Fishing Report: Nov. 30, 2012

COASTWIDE - A hazardous seas warning is in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday, and it doesn't look much better after that. Fifteen-foot seas and 25-knot winds are forecast through the weekend, putting a damper on yet another weekend.

The ocean reopens Saturday to sport crabbing, but the commercial season has been delayed until Dec. 15 to ensure good meat quality in the 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. Look for poor bay crabbing conditions well into 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 because of high water levels in the Chetco River until next 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 by still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake has edged up to 26 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 - Heavy inflows are forecast into next week from the ongoing series of storm fronts dropping rain on the region. 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 are also 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 30 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 fish there 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 following storm-fed inflows.

FISH - Trolling for trout has been 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 2 percent in the past week. 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 far 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 have been held at 2,500 cubic feet per second during the ongoing storm fronts. The water coming out of the dam is clean, so early December 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 such as orange, brown or chartreuse crayfish or pink-and-silver K-11 Kwikfish. Nymph fishing with egg flies on the point also will work, as will roe or worms with watermelon corkies (an old Rogue post-rain favorite).

Figure on plenty of summer steelhead in that stretch. Cole Rivers Hatchery workers collected 820 new summer steelhead at the hatchery following last week's rains.

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.

Flows are forecast to peak at more than 10,000 cfs Saturday at Dodge Bridge and at more than 15,000 cfs Saturday at the old Gold Ray Dam site.

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

The middle Rogue has been up and down all week, with turbidity levels way over fishable conditions. 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 following heavy rains in the Coast Range that swelled lower Rogue creeks with high, muddy flows. Flows are forecast to peak Sunday at 45,000 cfs — still well below flood stage — and bounce around most of next week. When they subside, expect to see early winter steelhead from Quosatana 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 should crest around 36,000 cfs this weekend and won't pull into fishing shape until Wednesday at the earliest. When it does, look for good schools of fresh winter steelhead scattered from the forks down to tidewater. Catches should be good early for plunkers using large Spin-Glo's fished on inside turns and gravel riffles.

UMPQUA - The mainstem and North Umpqua are forecast to jump immensely and be out of shape for early winter steelhead fishing this weekend. When the water drops, look for winter steelhead from Elkton on down. The South Umpqua opens to angling Saturday, and it should have fresh winter steelhead in it when flows drop to fishable conditions sometime next week.

COOS - The river was rising rapidly Thursday and will likely be out of shape for winter steelhead fishing into next week.

COQUILLE - The river was rising swiftly Thursday and is forecast to crest Saturday. When the river drops and clears, look for fresh winter steelhead through the South Fork and West Fork.

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