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A winter steelhead is released on the Rogue River near Shady Cove in April. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

Fishing report, Nov. 30, 2018

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory for hazardous seas will be in effect through Sunday evening. Swells Friday will build to 12 feet, then rise to 13 feet Saturday with a chance of thunderstorms. Sunday’s forecast calls for a 10-foot swell in the morning, and eventually subsiding to a 6-foot swell. None of that is worth tackling.

The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Cabezon must be released unharmed. Rockfish angling is open beyond the 30-fathom line, and it will stay that way for the rest of the year as long as rockfish quotas remain unfilled. A descending device to help release rockfish caught in deeper water is mandatory on all boats.

Lingcod are moving closer to shore and starting to stage in shallower water in preparation for spawning. They are aggressive and will take most jigs or frozen sardines. Fishing is very good when anglers can get out.

Surfperch should be difficult to catch until the winds taper down and the fish can get closer to shore.

All recreational crabbing remains closed south of Cape Blanco, even in bays and estuaries, because of domoic acid levels. North of Cape Blanco, crabbing is allowed only in bays. The ocean is off limits to crabbers until at least Dec. 16, depending upon the outcome of domoic acid tests.

Razor clamming is closed from the mouth of the Umpqua River to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Bay clamming is open along the coast, but the recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Coquille River south jetty to the California border. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is still just 7 percent full, and there is virtually no angling action occurring. Soem fishing from the dam near the spillway has yielded a few bass, but that’s about it. The boat ramp is unusable. For anyone launching, no gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: In-flow is finally higher than outflow at the reservoir, so it has likely bottomed out for the year at 115 feet below full pool. The only boat access is the low-water ramp at French Gulch, and that’s not getting much action. Those who manage to launch will see good trolling for trout using Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm or a whole worm behind a flasher.

DIAMOND: Trout fishing has held up, but this week’s storms and snowy passes will keep anglers away. Those who fight through it could find trout off the bite until the barometric pressure stabilizes. Most of the action had been at the south end with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. The resort docks have been pulled and no rental boats are available, but all the ramps are open. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. Expect fresh snow this weekend.

EMIGRANT: The lake is up a hair to13 percent full, but look for it to inch up with runoff from this week’s rains. Few anglers are venturing through the mud to the water line. For those walking to the water, fish crankbaits around submerged rock formations for bass. All boat ramps are closed and there is no driving below the high-water line.

EXPO: Trout fishing is poor, but fishing for largemouth bass has been decent with crankbaits fished slowly.

FISH: Expect new snow this weekend. The lake is up to 31 percent full and that’s enough for the resort ramp to be operable again. Fishing has been good, near shore and over springs. PowerBait has been the bait of choice for a mix of rainbows, landlocked chinook, precocial steelhead and tiger trout, the latter of which must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: Fishing has been good for rainbow trout for still-fishers in deeper water near the dam with PowerBait. Expect snow this weekend. The lake holding steady at 33 percent full.

HYATT: Access is very poor with no workable ramps. Expect snow. The lake is actually up a hair for a change to 5 percent full. Boat access is limited to small boats that can be launched off the shore or carried to the water.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake was fishing decently for rainbows and perch with worms and PowerBait, but rain and snow likely will douse any interest in fishing until the ice season begins.

LOST CREEK: The Takelma ramp is the only usable ramp. The water level is up a hair to slightly more than 8 feet under under the normal low-pool level normally targeted for the Dec. 1 start of the flood-control season. Boat anglers are focusing around the dam and the intake tower. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worm has been very good, especially when the wind dies down. Outflows are holding steady at 1,150 cubic feet per second.

WILLOW: Trout fishing is fair to good along the lake edges for those trolling Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings. Effort is nearly nonexistent, and expect rain or snow to keep anglers away through the weekend.

SELMAC: Bass fishing is fair.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The far upper Rogue is continuing its post-Thanksgiving slowdown for summer steelhead, but the wild cutthroat trout are filling in for those still hitting the water. The middle Rogue continues to see a mix of summer steelhead and coho salmon for the small number of anglers working the area, but effort is light. Angess continues to be the best place for steelhead and halfpounders throughout the lower Rogue.

That keeps the best bet on the far upper Rogue, but barely. Few steelhead are migrating now, and most of those are pretty lethargic in frigid water temperatures ratcheted down at Lost Creek dam to retard the incubation of spring chinook salmon eggs now in the gravel. For steelhead, side-drifting roe or egg-soaked yarn balls is the main offering, as it always is in November/December. Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, angling is open only with artificial flies and lures, so it’s plugs or plastic molded egg flies (which are legally not considered flies but legal to use now). Effort there will remain light until the entire Rogue reloads for bait fishing Jan. 1. Lots of cutthroat are in the river and they all must be released unharmed. Look for a burst of activity if the rains generates enough tributary flow to warm the river but not dirty it.

That warming water caused a blip uptick in the summer steelhead migration early this week, with 70 new steelhead swimming into Cole Rivers Hatchery. Rogue flows are very low but rising slightly, with just 1,150 cfs coming out of Lost Creek Lake. Flows at Dodge Bridge were up a to a still-paltry 1,317 cfs, and 1,4634 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Those flows will increase with runoff from this weekend’s rain.

Wild summer steelhead are around most creek mouths and in tailouts sipping on loose salmon eggs, so casting roe or egg flies for them are good bets. Halfpounders are starting to show up to join what has been a steelhead catch dominated by smaller fish this year.

Anglers using plugs are hitting some summer steelhead from Valley of the Rogue State Park through Grants Pass, and Indian Mary Park down to Galice. Cop Car and black-and-silver Weewarts are working, as are MagLip lures. A few smaller steelhead are getting caught on worms or Panther Martin lures. Coho are starting to get caught upstream of Grants Pass, mainly on purple lures fished a long way off the bow of driftboats.

In the lower Rogue, the bay is a bust, with most of the action on halfpounders around Agness. Fish streamer flies, side-drift worms or cast black and yellow Panther Martins for these very aggressive fish.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to rainbow trout fishing, and only hatchery trout can be kept. Don’t expect to find them, however, because only fin-clipped winter steelhead are released there, and they are small and should be avoided. All cutthroat must be released. Rainbow trout longer than 16 inches are considered steelhead, and the river is closed to steelhead fishing until Jan. 1.

CHETCO: The Chetco was down to 2,885 cfs and dropping today before rising Saturday and Sunday. However, the rise isn’t likely enough to blow the river out like earlier this week. Fishing for falll chinook should be very good early next week in between storms. Fish are already well distributed in the system. The bobber and leader rules were suspended earlier this week. Plugs are out-producing bait and generally will as chinook are on the move.

ELK AND SIXES: The water was at 3.2 feet and relatively green Thursday at Elk River Hatchery, meaning it should have fished well for fall chinook Thursday and today.Rains are expected to leave the two rivers unfishable until perhaps Friday. When they pull into shape, look for big crowds of anglers and decent catches of fall chinook up to the hatchery.

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