Fishing Report: Nov. 23, 2012

COASTWIDE - Another weekend of high surf is in the forecast, with 10-foot or larger seas into next week as yet another series of storms move in.

The ocean is now off-limits to sport crabbing through November. Sport crabbing will open in the ocean Dec. 1 despite a recent declaration that commercial crabbing will be delayed in the ocean until Dec. 15 because of poor meat quality in offshore Dungeness.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, and no cabezon may be kept for the rest of 2012. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

Dungeness crab catches have plummeted this week thanks to heavy inflows of fresh water into bays and even flooding in places such as the Chetco and Coquille rivers. That pushes Dungeness out to sea in search of saltier water. Look for poor crabbing in bays throughout most or all of the next week.

GOLD BEACH - Rain and wind has blown the bay fishery away for now, as well as in the stretches upriver of the estuary. Perch fishing has been poor.

BROOKINGS - Bay effort is nonexistent thanks to flood levels on the Chetco earlier this week.

AGATE - Trout-fishing effort has slowed dramatically, but warming water temperatures after this week's rains could jump-start the fishing. Available are some of October's stocking of 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout. Catching will be best still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake has edged up to 25 percent full. Fish spinner baits or plastic worms for bass during the middle of the day. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - The inflows from this week's storms have jumped the lake elevation back to 80 feet from full. Fishing pressure is very light, with a few anglers still targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm is working well. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms also are good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - Fish are more concentrated with the low water levels. Smallmouth bass fishing is best off rocky banks, and a few largemouth have been taken in the willows. The lake is up to 27 percent full. The lake is open year-round.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Fishing is closed until April.

HYATT - Fishing is closed until April.

DIAMOND - The lake closed Oct. 31 but will reopen Jan. 1 under new rules that make the lake a year-round fishery.

EXPO - Fishing and interest have waned now that anglers have picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. Catch what's left of them on worms under bobbers or small Panther Martin lures. The limit is five trout per day with only one over 20 inches. The pond is open year-round.

LOST CREEK - A voluntary advisory against water contact at the lake has kept most anglers away. Those who go are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing until the blue-green algae advisory is lifted. The lake was up to more than two feet above minimum pool this week thanks to storm-fed inflows.

FISH - Trolling for trout was fair with Triple Teasers or other lures spiked with a piece of worm. Lots of big rainbows in the mix, as well as legal-sized chinook. For bank anglers, chartreuse PowerBait is working well near the resort and Forest Service boat ramp. Good water clarity was reported this week. The lake is open year-round. It was listed Thursday at 52 percent full, up 10 percent because of recent rains. The lake is open year-round.

LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing for rainbow and brown trout has been fair near the resort. PowerBait has been the top choice. Evening fishing has been best. The lake is open year-round.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed for the season.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue could be the only show in town today and perhaps through the weekend after a series of storm fronts have left most of the Rogue high, muddy and not in shape for late-run summer steelhead fishing.

That leaves the far upper Rogue the best bet, if not the only bet, for a bit. Flows out of Lost Creek dam more than doubled to 2,500 cubic feet per second after last week's rains swelled the reservoir by almost 2 feet. That water is clean, so post-Thanksgiving anglers at least will be able to fish the Hatchery Hole off the banks or float driftboats from the Cole Rivers Hatchery ramp to Casey State Park. That stretch has several good steelhead riffles, especially the long glide above and under the Highway 62 bridge. That stretch will fish well with plugs like orange, brown or chartreuse crayfish or pink-and-silver K-11 Kwikfish. Nymph fishing with egg flies on the point will also work, as will roe or worms with watermelon corkies (an old Rogue post-rain favorite).

After that things get a little sketchy. If the latest rains turn Big Butte Creek into the murky tributary that it often is, then steelheading downstream from Casey State Park will be a bust. But once Bear Creek stops roiling, the stretch down to Shady Cove could produce some very nice late-run summer steelhead fishing with plugs and bait, primarily for driftboaters. Stick to slower water near cut banks and under hanging trees.

Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, the water is open to artificial flies and lures. Scented yarn flies side-drifted from boats or the bank are the main choice for anglers. For driftboaters, crayfish plugs have been the lure of choice, with chartreuse, brown and even orange/brown colors all working well.

But watch for yo-yo-ing flows, with dropping water levels far more fish-friendly than rising levels. Also, don't expect the Lost Creek dam outflows to remain steady. Look for them to rise after the last wave of storms, and that could even put the far upper stretch into poor fishing shape briefly when it happens.

The middle Rogue has been up and down all week, with turbidity counts way above fishable levels. Check the turbidity gauge at the Grants Pass water-treatment plant. When it drops below 15 NTUs, consider a summer steelhead trip. Most of the middle Rogue fish will be hanging around creek mouths and in flats waiting to spawn, with the vast majority of them wild steelhead. No winter steelhead should be around yet, but a few more rains could drag a few to the Galice area in early December.

In the Agness area, flows were way up this week largely because of the heavy rains in the Coast Range, swelling lower Rogue creeks with high, muddy flows that hit the Rogue. Flows are forecast to bounce around most of next week. When they subside, expect to see early winter steelhead from Quosatana on down to Huntley Park, with plunkers using large Spin-Glo's to intercept them along gravel bars in water 3 to 5 feet deep.

Only fin-clipped halfpounders, fin-clipped cohos and fin-clipped adult summer steelhead may be kept, but the stretch is open to retention of wild fall chinook. Any steelhead under 16 inches long is considered a halfpounder.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

CHETCO - The river was at flood stage earlier this week and is forecast to remain way out of fishing shape easily through the weekend. When flows drop hard and fast, start looking for winter steelhead from Ice Box on down to the top of tidewater. Thanksgiving storms always bring bright steelhead into the Chetco, with catches often best on roe and corkies fished on inside turns of gravel bars and riffles.

UMPQUA - The mainstem and North Umpqua were way high and out of shape for late-run coho fishing. Look for winter steelhead from Elkton on down after the river finally drops and clears. The South Umpqua is closed to all angling through November.

COOS - The river was up and out of shape at near flood stage this week. When it drops, look for early-run winter steelhead in the Coos and Millicoma streams.

COQUILLE - The river eclipsed flood stage earlier this week and conditions appear as though they will be out of shape for angling for another week or so. How much rain falls will decide when anglers will return. When they do, look for fresh winter steelhead in the lower South Fork.

ELK - The river was near flood stage this week. When flows subside, look for a mix of late-run fall chinook salmon and early-run winter steelhead from the hatchery on down to tidewater.

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