Fishing Report: Sept. 27, 2013

COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for a storm to move in over the weekend that will ratchet up the winds and seas by Saturday evening. Forecasts are for 25-knot winds Saturday and 30-knot winds Sunday, along with 15-foot swells. That will put a damper on Tuesday's start of the chinook salmon season in the ocean off the mouth of the Chetco River.

The restriction to bottomfish fishing inside the 30-fathom line for everything but tuna will be lifted Tuesday morning, but don't expect too much deep-water action thanks to poor seas.

Tuna fishers have stopped running out far now that cooler water conditions have settled in.

Shellfishers will not get any morning minus tides they can take advantage of this week. Mussel harvest from the California border north to Cape Arago near Coos Bay remains closed.

The only halibut fishing across the vast majority of Oregon is south of Humbug Mountain, where activity has been somewhat light except for some halibut fishing out of Brookings.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Cabezon may be kept through Sept. 30, with a limit of one per day at least 15 inches long as part of that seven-fish aggregate. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

It is likely to be a rough weekend for bay crabbing thanks to stepped-up winds. However, the crab are in very good condition for eating now.

Mussel harvest is closed from the mouth of Yachats River south to the California border.

BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing resumes Tuesday off the Chetco River mouth, but the action likely won't get going until later in the week once the heavy winds subside. Chetco-bound chinook tend to hold near the bottom, so slowly trolling anchovies near the bottom or skipping them along the ocean floor, while trolling with banana sinkers are good bets for this fishery, which runs through Oct. 13.

Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good. Anglers should release large female lingcod to help recruitment.

Surfperch fishing has been on-again, off-again at Winchuck Beach depending on the winds, so it's likely to be an iffy weekend for surfperch. When the winds die down, catch them on bright streamer flies, clam necks, mussels or plastic, imitation crayfish.

GOLD BEACH - A mix of chinook and coho salmon are in the bay, and Wednesday brought a decent flurry of catches, but overall success has been rather light. Indian Creek-bound chinook have not shown up in force yet, but they could any day. Surfperch fishing has fallen off from the sand spit off the bay's south jetty. Bottomfishing for black rockfish and lingcod remains very good outside of Gold Beach when anglers can get out, which doesn't look possible this weekend.

Bay fishing remains slow for chinook.

AGATE - Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked OK for crappie, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows. A few bass are biting plastic worms and grubs. The lake is down to just 12 percent full, but this week's rains should reverse, at least temporarily, the rapid drop. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake has been largely ignored by trout anglers, but a few are trolling higher up in the lake and faring well for rainbows on Wedding Rings with worms or using PowerBait off the bank near the Copper ramp. Evenings are best. Trout fishing in the Seattle Bar area is a no-go now that the lake is down to 61 feet from full. Bass fishing has been very good off points and in coves as well as near the dam.

DIAMOND - The lake has picked up again for rainbow trout with the arrival of cooler water. Most of the action lately has been still-fishing with PowerBait in the deepest areas of the lake. Fly-fishing has been good on chironomids and woolly buggers. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are 10 inches or more now. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be more than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been good in the evenings off rocky points and near submerged willows. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is down to 24 percent full and dropping rather rapidly. Trout are holding off the mouth of Emigrant Creek and can be caught there on worms and woolly bugger flies.

EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout is poor. A few crappie and bluegill are getting caught by anglers using worms under bobbers.

FISH - Fishing for rainbow trout is decent from the bank despite the lake being less than one-quarter full Thursday. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm behind a Ford Fender has worked well. Boat access is a problem at the Forest Service ramp for even small boats, but the resort ramp is functional for $5 a day. For trout, mornings and evenings are best in the deeper recesses of the lake. Some of last year's tiger trout are as long as 12 inches now, but they must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Early-morning fishing is the best bet for the lake, with the action dying off dramatically during the day and kicking back in around dusk. No new trout have been stocked recently. Anchoring in deep water and fishing PowerBait has been best, while trollers have worked the middle of the lake with some success. Bass fishing has slowed as cooler weather has sunk in. Largemouth are hitting a variety of crankbaits and plastic worms during warmer days. The lake is at 59 percent of full heading into the final month of fishing.

HYATT - Fishing is fair with PowerBait near the dam, around the Orchard and in the upper stretches of the lake. Trolling the old creek channel near the lake's western edge can be good, especially in the evenings. Catches have been light, but the percentage of trout 16 to 20 inches long is high. The lake is down to 56 percent of full.

LOST CREEK - The lake is back under a voluntary advisory against water contact after another bloom of blue-green algae gripped the lake. Smallmouth bass were hitting plastic worms and crankbaits off rocky points, primarily in the mornings and evenings off points. The lake is down to 1 foot from its normal low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has fallen to 64 degrees. Look for that to continue dropping.

WILLOW - Trolling for trout has been fair to good during early mornings and evenings. Crappie and other panfish are being caught consistently with worms under bobbers or jigs.

ROGUE - Fall chinook salmon fishing has slowed in the Grants Pass area just as the last weekend of the season hits. The flies-only season is in full swing in the upper Rogue, where dropping water temperatures have started to slow the streamer bite in favor of nymphing or egg patterns behind spawning chinook. The lower Rogue is seeing a decent bite for coho and chinook, but catches remain rather light for late September. That makes the best bet the upper Rogue for driftboaters and waders.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake have dropped to 1,100 cubic feet per second, and they are scheduled to remain at that level at least through Thursday. The unfortunate thing is that the releases from Lost Creek Lake are at 49 degrees instead of the more steelhead-friendly 56 degrees of earlier this month. That means anglers need to start divesting themselves of streamers in favor of egg patterns fished behind spawning chinook. Remember not to wade into the redds, just carefully move around them.

Summer steelhead numbers reaching Cole Rivers Hatchery continue to come in around 50 fish a week now, and look for that to run pretty steady for the next few weeks. That has fewer anglers targeting the Hatchery Hole.

The steelhead are mostly congregated in tailouts behind spawning salmon, sometimes in very shallow water. Catches are best on overcast days or late in the evening.

The flies-only rules stay in effect through October in the upper Rogue, which is now defined as water upstream of the Fishers Ferry boat ramp.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

In the middle Rogue, chinook fishing upstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp closes Monday night for the season, sending middle Rogue anglers scrambling for their steelhead rods. Water levels are very low, with just 1,556 cfs of water recorded in Grants Pass. That will help fly-fishing for summer steelhead at tailouts and the heads of pools, primarily at dusk.

The lower Rogue bay picked up a little this week for a mix of chinook and coho salmon. Trolling anchovies with spinner blades is far outproducing the cut-plug herring some anglers are using. The Indian Creek fish have yet to show in force, but expect these big chinook to move into the bay at any time. That's when trolling or casting spinners from the bank near the creek mouth will improve dramatically. In the Agness area, fishing for halfpounders and adult steelhead has been good in the mornings and evenings. Catch the halfpounders and adults on everything from streamer flies to fake egg clusters, crayfish plugs and Panther Martin lures.

In the far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Lake, the traditional Friday stocking of trout is done until next May.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for trout fishing. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target steelhead when they reach the river during trout season.

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