Fishing Report: Jan. 24, 2014

COASTWIDE - A small-craft advisory is in effect through today, but conditions should ease Saturday, bringing decent ocean conditions for bottomfishing off the South Coast.

For clammers, a series of good afternoon minus tides will run Monday through Thursday of next week. That should generate local interest in clams.

All shellfish fishing is open along the entire Oregon Coast.

The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed, and chinook salmon fishing is closed coastwide.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate. No cabezon can be kept until July 1.

COOS BAY - Crabbing has been quite slow in the bay and worse than expected despite low freshwater influence. Look for good clamming Monday through Wednesday afternoons during minus tides next week. Most digging will be centered around Charleston and Clam Island. Black rockfish catches are good near the inside of the north jetty.

BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing is closed. Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good when anglers have been able to sneak outside of the estuary. More good fishing conditions are expected this weekend, but a small-craft advisory will keep boats in the harbor today.

GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is over. Surfperch fishing has been slow.

AGATE - The lake still has a few holdovers from the fall stocking of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, and anglers have caught a few of them wind-drifting worms or casting spinners. Trolling is slow. Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow and will remain slow through winter, particularly during cold snaps. The lake is 15 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake's boat ramps are all exposed and unusable because of extremely low water. The lake is about 25 feet shy of normal low pool and virtually inaccessible. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep and wind waves are creating muddy shores.

DIAMOND - The lake sports up to 7 inches of ice, and ice-fishing has been good, with most of the activity straight out from the Diamond Lake Resort marina. Worms dangled a few feet below the ice is a good place to start, then work your way down until you find the right depth. PowerBait off the bottom works well, but it's tough to keep it from tangling in your leader. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are longer than 10 inches. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been slow and the prognosis looks very poor amid low and cold water conditions. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake has edged up slightly 25 percent full, which is still below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered and effort has been nearly nonexistent during recent cold weather.

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

EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout has been slow with little effort despite the recent influx of legal-sized trout. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies.

FISH - The lake is iced over, and fishing for trout and chinook salmon is fair to good with worms under the ice near the Forest Service ramp and the resort. A few tiger trout will get caught this winter and they must be released unharmed. The chinook are legally considered trout and are part of the five-trout daily limit.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.

HYATT - The lake is closed.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to fishing until spring.

LOST CREEK - The lake no longer is under an algae advisory. The Takelma boat ramp near the dam is open and accessible, but the water is too low for effective use of the marina ramps. The lake has risen slightly to about 1.5 feet below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet, and the surface temperature has hung steady at 41 degrees despite a few warm afternoons this past week. The few anglers hitting the reservoir say there is good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam's face, near the intake tower and directly across from the marina. Vary your depths.

LAKE of the WOODS - Ice fishing is very good with worms straight out from the resort. Light snow makes ice fishing access very good. Anglers have been catching rainbow trout, brown trout and perch.

WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing but it's getting little use.

ROGUE - The perpetual dearth of rain continues to wreak havoc on early-season winter steelhead fishing riverwide, causing anglers to chase spawned-out summer steelhead or sit home waiting for that first real storm of the season.

That puts the best bet on the lower Rogue, where fly-fishermen continue to do well for a mix of adult winter steelhead and halfpounders from Agness down to the head of tidewater. From Dunkelberger Bar on down, most fly-fishermen are swinging streamers through riffles, while those upstream of Dunkelberger have been focused more on drifting nymphs under strike indicators. Both factions are faring well, largely because it's about the best stretch around for fly-fishing in low water. How low? The Agness gauge is measuring 1,712 cubic feet per second of water. That's a third of what winter steelhead anglers are used to in the lower Rogue. The depth and clarity of water has slowed plunkers down, but bank anglers casting Blue Fox spinners are catching adult winter steelhead in mornings and evenings.

No real uptick in water levels are forecast until late next week, and even then the flows are not forecast to rise to normal levels.

The Grants Pass area continues to be a mix of spawned-out summer steelhead and some steelhead 16 to 20 inches long that are likely late-run summers based on their size. Those fish are scattered around the Galice area and not really on the move thanks largely to flows of 1,358 cfs at Grants Pass. Most of the action has been driftboaters side-drifting roe or dragging roe through the deeper, slower canyon spots. Bank fishing is slow and side-planing is poor.

Someone sank a white, V-hulled lake boat this week in Ennis Riffle, but the riffle still is passable.

Anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp.

The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead for driftboat anglers as the shift goes from summer steelhead to winter steelhead. Two more winter steelhead hit the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, upping the early count to 19 steelhead. That seems low, bit it's 19 more than what's hit the hatchery by Jan. 23 in each of the previous 10 years. A few also have been caught this week in the upper Rogue around Dodge Bridge by anglers side-drifting roe. Winter steelhead will be scattered in the deeper, slower riffles and they should be willing to bite roe, egg flies and plugs.

Bank angling will be best downstream of the TouVelle State Park boat ramp, the riffle upstream of the Rogue Elk Park campground, the new Bridge Hole and the Hatchery Hole. The vast majority of the catches will be late-run or spawned-out summer steelhead.

Flows at Dodge Bridge dropped even lower this past week, with the Dodge Bridge gauge hitting 1,136 cfs Thursday. Don't look for that to improve until late next week, when some precipitation is forecast.

Bait fishing is legal river-wide for steelhead.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed upstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp.

CHETCO - Steelhead fishing has been very slow river-wide after the recent uptick in flows disappeared. The Ice Box gauge Thursday registered 587 cfs, and flows were forecast to drop slowly but steadily until Thursday, then struggle to get close to 1,000 cfs through the weekend. If that happens, look for winter steelhead to be scattered river-wide, with less pressure and better fishing higher in the system.

ELK - Water conditions continue to be low and cold with little fishing effort for winter steelhead.

SIXES - Conditions are back to low, clear and cold for winter steelhead.

UMPQUA - Winter steelhead fishing is very good with roe in deeper runs in the Elkton area, which has drawn the lion's share of fishing guides until poor South Coast water conditions improve.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for winter steelhead fishing, but water releases from the very low Applegate Lake were dropped down to 80 cfs. No winter steelhead have been reported in the stream so far this year. Catch-and-release is required on all wild fish, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

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