Fishing Report: March 30, 2012

COASTWIDE - Thirty-knot winds and big seas are forecast into next week, and that pretty much spells doom for ocean angling. When this next series of storms moves through and the surf abates, look for excellent lingcod catches at near-shore reefs, as lings are protecting egg nests and are very aggressive.

For clammers, no minus tides are forecast for another week, but there are some good low tides that should work well on most clam beds. Bay clamming will be best and safest because of the wave surges from the churning seas.

Ocean crabbing is a bust for the foreseeable future because of dangerous conditions. Dock crabbing has been poor this week because of heavy inflow from coastal streams.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Beginning Sunday, anglers are relegated to inside the 30-fathom line to steer jiggers away from yelloweye and canary rockfish, and cabezon are back in the aggregate daily bottomfish limit of seven per day.

The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

BROOKINGS - Bar conditions are extremely poor, but look for conditions to improve as early as midweek when the surf could finally lay down after an atrocious March. Chetco flows into the estuary are extremely high, and that has made any action in the estuary a bust.

Surfperch fishing was good around Winchuck Beach on the few spring days when the surf has been down. The second day after the surf subsides normally provides better catches. Clam necks or prawns are working well.

COOS BAY - Chinook salmon fishing is open north of Humbug Mountain, but activity is light due to very rough surf conditions. Expect to see some recreational boaters go looking for schools of chinook next week when the latest spate of storms abate. When the ocean settles down, anglers can prospect for chinook in waters about 150 feet deep. Vary depths, and slowly troll herring or anchovies with hoochies.

Rockfish catches have been fair and lingcod catches good when anglers have been able to get out.

Crabbing will remain slow off the public docks in the bay thanks to the heavy surge of freshwater from the ongoing storms. The low salinity will force crabs deeper into the bay and back to the ocean.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing has remained slow below the Highway 101 bridge. Crabbing will be poor for a while due to heavy inflows.

AGATE - A fresh batch of legal-sized trout were stocked less than a month ago and they have spread throughout the bottom half of the reservoir. Heavy inflows this past week raised the reservoir to 94 percent full, and that has kept the trout off the bite. Try worms or PowerBait off the bottom near the dam or wind-drift worms around the shallows in 8 to 16 feet of water. When you get a trout bite, hit that stretch for a while. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - Inflows from the latest storms could put a clamp this weekend on trolling or wind-drifting for rainbow trout, which don't react well to heavy fluctuations in water levels here. Flows into the reservoir jumped over 1,000 cubic feet per second Friday and outflows more than doubled to 750 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday prepared to capture runoff. The lake has risen dramatically in the past week and now sits at just over 27 feet from full. Fishing pressure is very light. The facilities at Hart-Tish Park are closed and the low-water ramp at French Gulch is open and usable, as is the Copper ramp. For winter trout fishing, troll Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms. Bass fishing is slow.

EMIGRANT - The lake received its first complement of 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout last week, and fishing for them has remained somewhat slow thanks to poor weather conditions and light effort. Most of the rainbows will be hanging around the county park boat ramp for a while, and you can catch them on PowerBait, worms and small lures. Expect some turbid water throughout the reservoir, with cleaner but colder water on the upper end. No new trout are planned for next week.

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

EXPO - Fishing has held on after the pond was stocked three weeks ago with legal-sized rainbow trout. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park off Peninger Road. Fish Panther Martin lures and other small lures. Worms a few feet under a bobber have worked well for getting kids into the rainbows.

LOST CREEK - The lake received its first 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout last week and they were split between the boat ramps at Stewart State Park and Takelma. Fishing for them won't be red-hot yet, largely because heavy inflows into the reservoir have kept trout a little off the bite. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased the outflows to 4,500 cfs Thursday so they can capture heavy runoff during this weekend's storms. That usually bodes poorly for fishing success. The surface temperature continues to yo-yo between 41 degrees and 42 degrees, and that has slowed the trout bite and made the bass bite terrible. Trolling should be best near the face of the dam, but stay away from the waters upstream of Peyton Bridge until the inflows die down dramatically.

LAKE of the WOODS - The ice is thick, and ice fishing continued to be good this past week near the resort, with catches of rainbow and brown trout and perch reported on worms and jigs.

FISH - The ice is good near the resort and the Forest Service boat ramp, but little effort has been made here thanks largely to deep snow on top of the ice. Ice fishing should be good, however, for those using worms and small jigs.

WILLOW - The lake received its first 4,500 legal-sized rainbows last week, and fishing for them should be good this weekend near the boat ramp with PowerBait, worms and small spinners. The county boat ramp is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ROGUE - The entire Rogue is up and out of shape, and things are only going to get worse over the weekend as heavy outflows from Lost Creek Lake and flood watch-level tributary flows swell the Rogue. That leaves the same best bet as last week — Kentucky and Kansas, which each should win their NCAA March Madness games Saturday, setting up a Monday championship game. Fishing, in short, will be a bust.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were 4,500 cfs Thursday afternoon in preparation for the latest string of storms. That takes away the option of wading or floating the stretch from the Hatchery Hole to Big Butte Creek. That water will be clean enough for fishing but too high and moving to fast for very good success. Flows are projected Sunday at Dodge Bridge to eclipse 22,000 cfs and it gets worse from there.

When it slows down and conditions return to normal, the first few spring chinook salmon might be in the upper Rogue. The series of freshets should draw at least a handful of early-run springers to upper Rogue holes very soon. Winter steelhead will also be present, but look for a mix of dark and spawned-out fish to dominate the catches.

The middle Rogue will take longer to clear up, and when it does, the steelhead catches should be excellent at high-water holes. Look for turbidity levels at Grants Pass to be down to 15 NTUs before hitting the middle Rogue.

In the lower Rogue, a bunch of fresh steelhead were caught by plunkers using large Spin-Glo's before the water levels got extremely high this week. A flood warning is in effect for the weekend at Agness.

APPLEGATE - Releases from Applegate Lake jumped to 750 cfs Thursday as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepped the reservoir for weekend flood-control. That made the upper portion of the river slow for steelhead. Fish are well-distributed, but the season ends Saturday night, and conditions likely won't clear up by then. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The system was up and out of shape for steelhead fishing.

CHETCO - The river was way out of shape Thursday, and the season closes Saturday night.

ELK/SIXES - Both are way high and out of shape, and both close to angling Saturday night.

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