Fishing Report: Feb. 25, 2011

Ocean Outlook

Coastwide - Weekend forecasts offer a glimmer of hope that anglers can hit the near-shore reefs for black rockfish and lingcod during early-morning trips before the wind kids up the swells. Lingcod continue to move into shallow waters for spawning, and now is the time to find the big ones near jetties, rocky reefs and along the edges of kelp beds.

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

Crabbing has been good in Winchester and Coos bays this winter between rain events, when salinity levels are higher.

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.

BROOKINGS - Ocean fishing looks like it could be good early Saturday and Sunday with decent surf conditions. Stay close to shore because winter weather often changes quickly on the coast. Look for limits of black rockfish and chances of lingcod limits daily into early next week. Glow-in-the-dark jigs are best, but black-and-white jigs are plenty effective.

GOLD BEACH - Perch fishing has been good at Nesika Beach with shrimp and prawns.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow. Crabbing has been good.

CHARLESTON - The lower area of Charleston continues to be the best and most popular place for crabbing. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.

PORT ORFORD - A few perch are still getting caught in the bay off the public docks there.

Lake Outlook

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows has picked up since a fresh complement of both were stocked in the reservoir last week. The water is a bit murky, so trolling will be slower than still-fishing or wind-drifting with bait. No gas motors are allowed.

APPLEGATE - About 350 trophy rainbow trout were stocked last week in the reservoir as Cole Rivers Hatchery workers got rid of their leftovers from trout spawning there. Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers should do well when targeting these and the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable, but barely for larger boats. Car-toppers and shallow-launch boats are still fine. The Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake is almost three-fourths full, and the trout bite has dropped off. The water is murky, harming trollers. Bank anglers fishing near the dam are faring well on worms or PowerBait.

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 just fair 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 and ice fishing has been good. Worms or small jigs have worked best.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 14 to 18 inches remains fair to good near the dam. Activity, however, has remained light and likely will be low during this weekend's poor weather. 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 open. The Takelma Ramp will remain open throughout the winter.

FISH - Ice fishing has been steadily good in the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp. Worms and jigs are working best for rainbow trout. The resort is open Fridays through Sundays, and ice augers can be rented there.

WILLOW LAKE - The public-health advisory against water contact is over, but the boat ramp and county facilities remain closed.

SELMAC - The lake was stocked Feb. 14 with the legal-sized trout, and fishing for them should still be good.

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.

River Outlook

ROGUE - The upper Rogue has been a bit slow for winter steelhead thanks to very low and clear flows; the middle Rogue has been good for boat anglers despite lower-than-ideal flows; and the lower Rogue has been stellar this week for winter steelhead anglers fishing plugs or side-drifting yarn flies despite 44-degree water.

That makes the lower Rogue this weekend's best bet, and because it is less likely to get hammered by the current storm fronts. The cold air and snowfall forecast for the valley will have a negative effect on the steelhead bite, and inflows won't rise enough to see much improvement in migration. Flows are forecast to start dropping somewhat slowly today riverwide, and that will help a little but not enough to turn fishing hot.

The lower Rogue has been producing multiple-fish days for boaters fishing the inside turns with Cop Car plugs or K-11 Kwikfish. Plunkers have not done as well. A few rumors of the first spring chinook rumbled around Gold Beach on Wednesday, but nothing is confirmed. The cold water usually puts the breaks on springer movement anyway, so probably no first springer until mid-week at best.

In the middle Rogue, anglers were doing well earlier in the week, but catches started to fall off Wednesday as the cold front moved in. Flows at Grants Pass were around 3,500 cfs in mid-week and will start dropping today. Lots of mid-sized hatchery and wild fish have been in the catch lately, and anglers are spread out from Lathrop's Landing all the way to Grave Creek. The slower and deeper water has been best.

In the upper Rogue, flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain at 900 cfs, and tributary flows remain low thanks to very cold conditions. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a scant 1,400 cfs mid-week, and it's not forecast to rise much today. Anglers are still running into a few winter steelhead daily, but mainly in deeper and slower runs. Fishing at the Hatchery Hole has been slow because winter steelhead haven't been too interested in moving upstream during the cold snap.

Anglers may keep one wild steelhead per day as long as it is at least 24 inches long. The annual limit is five.

ILLINOIS - Water conditions were holding steady around 1,500 cfs this week and will drop a little today after the latest storm front moves through. Some big winter steelhead were caught this week by anglers using Spin-Glo's, yarn balls and Little Cleo's. No bait is allowed. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and up to five per year.

APPLEGATE - Winter steelhead fishing remains spotty on the lower Applegate and middle portions of the Applegate. Fish have moved into the upper end, but angling is slow amid low and clear water. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing allowed from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua was fishing very well this week as water conditions dropped, and there should be a decent bite this weekend unless the snow and cold weather puts the kaibosh on steelhead migration. The mainstem river was much lower and still fishing a bit slow for winter steelhead. The North Umpqua has been slow for winter steelhead because of very cold water.

COQUILLE - The South Fork of the Coquille was flowing Thursday at about 2,300 cfs at Myrtle Point, and winter steelhead fishing remained good despite colder air and water. If the snow stays away, fishing should be good this weekend. Roe is out-producing plugs.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk was dropping and clear this week, and fishing has slowed after a good weekend. The Sixes remains low and clear.

CHETCO - The river was very crowded this week, and winter steelhead fishing was excellent for guides and good for less-savvy anglers. Plugs were working well, giving way to bait as the water dropped and cooled. Steelhead are dispersed throughout the system, but the heaviest boat traffic remains from Ice Box to Loeb. Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day, with a five-fish annual limit.

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