Fishing Report: Sept. 7, 2012

COASTWIDE - Fishing-friendly seas are forecast through the weekend, which gives coastal anglers a lot of options at this time of year.

Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent, bottomfish have been biting and decent catches of lingcod are being reported. And if you don't have a boat, beaches around Brookings and Gold Beach are producing lots of surfperch.

There's no halibut fishing north of Humbug Mountain for the rest of the year, but fishing is open south of Humbug Mountain through October, and catches have been good off Brookings in water 250 to 280 feet deep.

The next minus tide series for clammers won't arrive until Sept. 15-21.

Crabbers working bays are catching plenty of Dungeness, and even though some of the crabs are a bit soft, they are filling out nicely after the molt. Ocean crabbing is open, and some bottomfishers who are dropping pots on their way to jigging reefs are doing well on days that the ocean is slow.

Tuna fishing has improved as warm water continues to scoot closer to shore off the central coast, but tuna remain far out of southern ports. Tuna fishers who went out this past week averaged three fish apiece coastwide.

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.

BROOKINGS - The chinook bite has been excellent, and most of the catch has averaged 10 to 14 pounds. Most of the best catches have been 3.5 to 6 miles out, trolling anywhere from 25 feet to 60 feet down. Lots of coho have shown up recently, and they must all be released unharmed. Deeper fishing will increase your chances for chinook. Trolling anchovies with various-colored hoochies has been best. The better colors seem to be changing almost daily. Surfperch fishing is good off Winchuck Beach.

COOS BAY - Tuna were running anywhere from 17 to 25 miles offshore this week, and the bite has been good. Bottomfish catches have been excellent, as has crabbing.

GOLD BEACH - Ocean anglers have done well for bottomfish when the ocean lays down. Chinook salmon fishing off the Rogue mouth has been good, and trolling the bay should be good this weekend after rain early in the week lowered river temperatures and put fish on the move. The bay has been best with anchovies and gold spinners, while anchovies and hoochies have been the offering of choice in the ocean. Surfperch fishing is excellent off the bay sand spit and at Nesika Beach. Use clam necks, mussels or Berkley Gulp sand worms.

AGATE - Fishing for bass, crappie and perch is very good in the evenings, while trout fishing is very slow. Wind-drifting nightcrawlers or fishing plastic grubs has been best for bass near the dam and around submerged willows or weed lines. The far upper end of the reservoir is fishing best for crappie with small jigs or black flies. No fresh trout will be released for the rest of the summer because of warm water. The lake is dropping and is 48 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - Hart-Tish boat ramp is closed for use by fire crews, but the Copper ramp remains open. Conditions may change on short notice and make access difficult, so call the Star Ranger Station at 541-899-3800 before heading out to get the latest closure information. Smallmouth bass fishing is good. Trout anglers should focus on the upper part of the lake where cooler tributaries flow in. The lake continues to drop and is listed at 46 percent full.

EMIGRANT - Fishing for legal-sized trout stocked earlier this season has slowed because of the low, warm water. Fishing worms or slow trolling near creek mouths is best. Water clarity is fair. Bank anglers using chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait have fared OK for trout, while trollers using Little Cleo's or Triple Teasers also have caught fish. The lake was listed this week as 46 percent full and dropping fast. Smallmouth bass fishing has improved off rocky banks, and a few largemouth have been taken in the willows.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Trout fishing has been fair for trollers using Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings with small pieces of worm, while some throwback anglers are doing well using Ford Fenders. Chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait are working best, along with worms seven feet or so under bobbers. Wind-drifting nightcrawlers also is good, with early mornings and dusk best. The limit is five trout per day, with one over 20 inches. The lake stayed at 76 percent full this past week, the same level as last week.

HYATT - Bass fishing is in high gear, with anglers casting a variety of red lures doing well all day. One of the BLM boat ramps at the campground is closed while it is getting rebuilt. Most of the effort has been still-fishing with PowerBait. The lake stayed steady at 72 percent full this past week — still very high for early September. The limit is five trout a day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be 20 inches or longer.

