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A redband rainbow trout fell for a golden stone fly imitation on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman.

Fishing report for Jan. 18, 2019

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Winds up to 30 knots and swells up to 18 feet are forecast for Friday, but strangely no hazardous seas warning had been issued as of Thursday. Saturday will see the winds drop to 20 knots and the swells around 13 feet. Sunday looks a lot better with 10-knot winds and swells growing to 9 feet over the course of the day.

The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Cabezon must be released unharmed. Rockfish angling is open beyond the 30-fathom line. A descending device to help release rockfish caught in deeper water is mandatory on all boats.

Lingcod are close to shore and staging in shallower water in preparation for spawning. They are aggressive and will take most jigs or frozen sardines. Fishing is very good when anglers can get out, particularly around rock piles and kelp beds.

Surfperch fishing has been hit and miss, with more misses than hits. Nesika and Winchuck beaches have been the most consistent for anglers casting Berkly Gulp sandshrimp or prawns, with fishing better on calmer days.

All recreational crabbing remains closed south of Cape Blanco, even in bays and estuaries, because of domoic acid levels. North of Cape Blanco, bay crabbing is good to very good in Charleston and Bandon, with a mix of Dungeness and red rock crab being taken. Expect poorer catches this weekend, however, because of higher freshwater levels in estuaries from this week’s rains.

Razor clamming is closed from the mouth of the Umpqua River to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Bay clamming is open along the coast, but the recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Coquille River south jetty to the California border. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is up to 13 percent full, and little angling is occurring. Fishing from the dam near the spillway has yielded a few bass during warm days, but they are lethargic. The boat ramp is unusable. For anyone launching, no gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake rose sharply in the past week and is 86 feet from full and likely to increase substantially this week despite outflows rising Thursday from 100 cfs to 600 cfs. The surface temperature is hovering around 43 degrees. The low-water ramp at French Gulch is open, and that’s not getting much action. Those who manage to launch will see good trolling for trout using Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm or a whole worm behind a flasher. Bass fishing is very slow.

DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been good, and most of the action is right off the pizza parlor on the south end and 50 yards straight out from the resort. Worms and small jigs have worked well, as has chartreuse-garlic PowerBait. Vary depths until you get into the rainbows. Keep an eye on the weather. Snows Wednesday turned to rain, and that could harm ice thickness.

EMIGRANT: The lake is up a hair to 23 percent full. Few anglers are venturing to the lake edge near the county park. All boat ramps are closed, and there is no driving below the high-water line.

EXPO: Trout fishing is poor, but fishing for largemouth bass can be decent with crankbaits fished slowly.

FISH: Ice fishing has begun near the Forest Service ramp as well as right off the resort. Try spots near underwater springs, because that is where most of the trout are. Worms, jigs and rainbow PowerBait are popular. The lake is up to 42 percent full, just a hair above last week.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is icing over, but no reports of ice fishing have come in. The lake lost a little more water this past week and is down to 29 percent full. That could lead to poor ice conditions.

HYATT: Access is very poor, and the lake is icing over, but no reports of ice fishing have been made. The lake is actually up a hair to 8 percent full.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice fishing has begun right outside of the resort with worms. Lots of perch are in the mix at deeper levels, with rainbows biting worms in the top 10 feet of the water column.

LOST CREEK: The Takelma ramp is the only usable ramp, but the marina ramps could be usable for boats within a few weeks. The water level is up a hair to less than 1 foot under the low-pool level as the official filling schedule at the reservoir has begun. Boat anglers are focusing around the dam and the intake tower. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worm has been very good, especially when the wind dies down. Outflows were held steady Thursday at 1,050 cfs.

WILLOW: Trout fishing is poor as snow and ice begin to cloak the lake.

SELMAC: Bass fishing is poor.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Late-run summer steelhead are still wiggling into Cole Rivers Hatchery on the upper Rogue, while some early winter steelhead and halfpounders have been caught this week in the Galice area. Lower Rogue plunkers were finding winter steelhead from Agness down to Huntley Bar earlier this week before cloudy water chased everyone home.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Rogue angling nation will be doing the same, as forecasts call for the highest flows of the season this weekend, with the levels rising beginning Friday.

The way things look based on streamflow forecasts, winter steelhead fishing on the Rogue likely won’t get going again until Tuesday, and then it could be interesting in the middle and upper Rogue if the winter steelhead follow suit and use the freshet to migrate.

Flows at Dodge Bridge on the upper Rogue were at 1,250 cfs Thursday and are forecast to rise to around 6,000 cfs by Sunday. Because outflows at Lost Creek dam were a paltry 1,050 cfs, the vast majority of the river flow will be tributary runoff that will be turbid. Same for the former Gold Ray Dam site, where flows Thursday were just 1,483 cfs but rising, forecast to peak Sunday around 9,000 cfs. Grants Pass flows were at 1,602 cfs and rising Thursday, forecast to peak late Sunday around 12,000 cfs.

When turbidity levels drop, look for winter steelhead along the river banks and migration lanes, because the fish will be on the move. Side-planers, plunkers and plug fishermen should focus on water 4 to 6 feet deep and right on the current rips. Bait anglers can use worms and watermelon corkies in canyon water or slower runs, focusing on the heads of pools.

In the upper Rogue, steelhead are starting to slow down. This week just 40 new summer steelhead and 20 recaptured steelhead were caught in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond.

Anglers can now keep one wild winter steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and just three per year, in the Rogue downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp. Halfpounders are scattered around riffles downstream of Grants Pass. They are aggressive fish and will take plugs, worms, roe and flies.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to steelhead fishing, and a few winter steelhead could be near the mouth or in the lower river. However, most catches have been wild and spawned-out summer steelhead that must be released unharmed. No wild steelhead can be kept on the Applegate, and there is no fishing from a floating device. Look for high flows through the weekend. When angling resumes, use Blue Fox spinners, yarn flies or worms and watermelon corkies. All cutthroat must be released. Rainbow trout longer than 16 inches are considered steelhead.

CHETCO: The Chetco was at 82,833 cfs and seriously on the rise Thursday, forecast to peak around 24,000 cfs late Sunday. That could put winter steelhead fishing out until perhaps Tuesday, because flows are forecast to drop significantly.

ELK AND SIXES: River conditions were high and falling out of shape Thursday because of rising water. Winter steelhead fishing should be very good when angling conditions return around Tuesday.

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