Fishing Report: March 28, 2014

COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for gale-force winds, hazardous seas and a small-craft advisory through this afternoon, then a blustery weekend with 11-or 12-foot seas. Bottomfishers have through Monday to ply all depths, then they will be pushed inside the 40-fathom line beginning Tuesday.

Chinook salmon fishing is open north of Humbug Mountain, making Coos Bay or Bandon the closest ports to the Rogue Valley that will be open for salmon. Early-season fishing has been slow, in part because of poor fishing conditions.

Near-shore jigging should be very good for lingcod and black rockfish when conditions allow. Lingcod are moving into the shallows in force for the spring spawn, and this is the best time to catch them. Black, white or red jigs are always good bets, but lings are so aggressive now that color doesn't matter.

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 may be kept until July 1.

Clammers will see early-morning minus tides beginning Sunday and running through the week. It's the first morning, daylight minus-tide series of the year, so it should draw some spring-break clamming interest.

Mussel harvest is closed from Cape Arago to the California border, but everything else is a go for shellfish on the Oregon Coast.

The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed.

COOS BAY - The chinook salmon season is open, but the weather has been poor. When they can get out, anglers likely will stay somewhat close to shore and ply the water anywhere from 50 to 130 feet down. The chinook are scattered and tough to find in the early season.

Crabbing has been poor as it normally is at this time of year. Next week's clammers should take advantage of the morning minus tides. Jetty fishing will improve now that the bay has settled down some, but try to avoid afternoon winds.

BROOKINGS - 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.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing is starting to improve off the sand spit, with Berkley rubber crayfish or prawns the best baits. Spring chinook salmon are moving through the bay, but the vast majority of the effort is just upstream of tidewater.

AGATE - The lake is up to 93 percent full and fairly turbid, keeping most anglers away. No fresh rainbow trout have been stocked yet. Warming water should get the crappie, bass and bluegill active around submerged willows and along the dam. Fish worms or small spinners. When the clarity returns some, try wind-drifting for holdover trout with worms. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake is fishing well for rainbow trout as the water stars to clear. Trolling for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long has been good off points and in the lower section of the reservoir. All the boat ramps are open now, inviting trout trollers and bass anglers to the lake. Bank fishing is poor and will remain slow until water levels get water and fish into the Seattle Bar area.

DIAMOND - The ice is too soft for ice fishing. Based on recent weather patterns, open water could be available to anglers in a few weeks. 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 longer than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT - The lake is slightly more than half full, and bass fishing will start to improve now that the water is warming. Trout fishing has improved since the first 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout of the season were released at the county boat ramps last week. Most of the early action will be in that cove. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies for holdover trout. The Talent Irrigation District is transferring some water into the lake from Hyatt Lake, so look for the surface level to rise.

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

EXPO - The pond recently was stocked with a mix of legal-sized and trophy trout, making for very good urban fishing opportunities. Small Panther Martin spinners, worms and PowerBait have all worked well for rainbows there.

FISH - The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well for a mix of trout and chinook salmon, mainly around the resort and the Forest Service boat ramp. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. A sno-park permit is needed to park at the boat ramp.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.

HYATT - The lake is closed.

LEMOLO - The lake opens to angling Tuesday. Expect good fishing for rainbows and brown trout in exposed waters along the shoreline.

LOST CREEK - The first 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout were stocked last week, split between Taklema and Stewart boat ramps. That will entice anglers to work the lower section of the reservoir, mostly slowly trolling Wedding Ring or Triple Teaser lures behind flashers, anywhere from 20 to 60 feet down. The lake is holding somewhat steady at about 12 feet from full as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started to reduce outflows from the reservoir. Bass fishing should be picking up as the reservoir warms.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is starting to see open water around the edges for anglers to fish for brown trout, rainbow trout and perch.

WILLOW - The lake was stocked last week with 4,500 legal-sized rainbows. The reservoir was listed Thursday at 100-percent full, a dramatic increase from last week. Troll Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers for trout or wind-drift worms in the afternoon. PowerBait from the bank is a good choice as well, particularly in the cove near the boat ramp where the trout were released.

SELMAC - The lake received another 5,000 rainbow trout last week, and fishing for them should be good on bait from the bank.

ROGUE - Winter steelhead fishing has improved on the upper and middle Rogue stretches as water levels have dropped, while spring chinook have remained a no-show so far in waters upstream of Galice. The lower Rogue is spitting out nice spring chinook daily, but still only single-digit catches each day. And to top that off, new storms are forecast to spike flows out of shape beginning Saturday.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue until the lower Rogue really turns on for springers.

In the upper Rogue, water flows out of Lost Creek Lake will drop to 1,400 cubic feet per second today, in preparation for inflows that are forecast to peak above 4,700 cfs late Saturday or early Sunday. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a sparse 2,050 cfs Thursday afternoon, but the runoff is such that the flows at Dodge are forecast to hit 14,000 cfs sometime late Saturday. If that heavy freshet holds off a while, winter steelhead fishing could be good early Saturday, but it will fall off the table for the remainder of the weekend.

Winter steelhead are sprinkled throughout the upper Rogue, with anglers catching a handful a day. Not spectacular, but counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery show good numbers of early-run winter steelhead present. Roe, yarn balls, plugs and even big streamer flies have tracked down fish. Lots of spawned-out summer steelhead kelts also are around.

The middle Rogue has finally picked up for fresh winters, but there is a high percentage of spawned-out kelts in the catches. A lot of fresh 8-pound steelhead are around as well, with fresh fish moving into the lower Applegate River. A few spring chinook have been caught this past week below Rainie Falls, but none have been caught above the falls. That could change dramatically with this next freshet. Flows at Grants Pass were a paltry 2,400 cfs Thursday but are forecast to peak around 18,000 cfs this weekend.

In the lower Rogue, the best spring chinook fishing has been from Quosatana Creek on down, with no one or two spots considered best. Bankies are plunking with Spin-Glo's spiced up with a little roe. Boaters are using anchovies with the Rogue Bait rig or cut-plug lures scented with tuna oil. Steelhead fishing has been decent in the Agness area thanks to lower flows, but that could become a washout into early next week if runoff projections materialize. Only fin-clipped hatchery springers may be kept, and the catch so far seems to be about 20 percent of the fish.

CHETCO - The river was forecast to spike dramatically this weekend, likely washing out the final weekend of winter steelhead fishing. The river closes Monday evening.

APPLEGATE - Water releases out of Applegate Lake are holding steady at 150 cfs, but look for big increases in flows Saturday if the current storm materializes. The river closes to all angling Monday evening. There is no angling from a boat, and all wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

SOUTH UMPQUA - Winter steelhead fishing has been very good, especially for large hatchery fish. The South has seen very good hatchery returns this year. Side-drifting roe or scented yarn balls has been best. Water levels are coming back up dramatically this weekend.

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