ocean now, but few are fishing for Dungeness because of rough weather. Ocean crabbing near river mouths can be very good in December, with good meat quality in local crab. Just be mindful of a rough ocean.

Bay crabbing should be good until Sunday when more fresh water starts flowing into bays from the latest storms. Rain pushes crabs down in estuaries and even out to sea in search of higher salinity. Deeper-water ports such as Coos Bay and Winchester Bay are better bets than smaller ones.

All shellfish fishing is open coast-wide, including the popular Clatsop County beaches. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. For more information and updated closure information, call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474.

BROOKINGS - Anglers will be stuck in the bay through the weekend, but some decent morning conditions could present themselves mid-week next week for black rockfish jigging. Glow-in-the-dark jigs are the most popular offering now.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow, but good catches of bottomfish have been reported off the south jetty.

CHARLESTON - Bay crabbing remains very good in the lower stretches of the estuary between storms. Crabbing slows amid freshets.

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows is slow, and angling effort has been very light at the lake. Trollers could do well. The lake has jumped to close to half-full now. No gas motors are allowed.

APPLEGATE - Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers are still doing fairly well when targeting the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. Not much effort has been observed recently, but sunny days should bring a few trollers to the lake. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable, but barely for larger boats. Car-toppers and shallow-launch boats are still fine. Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake is back up to 45-percent full after recent storms, and the rising water level has pushed down the trout bite. Poor weather has kept most trollers home, but sunny afternoons should lure a few bank anglers near the dam. Trollers should try red Tazmanian Devils or Wedding Ring lures spiked with a piece of worm.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

HYATT - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

DIAMOND - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

EXPO - The pond is open year-round and fishing remains good for large and trophy rainbow trout stocked there in late October. Chartreuse PowerBait or worms under bobbers are popular choices.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is frozen, but the ice isn't thick enough for ice fishing yet.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 15 to 17 inches remains very good near the dam, where most of the action is. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake is being drawn down for flood-control purposes. The Stewart State Park boat ramp is no longer usable and is closed. The Takelma Ramp will remain open throughout the winter.

The lake remains under a public-health advisory against water contact because of a blue-green algae bloom.

FISH - The lake is iced over but probably not thick enough to risk ice fishing yet.

WILLOW LAKE - The public-health advisory against water contact was lifted this week, but the boat ramp and county facilities remain closed.

FOURMILE - Winter conditions exist, and access is blocked at Highway 140 due to snow depth.

SELMAC - Trout are biting but effort remains quite light. Try worms, Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs floated off the bottom or PowerBait.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

MEDCO - Fishing for rainbow trout has been good off the bank with PowerBait, but effort is light.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue will pick up for late-run summer steelhead as water conditions improve today through Sunday and the river swells with a mix of late-run summers and "retread" recycled steelehead released Thursday at TouVelle State Park. The middle Rogue remains a bit turbid for steelhead fishing, and the lower Rogue has been a plunker's paradise of late for winter steelhead.

That makes the upper Rogue the valley angler's best bet until the latest storm front moves in Sunday and starts wreaking havoc on fishing conditions. Until then, life looks good on the upper Rogue, where out-flows from Lost Creek Lake will drop from 2,400 cubic feet per second Thursday to 1,300 cfs Saturday. That drop will get the summer steelhead excited and make for much better fishing conditions.

Cole Rivers Hatchery workers trucked 750 retreads to TouVelle for release Thursday, and those fish likely will drop down to the sewer hole and hang there for a day before jetting upstream. Catch these retreads on everything from K-11 Kwikfish or pink worms to nightcrawlers and roe. Fly-fishers will do best on streamer flies fished with heavy sink-tip or full sink lines.

From the Hatchery Hole to the Shady Cove boat ramp, anglers are fishing with worms or roe side-drifted from boats. From the Shady Cove ramp downstream to the former Gold Ray Dam site, anglers are relegated to artificial flies and lures but no bait, so most are fishing with plugs now.

The lower Rogue turned on for plunkers Wednesday and should remain very good through the weekend before higher flows wash everyone away from the river. Spin-Glo's in size 2 or 4 have been best, with most gravel bars from Agness downstream to Huntley Park producing decent catches of steelhead. Most are 6-8 pounders. They are close to shore.

Boat anglers fishing K-11 or K-13 Kwikfish should start doing well through the weekend, as well. Flows at Agness were at 12,700 cfs Thursday morning but dropping fast.

High flows running through the former Gold Ray Dam impoundment area have rendered fishing moot from the mouth of Bear Creek down past Grants Pass. Look for those conditions to improve as the flows ebb, but expect more turbid conditions throughout next week.

UMPQUA - The upper mainstem Umpqua was rough fishing this week amid high-water conditions. The lower Umpqua remains slow for sturgeon.

The South Umpqua was high, but anglers were catching the first winter steelhead of the season earlier this week in the Canyonville area.

COQUILLE - Winter steelhead were caught this week around the city of Coquille, and fishing should be excellent through Sunday morning throughout the system before rains swell the streams. Plugs are out-fishing roe for driftboaters.

The wild coho salmon season in the river is over.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were up and high, but anglers were catching chinook salmon and a few early winter steelhead Thursday. The Elk's flows were over 5 feet on Thursday, but the water was clear enough for good fishing in migration lanes. More rains could swell the Sixes into unfishable shape this weekend if the rains materialize as forecast.

Plugs have out-worked bait.

CHETCO - The river was very high but dropping quickly, and winter steelhead fishing conditions could be very good this afternoon through Sunday morning, but it is all very weather-dependent. Storms are coming in and steelhead don't bite well on rising flows. Plunking at Social Security bar has been excellent, with one out of every 25 steelhead caught being a hatchery fish.

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