Fishing Report: Jan. 31, 2014

COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for the ocean to lie down and provide very good conditions for near-shore jigging for black rockfish and lingcod, which remain in the area. Forecasts call for 5-knot winds and seas of 2 to 4 feet with some rain.

For clammers, a good minus tide bottoms out around 6 tonight, with pretty standard tides following the remainder of the 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. Anglers are no longer relegated to staying within the 40-fathom line for rockfish.

COOS BAY - Crabbing has been quite slow in the bay and worse than expected despite low freshwater influence. Look for good clamming this evening during a good minus tide that will expose clams normally not reachable. 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, and this weekend looks like a good one for both. More good fishing conditions are expected this weekend.

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

AGATE - The lake is up a hair to 19 percent of full, allowing use of the right boat ramp. Some wind-drifting for trout is occurring with worms, and some fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill on nice days can be had. 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 30 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 fair to good, with most of the activity straight out from the Diamond Lake Resort marina. The trout are biting lightly, so some anglers are missing more fish than they catch. Worms dangled a few feet below the ice is a good place to start, as is PowerBait rigged in a drop-shot fashion (the weight on the bottom and the bait on a hook a few feet up the line). then work your way down until you find the right depth. 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 longer than 8 inches, but only one can be more 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 to 27-percent full, which is still below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered and effort has been light recently.

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 - Ice 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.

LOST CREEK - The lake is no longer 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 up to the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet for the first time this year, and the surface temperature has risen slightly to 43 degrees, thanks to more inflow and some warm afternoons. 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 - Recent rain has winter steelhead moving in the lower Rogue, with some starting to show in the middle Rogue and more on their way this weekend. The upper Rogue saw a burst of movement among late-run summer steelhead as well as a handful of fresh early-run winters.

That keeps 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. Flows that had been near the record low of 1,450 cubic feet per second rose to 1,744 cfs Thursday, meaning they rose and got fish moving but did not go so high as to bounce fly-fishers from the water. 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.

The first significant uptick in water levels is forecast for late next week, when flows are forecast to eclipse 4,000 cfs for the first time in months.

The Grants Pass area is improving for winter steelhead, and fishing could get pretty good this weekend for the first time this season. The recent rains have winter steelhead moving, with most in the Galice area. Flows at Grants Pass remain a paltry 1,556 cfs, but that's a bit better than earlier this week. 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.

Anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp. That changes Saturday when the 24-inch rule applies to the entire Rogue.

The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead for driftboat anglers, while another 10 winter steelhead hit the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, upping the early count to 31 steelhead. A few also were caught this week in the upper Rogue around Dodge Bridge and Shady Cove by anglers side-drifting roe and fishing plugs. 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 increased this week but not by much, with the flow Thursday at 1,246 cfs.

Bait fishing is legal river-wide for steelhead.

CHETCO - Steelhead fishing picked up again with this week's rain, but flows were at 1,157 cfs and falling pretty quickly Thursday afternoon. Winter steelhead will be hanging around, and the bite should drop off daily until late next week when flows are forecast to rise with a new storm. Roe is out-producing plugs. The steelhead are scattered riverwide.

ELK - Water conditions allowed for a little flurry of winter steelhead fishing this week, and the gauge at the Elk River Hatchery measured 3.8 feet and falling Thursday. Conditions will quickly drop to low and clear again.

SIXES - The river started kicking out a few winter steelhead this week but the water was dropping and clearing quickly Thursday.

UMPQUA - Winter steelhead fishing is very good with roe in deeper runs in the Elkton area on down to Sawyer's Rapids, one of the best steelhead stretches now in western Oregon thanks to decent flows and good fish numbers. Roe is out-producing plugs, and a few fish are taking streamer flies fished deep.

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 confirmed 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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