DIAMOND - The trout bite has picked up slightly with more seasonable air temperatures, though a pesky algae bloom remains in the lake. The trout bite has been scattered as fish scramble to find pockets of cool water, so they tend to be suspended in the water column and not really on the bottom. Fishing with worms under sliding bobbers in the south end has been best, while others have done well trolling F-4 Flatfish or wind-drifting crawlers on the western side of the lake. Focus on water 10 to 20 feet deep and stay mobile. Fly-fishing is best over the weeds in the south end. Damsel, leeches and woolly buggers have been best. The limit is eight trout over 8 inches long, with only one allowed over 20 inches.

EXPO - Fishing is fair at best for what remains of the 2,000 rainbow trout stocked there last month. Use worms, PowerBait and small Panther Martin lures. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park off Peninger Road.

LOST CREEK - Recent cold nights cooled the surface temperature down to 68 degrees this week, and as it gets cooler the trout fishing will get hotter. The water is still plenty warm enough for bass anglers working the coves, near the dam and off points. Holdover trout from earlier stockings are getting caught regularly by trollers near the dam or wind-drifters with worms above Peyton Bridge in the no-wake zone. Still-fishing is good with PowerBait at the Medco access and near Takelma. The lake was listed Wednesday as 48 percent full.

LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing is fair to slow for rainbows and brown trout because of warmer water, but there are lots of perch, small bass and bullhead for the taking. Wind-drifting worms from boats has been decent for rainbows and browns. Because the lake is open to fishing 24 hours a day, try trolling large spoons and lures for big browns at night.

FISH - The lake is at 48 percent capacity, and fishing for stocked chinook salmon has been good near the resort and the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp. The best trout success is coming on bait in deeper water from boats. Numerous undersized chinook, stocked in June, are biting trolled gear and bait. These fish should be released unharmed. Tiger trout, released into the lake to eat non-native chubs, are also biting and should be released unharmed.

ROGUE - Fall chinook, summer steelhead and halfpounders are being caught in the middle Rogue, while the upper Rogue has switched over to the annual flies-only season, and lower Rogue anglers are playing with a mix of fall chinook, summer steelhead and halfpounders.

That means your best bet is to go low — but how low depends on how much gas you want to burn.

The coast got a little rain early in the week, which lowered the river temperature and got fish on the move. Fall chinook fishing should be hot in the bay this weekend, and anglers have been catching fish all the way up to Agness using a variety of methods.

Then again, the middle Rogue has been hot at times this week, as well, and it's a lot closer than Gold Beach. Some anglers were limiting out in the middle river early this week, with eggs working best and K-15 Kwikfish, especially chartreuse and orange tiger, also producing fish.

The float from White Horse Park to Robertson Bridge has collected the most attention, but fish are also being caught around Taylor Creek Canyon and other usual haunts. Halfpounders are biting everything from worms to streamer flies to Panther Martin lures at most of the access points along middle Rogue riffles, while summers are falling to spinners — try Panther Martins with a black body and gold blades.

For fly-fishermen, the upper Rogue is the best bet because now is the time to take advantage of spawning chinook and relatively warm water. Streamer flies work well swung through riffles, and nymphing is good at heads of pools. For those working single salmon eggs behind spawning chinook, focus on tail-outs and steer clear of the redds.

Anglers can continue to fish for fall chinook downstream from the old Gold Ray Dam site, and fishing there should be good with Kwikfish and roe for big fish. Upstream of the dam site is closed to chinook angling, even catch-and-release.

Both wild and hatchery chinook may be kept downstream of the former Gold Ray Dam site, but all wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing, but anglers cannot target steelhead. Two adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept per day, 8-inch minimum length. All wild rainbow and cutthroat must be released unharmed.

UMPQUA - The lower mainstem Umpqua is very good for fall chinook on roe or Kwikfish. Anglers are catching summer steelhead in the North Umpqua, and the river and tributaries upstream of Soda Springs Reservoir are open for trout. You can keep two rainbow trout and any brook or brown trout you catch in addition to the rainbows. The South Umpqua is open for trout and bass fishing through Sept. 15.

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