Fishing Report: Sept. 30, 2011

Coastwide - Ocean anglers can venture past the 20-fathom line for the remainder of the season beginning tomorrow after bottomfish restrictions to curb the bycatch of yelloweye rockfish wane. Also, near-shore halibut anglers will be able to fish for and keep bottomfish starting Saturday, as that rule also sunsets for the season.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Cabezon can no longer be kept by boat anglers because the quota has been met. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

A storm front moving in will dump rain and increasingly mess with ocean swells from Saturday morning through Sunday. Winds as high as 50 mph out of the south are forecast for next week.

The ocean coho season is over coastwide in the ocean, but anglers are fishing for them in some bays, including Coos, Coquille and Rogue.

Clatsop beaches will reopen to clamming Saturday once the seasonal conservation closure lapses next week, but the latest minus series of tides is petering out coastwide.

Beaches from the mouth of the Columbia River down to Cape Meares are closed to mussel harvest, but the rest of the coast is open.

BROOKINGS - The ocean salmon season reopens Saturday off the Chetco mouth and stays open through Oct. 12. Slowly troll cut-plug or whole herring or sardines near the bottom as slowly as you can.

CHARLESTON - Coho fishing has closed for the season in the ocean, and the bay is open for wild and hatchery coho. Fishing for coho and chinook has been very good in the bay this week, with great catches near the jetties, off the public dock in Coos Bay and at the mouth of Daniel's Creek. Trolling cut-plug herring behind flashers works best.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has slowed amid choppy seas. Decent catches of rockfish have come when anglers have been able to get across the bar.

Trolling the bay for chinook remains good, with chinook starting to stack up near the Indian Creek mouth. Trolling cut-plug herring with a gold spinner has worked. Coho are starting to show up in decent numbers, but the ratio of hatchery to wild coho remains very low on the fin-clipped side.

Bank anglers are hooking chinook near the creek mouth.

BANDON - Trolling for chinook remains good to very good with cut-plug herring all the way up to Rocky Point. Some striped bass have shown up in the lower bay, and they can be caught by casting and retrieving large Rapala lures that look like salmon smolts.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Chinook catches have been very good for trollers. Wild coho fishing is open and catches have been extremely good. Crabbing has been steady but the overall Dungeness catch has been low in the estuary.

Lake Outlook

AGATE - Water levels have dropped quickly, and the lake is now at 40 percent full. Cooling temperatures have not helped restart the trout fishery, but good catches of bass and crappie continue on nightcrawlers and plastic worms. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - Trout anglers are still getting fish by trolling worms with flashers or Triple Teasers off points. Look for improved trout catches with the cooler water. Smallmouth bass are biting plastic worms and small crankbaits near the dam and off points. The French Gulch and Copper boat ramps are usable. Hart-Tish Park is open. For updates on facilities, call 541-899-9220.

EMIGRANT - The lake has warmed and dropped significantly, and the lake is now almost half full. Trout fishing is slow, but it is best in the cooler waters in the Emigrant Arm. Catch them by casting a worm on a hook with no weights. Good water conditions have helped the bass and perch bites lakewide, with perch fishing best in the willows and bass off rocky points and around Songer Wayside.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is starting to see a better trout bite now that cooler temperatures have hit the Dead Indian Plateau. Anglers fishing deep and in the early mornings and late evenings along the channel have seen the best success. Success along the jetty near the resort has been spotty, as is fishing near Grizzly Campground. The lake is holding at about 80 percent full.

HYATT - Fishing near the dam and around the Orchard has been fair for trout with chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait. Late evening has been best. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent for those wind-drifting worms or casting and retrieving any red spinner or spoon. The lake is 86 percent full.

DIAMOND - The lake continues to show good water quality and clarity. Trollers and anchored anglers are doing very well for trout up to 25 inches on F-4 Flatfish or Triple Teasers. Fly-fishers are using black or olive leeches in the south end, with mornings and evenings best. For PowerBaiters, float your bait about 4 feet above the bottom for rainbows feeding on insects and freshwater shellfish on the weeds. If you go 15 minutes without a bite, move. The trout limit is eight, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. One smaller rainbow with an orange tag in its dorsal fin is worth $500 to whomever catches it. Check it in at the resort if you catch it.

