Fishing Report: Feb. 22, 2013

COASTWIDE - Hazardous seas warnings are in effect today, and the incoming storm is forecast to bring waves as high as 22 feet Saturday before giving way to 13-foot swells Monday. That makes the prospect of jigging for black rockfish and lingcod sketchy at best. Look for better conditions late next week after the fronts have moved through the region.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. No cabezon may be kept until July. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

The ocean is open to sport and commercial crabbers, but neither are spending much time on the waves. Dungeness crab catches have been good in bays lately, but bay crabbing conditions will turn sour when the storms hit area estuaries this weekend, which will push Dungeness back to sea. Charleston has the best public crabbing off docks in Southern Oregon.

Mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River to Cape Arago in Coos County, but a closure is in effect from Cape Arago to the California border because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. All other shellfish harvesting is open statewide.

Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing was good at Nesika Beach this past week, with surf anglers casting sandshrimp, fake crayfish and clam necks for some nice redtails. Fish both sides of the high tide, with the last hour of the incoming tide often best. Keep your eyes open for sneaker waves.

AGATE - The first trout stocking of the season was last week, with 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout planted at the boat ramp. The water is murky, so fish for them with something they can smell, such as worms or PowerBait. Most of the action will be around the ramp. The lake is 87 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Trout fishing has been slow, with little effort, and water temperatures continue to be cold. A few anglers are targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms also are good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed. French Gulch is open.

DIAMOND - The lake is open for ice fishing, with the lake sporting a 4-inch sheet of ice covered by about a foot of packed snow. Snow is forecast today and Saturday. Most of the action is near the resort because that area has the best access, with catches best in about 20 feet of water. Anglers are either dangling worms just below the ice or fishing PowerBait off the bottom. Some are doing well with white or pink jigs. Last summer's fingerlings are now more than 8 inches long, but most of the rainbows being caught are 12 to 16 inches long. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - The lake was infused two weeks ago with 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery. They were released at the county park boat ramp, and they have since spread out looking for spawning tributaries. They are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary, and anglers can keep just one over 20 inches long per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The water is murky and the lake is almost two-thirds full. The lake is open year-round.

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

EXPO - Fishing and interest have waned dramatically since anglers picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. The pond is open year-round.

FISH - Ice fishing near the resort and off the Forest Service boat ramp has been good with jigs, worms and PowerBait. The ice is firm. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake was listed Thursday at 62 percent full. The lake is open year-round.

HOWARD PRAIRIE, HYATT and LEMOLO - Fishing is closed until April.

LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is slow.

LOST CREEK - Anglers putting in their time are catching limits of rainbows 12 to 15 inches long, along with some smaller spring chinook stocked there. The chinook are undersized and should be handled as little as possible. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern and the surface elevation is up to 1,831 feet above sea level, or 4 feet higher than last week.

ROGUE - An incoming system of storms will add height and color to the Rogue River, shaking up the late February fishery. The best bet likely will be the middle Rogue, where driftboaters working anywhere from the mouth of the Applegate down to Grave Creek will run into fresh steelhead.

During the recent low-water period, winter steelhead angling has been surprisingly decent in the canyon waters downstream of Galice for anglers fishing roe and corkies or corkies and worms in deeper water. A few fresh winter steelhead moved out of the lower Rogue canyon this past week despite low flows. Flows in the Grants Pass area are forecast to peak Saturday evening at about 5,300 cubic feet per second, so that will make for good steelheading Sunday and Monday in high-water holes.

The lower Rogue at Agness is set to peak late Sunday or Monday and then drop, and that should bring a whole slew of fresh winter steelhead into the river. Large Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots for plunkers and side-planers will work first, then side-drifting will return to play.

In the upper Rogue, anglers were running into a good spate of winter steelhead last weekend, but catches waned this past week. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,400 cfs Thursday, but look for a spike in flows today and Saturday, peaking at around 4,000 cfs late Saturday at Gold Ray Dam. That will get fish moving again and jump-start the steelhead fishery throughout the upper Rogue.

The river is open to the harvest of wild steelhead riverwide today, with anglers allowed to keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches a day, and no more than five a year.

CHETCO - The river was down to an unfishable 927 cfs Thursday, but rain is expected to boost the flow rapidly today and peak around 3,000 cfs Sunday. As it drops, look for another good round of winter steelhead fishing riverwide for driftboaters fishing small clusters of roe.

APPLEGATE - Water conditions are low and clear riverwide, but that will change a little after this weekend's rains. Flows at Wilderville were at 400 cfs Thursday and forecast to peak at about 700 cfs Saturday. As the river drops Sunday, look for fresh winter steelhead riverwide, as they are already spread throughout the system. Spoons and worms matched with watermelon corkies are post-rain favorites for the Applegate. No wild steelhead may be kept, and no fishing from a floating device is allowed.

ElK/SIXES - Flows are low and clear but will get fishable Saturday afternoon or Sunday, depending upon how much rain the basins get and when the runoff peaks. After it peaks, look for winter steelhead from the hatchery on down using roe and corkies or jigs under bobbers.

ILLINOIS - The winter steelhead bite will turn on Saturday afternoon if the river peaks as expected following the predicted rain. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Anglers fishing above Klondike Creek can keep one wild steelhead over 24 inches long per day and five per year. The mainstem Illinois and its tributaries are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.

UMPQUA - The North Umpqua was fishing well for winter steelhead this past week after low flows slowed action on the South Umpqua. Look for catches, and fishing pressure, to increase on the South Umpqua after flows peak Saturday and start dropping.

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