Fishing Report: Dec. 31, 2010

Coastwide - Lingcod have started their wintertime migration into shallow waters to spawn, so divers and shore anglers may have luck when the wind and waves abate enough to allow them on the water.

After Jan. 1, bottom fishing will be open at all depths. Also on Jan. 1, cabezon fishing reopens to boat anglers. New this year will be a change in cabezon retention from April 1-Sept. 30 that will allow only one cabezon per day as part of the seven-fish marine bag limit.

The marine fish daily bag limit remains seven fish in 2011. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.

Sport crabbers are back to 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 in between storms. Heavy rain pushes crabs down in estuaries and even out to sea in search of better salinity. Deeper-water ports like Coos Bay and Winchester Bay are better bets than smaller ones.

All shellfish fishing is open coastwide, 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.

WINCHESTER BAY - Fishing for rockfish and surfperch has been good off the south jetty and in the Triangle Area.

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 light at the lake. Trollers could do well. The lake is close to half-full. No gas motors 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. The lake was down to 8 percent of capacity early this week, making the French Gulch boat ramp questionable for larger boats. Car-toppers and shallow-launch boats are still fine. The Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake is back up to 46 percent full and 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 partly frozen, making it tough to get at the fish.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 15 to 17 inches remains very good near the dam. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake is being drawn down for flood-control purposes and will be lower than normal this winter. 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 and questionable for ice fishing.

WILLOW LAKE - The algae advisory is over. The boat ramp and county facilities are closed.

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

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 lower Rogue was a plunker's paradise for winter steelhead before storms blew out the river this week, and winter steelhead have started to show up in the middle Rogue, too, though high flows and turbidity have made it impossible to get at them, while in the upper Rogue late-run summer steelhead are winding down, even with the 752 "retread" steelehead released at TouVelle State Park on Dec. 20.

Flows and turbidity are dropping riverwide, however, and flow forecasts look promising, which makes it a coin flip between the upper and middle Rogue this weekend.

If you're going after retreads from Cole Rivers Hatchery, try K-11 Kwikfish, pink worms, 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.

Because of high, turbid flows below the mouth of Big Butte Creek, the best water has been between the hatchery deadline and Big Butte Creek. Flows will get better downstream as the water drops through the weekend. Steelhead are being caught by bank anglers upstream from the Shady Cove boat ramp on lures, bug-and-bubble combinations, eggs, worms and corkies.

In the middle Rogue, high flows have brought winter steelhead within striking distance. As the weekend starts, bankies might try side planers and work the inside turns of gravel bars, where migrating steelhead will be hugging the bank in high water.

Boat anglers should float 4-6 feet from the bank and try dark-colored lures.

When the river drops into shape, anglers should try plugs, roe or puff balls. Brad's Wee Wiggler in copper and K-11 Kwikfish have also been producing steelhead.

Most of the early winter steelhead have been wild fish and must be released unharmed.

The lower Rogue was excellent for winter steelhead before the water rose out of sight, and it should be good again when flows drop. 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 6- to 8-pound steelhead. They are close to shore. Boat anglers fishing K-11 or K-13 Kwikfish should do well through the weekend, as well.

UMPQUA - The upper mainstem Umpqua has been rough for fishing this week amid high-water conditions. The lower Umpqua remains slow for sturgeon. The South Umpqua has been high but anglers were catching winter steelhead in the Canyonville area before this week's rains.

COQUILLE - Winter steelhead were caught last week around the city of Coquille, and fishing should be excellent through the weekend as flows drop for both plunkers and boaters. 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 should be catching early winter steelhead and chinook once the rivers start dropping. The chinook salmon season closes on the Sixes River today. Anglers can check Elk River heights and water color by calling Elk River Hatchery at 541-332-0405. The best angling is when the Elk River gauge is reading 5 feet and dropping. The Sixes is usually fishable two days after the Elk.

CHETCO - The river was very high but dropping quickly, and winter steelhead fishing conditions could be very good through Sunday morning and into next week. Plunking at Social Security bar has been excellent, with one out of every 25 steelhead caught being a hatchery fish.

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