Fishing Report: Friday, April 28

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory that began Thursday won't end until tonight amid 20-knot winds and 6-foot swells. Saturday's ocean forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and 4-foot swells, followed Sunday by winds up to 15 knots with 5-foot swells.

Very good to excellent lingcod and black rockfish catches have occurred recently out of Brookings when the weather has allowed. Black and blue rockfish catches have been good to very good. 

Rockfish anglers have new bag limits for 2017. Canary rockfish are part of the seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish as part of that seven-fish aggregate limit. Also, there's a new, combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are off-limits.

Rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device and use it when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper, but that does not effect rockfish anglers, who must currently stay inside the 30-fathom line.

Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast. Bay crabbing has been poor because of heavy freshwater flows. Ocean crabbers are averaging just under three crabs per day.

Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are closed south of Cape Arago near Charleston. Excellent morning minus tides run today through Wednesday. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is full. Spring fishing has been pretty good for crappie, yellow perch and the occasional bass. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows has picked up after 10,000 legal-sized rainbows and 800 trophy trout were added at the Hart-Tish Park and the Copper ramps. The water level was up to 1,981 feet above sea level, putting it 6 feet from full. Bank fishing with worms under bobbers near the release sites will be a good idea. Trollers might try a Wedding Ring lure spiced with half a worm. Fishing off the bank higher up in the reservoir has been good at times for those using PowerBait or worms under bobbers with varying leader lengths. The French Gulch ramp also is open.

DIAMOND: The lake is still about a week from open-water fishing.

EMIGRANT: Another 1,000 legal-sized rainbows were released earlier this month at the county boat ramp to go along with 1,000 legals released there a month ago. That's brought some interest from trollers and bank anglers. The lake was listed Thursday at 99 percent full. Spring bass fishing is picking up for those casting plastic worms or slowly worked crankbaits in the shallower water around willows and other structure.

FISH: The lake this past week received its first stocking of the season when 5,000 legal-sized rainbows were released off the Forest Service ramp. The lake was up a hair this week to 68 percent full, and fishing is good around the shallows as trout are cruising for early insects. So far, catches from shore have been mostly holdover rainbows and the rare tiger trout, but look for good catches of the recently stocked legals this weekend. Tigers must be released unharmed. Worms and PowerBait have been the best baits.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake received its first complement of rainbows of the season this week with 5,100 legals released there. Fishing has been good for both trollers and still fishers with PowerBait. Both are focusing on water 8 to 12 feet deep. The resort is open and operating, and boat rentals are available. Early-season anglers have done well trolling out of the Willow Point boat ramp, but also expect good bank angling in the shallows around the resort. On warmer days troll the shallows with Tasmanian Devils and other lures. 

HYATT: The lake is ice-free and it got its first complement of fresh trout of the season when 5,100 legal-sized rainbows were released. The water is cold, so still-fishing with PowerBait is a good bet. Bass are starting to get active, as well. The BLM ramp is usable but the facilities there are not officially open. The lake is up a tick to 64 percent full and it will stay about that level for the foreseeable future in preparation for some improvements to the dam.

LOST CREEK: The lake got 800 trophy trout split this week between the Takelma and marina ramps, as well as 20,000 legals last week. The lake level is inching up. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has upped the outflows to 3,000 cubic feet per second, while inflows remain well above 5,000 cfs. With the lake three feet from full, look for lake levels to rise. It also has pushed anglers back down to the dam area, where trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is ice-free. Fish for rainbows in the shallows with bait or lures. The resort is closed until next week.

WILLOW: The lake got 4,000 legal-sized rainbows earlier this month at the county boat ramp. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before they disperse.

EXPO: The pond received 1,500 legal-sized trout earlier this month to go with the same number released last month. Fishing is best with worms and bobbers or Panther Martin lures. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are now in effect.

MEDCO POND: The pond received 2,000 legal-sized rainbows this past week, and fishing for them is good off the shore with PowerBait or worms under bobbers.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Water flows continue to be high throughout the river, which has slowed the migration of spring chinook, while winter steelhead fishing is still holding on but will likely fall off the table here within a week or two. For now, that makes the lower Rogue the best bet because that's where all the spring chinook are.

In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing has improved, and anglers are catching fish daily, primarily on cut-plug herring. Some are using anchovies. Most of the action is in the water just upstream of tidewater, and the salmon are not moving upstream past the mouth of the Illinois River in any significant degree. Flows at Agness were about 13,200 cfs Thursday and forecast to drop steadily into next week. That will help boat anglers and plunkers.

In the upper Rogue, the Corps of Engineers has upped the outflows from Lost Creek Lake to 3,000 cfs, so the flows have good clarity and are providing good migration conditions for winter steelhead on the move. Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians counted 312 new winter steelhead Wednesday in the hatchery trap, the highest weekly haul of the run. That kicked the count to date to 2,009 steelhead there, down slightly from the 10-year average of 3,366 steelhead to the hatchery by now. Side-drifting scented yarn balls has been good, while fishing plugs in the slower tailouts also has worked well. Lots of spawned-out wild fish in the mix. These need to be handled carefully and released.

The catch-and-release rules for all wild steelhead go back in play Monday for the remainder of the year.

Still no springers have been reported at Cole Rivers Hatchery, but at least a handful have been caught this past week at some of the normal haunts by bank anglers casting beads. Only hatchery springers can now be kept.

Winter steelhead fishing has slowed down in the Grants Pass area. Most of the fish getting caught recently were dark and spawned-out. There were no confirmed springers caught recently, but anglers report fish at Rainie Falls and a few rolling in steelhead water. Flows at Grants Pass were up to a brisk 8,300 cfs Thursday afternoon, and they are forecast to drop quickly and steadily to 7,500 cfs Monday. That should get the springers moving, especially with warmer air temperatures forecast for next week.

Surfperch fishing off the Rogue sand spit has been great.

APPLEGATE: The river is closed to all angling.

CHETCO: The river is closed to all angling.

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