Fishing Report: May 3, 2013

COASTWIDE - A small-craft advisory is in effect on the south coast through tonight, then the 25-knot winds will start to subside Saturday. Fishing conditions look good for Sunday and even better for Monday along the coast. That should give salmon anglers their first shot at chinook during the ocean recreational season that opened Wednesday.

Spring jiggers will find lingcod close to shore and near kelp beds. Black, white and red jigs have been working best.

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

The ocean is open to sport and commercial crabbers, and it should be a good weekend for bay crabbing, particularly in Coos and Winchester bays.

All shellfish harvesting, including mussels, is open along the Oregon Coast. Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended unless only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.

BROOKINGS - The ocean salmon season for chinook opened Wednesday, but anglers have been blown off the water. A few might give it a shot Saturday, but expect better effort Sunday and Monday near the Oregon/California border. Bottomfishers have reported finding good schools of chinook throughout the Brookings area. Trolling anchovies with pink or purple hoochies is a good way to start. Vary your depth.

Ocean jigging has been excellent for big lingcod and rockfish at near-shore rocks along kelp lines.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has slowed amid stiff winds since last weekend. Look for surfperch to move in again Sunday or Monday as conditions improve. No one's traversed the bar for rockfish or salmon this past week amid very poor conditions.

AGATE - Fishing for bass and crappie has improved as the lake continues to warm. Look for a nice bass and crappie bite this weekend. Wind-drifting worms or casting grubs will be best. Some of the trout from the March stocking still are around, but they won't last long in the warm water. The lake was listed Thursday at 99 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Trout fishing is best near the Copper boat ramp. Hatchery technicians added 267 excess adult winter steelhead there last week, bringing to 413 the total released there so far this month. Hatchery workers are planning to release 1,000 steelhead into the lake this spring. They are legally considered trout once they're released. Only one longer than 20 inches can be kept. Catch them casting spoons, spinners and large leech flies. Some of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked in January are still around. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The lake is less than two feet from full.

DIAMOND - The north and south ramps are open, and fishing has picked up daily as the water temperature has climbed into the high 40s. The vast majority of catches are coming on Power Bait fished off the bottom in 20 feet of water, primarily along the south end. Worms fished under sliding bobbers and floated above the weed lines are also working. Fly-fishing has been slow because the insect hatches have yet to begin. The first bugs of the season could start flying early next week if the lake temperature rises above 50 degrees. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, but fish up to 27 inches already have been caught since the ice disappeared two weeks ago. The limit is eight trout per day longer than 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing is picking up near rock piles and submerged willows along the lower stretches, where the water is warmer. The lake was infused in mid-April with 3,500 legal-sized rainbows and in March with 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery in March. The steelhead are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary, and anglers can keep just one longer than 20 inches per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is 98 percent full.

EXPO - The pond received 1,300 legal-sized rainbow trout three weeks ago. Catches are best on worms, PowerBait, small Panther Martin lures and streamer flies.

FISH - The lake has inched up to 72 percent full, but the water is warming, so slow trolling for trout has become a good option. Some of last year's tiger trout could be in the 10-inch range this year, but they still must be released unharmed. Catches of rainbow trout should be good off the Forest Service boat ramp. Fish worms or PowerBait.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is ice-free and 85 percent full, with the water warming daily. The best fishing is with PowerBait or worms off the bottom in 10 to 15 feet of water. The big trout are cruising just offshore in search of food. Fishing off the marina jetty has been steady throughout the morning. The limit is five trout per day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be longer than 20 inches.

HYATT - The BLM boat ramps are open, and fishing is very good with PowerBait near the dam, around the Orchard and in the upper stretches of the lake. Trolling is slow, but look for it to improve through the old creek channel near the lake's western edge as soon as next week. The limit is five trout longer than 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout has improved, the surface temperature is up to 55 degrees, and the lake now is less than 4 feet from full. Trollers are finding a mix of 15-inch holdover trout and legals from the 25,000 fish stocked there earlier this month. Both ramps are open. Look for stocked chinook to be close to 8 inches, which is where they can start going on stringers. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait, while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers.

ROGUE - Despite good schools of fish, the lower Rogue has slowed for spring chinook salmon fishing because of very low and very clear water, while the middle Rogue has been a dead zone like it normally is for springers regardless of water levels, and the upper Rogue has been slightly better than expected considering the time of year and the water temperature.

That makes the best bet a tough call, but it's the upper Rogue at a time when steelhead fishing is segueing into springer fishing ... but at a slow pace that has upper Rogue faithful irked at the low flows and rainless skies.

Another 39 springers made it to Cole Rivers Hatchery last week, upping the count to 46. That proves the fish still are moving and catchable in migration lanes despite fall-like flows.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain around 1,840 cubic feet per second, but the tributary flows are so low that they are barely adding to the Rogue. The flow at Dodge Bridge is just 2,010 cfs, while the flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site are down to 2,220 cfs. Strangely, flows at Grants Pass were at 2,255 cfs — with barely an uptick from all those Gold Hill-area tributaries.

Still, anglers are picking up fish in migration lanes with a mix of roe and plugs. Back-bouncing in water 6 to 10 feet deep is fair and about as good as fishing roe off divers. K-15 Kwikfish wrapped with an anchovy filet is getting the occasional fish for guides, but it still is slow.

Most of the fish are in the 14- to 18-pound range. A decent number of hatchery fish have been caught, but the ratio of wild to hatchery remains high. Only fin-clipped hatchery chinook can be kept. A few late-run winter steelhead have been caught, but all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The 24-inch rule ended for the season Tuesday night.

Four bona fide summer steelhead have reached the hatchery, so you could get a surprise from one while salmon fishing. These early fish are around 10 pounds or in the 18- to 20-inch range. They bite aggressively on anything near them.

In the middle Rogue, fishing has slowed to a crawl because of poor flows, but anglers are starting to hit bank-fishing hotspots such as Rainie Falls and Hayes Falls near Gold Hill.

The lower Rogue is seeing plenty of early springers, but that's part of the problem — flows are so low and gin-clear that you can see the fish and the fish can see you. The best bite of the day is in the evening, particularly during an incoming tide, with the occasional anchovy with a spinner blade getting bit upstream of Huntley Park. Bank angling, including plunking, is slow.

APPLEGATE/CHETCO/Elk/SIXES - Fishing is closed until May 25.

UMPQUA - The river was low and clear and the spring chinook bite has slowed in the Elkton area.

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