EXPO - Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout with Panther Martin lures, PowerBait and worms under bobbers.

LOST CREEK - The lake is under a voluntary advisory against water contact after another bloom of blue-green algae hit the lake. Fishing effort has dropped substantially. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is all but unusable, but the Takelma Ramp near the dam is operable at all water levels. Smallmouth bass fishing is very good in the mornings and evenings for jiggers and those casting rubber worms in the weeds.

FISH - The lake's water quality is good and fishing is fair to good with PowerBait or worms for rainbow trout near the center of the lake. Trollers are also picking up stocked chinook salmon, which are treated legally as trout. They run up to about 11 inches.

LEMOLO - A voluntary advisory against water contact has been lifted. Trolling for big brown trout should be good, and fly-fishers using woolly buggers or leeches are finding a mix of rainbows and browns.

WILLOW - Fishing is fair for legal-sized and larger rainbow trout stocked there earlier this year. Troll deep and slow, or fish PowerBait off the bottom.

River Outlook

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is flowing low and in good shape to fish egg flies behind chinook for steelhead, while the middle Rogue around Robertson Bridge is starting to taper off for fall chinook largely because most of the fish there are getting dark. Fall chinook fishing is good in the lower Rogue bay as more coho start to move into the mix.

That shifts the best bet to the lower Rogue, where early October often sees a good push of late-run fall chinook and plenty of coho in the bay. Also, lower water conditions have really jump-started fly-fishing for halfpounders and adult summer steelhead downstream from the mouth of the Illinois River down to Lobster Bar. Swinging flies or twitching flies from driftboats works great for halfpounders, with the occasional adult in the mix.

Trollers in the bay are finding a mix of coho and chinook, with the Indian Creek fish starting to make a good showing.

In the middle Rogue, anglers using Kwikfish wrapped with sardine filets are finding good numbers of big fall chinook, but the yuck factor is starting to take over with dark fish. A good school of fresher chinook should be showing any day down in the Galice area. Swinging or twitching flies for summer steelhead has picked up in the Grants Pass area now that river flows have dropped and stabilized. Most are wild steelhead that must be released unharmed.

In the upper Rogue, it's flies-only now through October from the Hatchery Hole down to the old Gold Ray Dam site. Anglers can use up to three flies and a bubble regardless of what kind of rod or reel is used. However, no added weights or attachments, including swivels or lead, are allowed.

Flows are out of Lost Creek Lake are a fly-fisher-friendly 1,149 cubic feet per second. Look to fish egg patterns below spawning beds. Catches have been a bit slow this week, but look for steelheading to rebound once outflows stay stabilized at these rates.

Now is the time to swing streamers with sink-tip lines in riffles and tail-outs before water temperatures drop and the steelhead get less active. Bank anglers can use spinning rods, ugly bugs and prince nymphs. But this might be the last week for that because out-flow temperatures have dropped to 49 degrees, and as they continue to drop the steelhead will be less apt to rise.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing. All wild trout, including cutthroat, must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target spawning winter steelhead in the Applegate.

UMPQUA - Excellent catches of chinook and coho are reported in the lower end of the mainstem river. Summer steelhead catches are low in the lower North Umpqua, where all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The South Umpqua remains excellent for smallmouth bass in the Elkton area. South Umpqua flows have been dropping consistently, and that has helped for bass catches on rubber worms and crayfish flies.

CHETCO - With the mainstem closed upstream of river mile 2.2, anglers will find good cutthroat fishing on any of the tributaries entering into the Chetco. The South Fork Chetco has some of the best public access and is in a very remote setting. The mainstem Chetco upstream of BPA powerline crossing at river mile 2.2 is closed to all angling, including trout, through Nov. 4. Tributaries to the Chetco remain open for trout through Oct. 31.

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