Fishing Report: Friday, Feb. 23

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for 5-knot winds and wind waves of 2 feet or less today, followed Saturday by winds up to 15 knots and swells building to 5 feet. Sunday's forecast calls for winds of 15 knots and wind waves up to 2 feet, with 11-foot swells — officially a bad combination.

Lingcod fishing has been excellent on days when anglers can get out, particularly out of Brookings.

Surfperch fishing has been rock-solid at times off the Rogue River sand spit off the South Jetty, as well as at Nesika Beach, but it can turn off quickly when the surf builds up. Fish with Berkley Gulp sand worms or sandshrimp.

Crabbing is closed again in the ocean south of Cape Blanco thanks to a recurring domoic acid bloom present in Dungeness in this section of Oregon. The commercial season remains open.

Good afternoon minus tides begin Sunday and will run through the week for clammers. Razor clamming is very good in the open stretch from the Columbia River to Cascade Head, including the clam-rich Clatsop County beaches. Bay clamming and the recreational harvest of mussels was open Thursday along the entire coast, but that can change quickly, so check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before digging.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake was stocked last week with 350 larger-sized rainbow trout to go along with trout stocked in early winter. Fishing for them has been good with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. This fishery should hold on well into mid spring. The lake has been rising quickly and is up to 78 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The low-water ramp at French Gulch remains the only boat access. The lake was up Wednesday almost 5 feet from last week. Casting flies or trolling Flatfish with flashers are good options on calmer days. The lake surface temperature has risen to 41 degrees, which bodes well for rainbows.

DIAMOND: Fishing remains very good for those fishing PowerBait or worms just a few feet under bobbers at the lake's north side.The lake is ice-free, and the north boat ramp is open. The water is very cold, so trolling for trout is slow. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 48 percent full and rising slowly, up 2 percent from last week. Fishing pressure is light. The most interest is among bass anglers on warm days slowly working crankbaits near rocky areas. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours. Some holdover trout are available.

EXPO: There are still some of the 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 150 18-inchers that were stocked just before Christmas. Cast worms without weight or Panther Martins from the open bank areas. Don't forget the $4 day-use parking fee off Gate 5.

FISH: The lake was stocked last week with 700 larger-sized rainbow trout. The lake is mostly open water, and fishing has been good straight off the Forest Service ramp and in the cove near the ramp with PowerBait or leeches or woolly bugger flies, but new snows could cause some temporary access issues. Chinook, tiger and brown trout are also there. The lake was listed at 72 percent full Wednesday and holding steady.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is mostly ice-free, but the road to the boat ramp at Willow Point is not maintained in winter so it may be inaccessible from the new snow. Fishing in that area has been very good with PowerBait. The lake is 64 percent full. The marina is closed.

HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area. The lake has held steady this past week at 44 percent full. Any fishing is off the bank.

LOST CREEK: About 2,000 larger rainbow trout were stocked last week, and that has boosted an already good winter trout fishery in the lower sections of the reservoir. Flows out of Lost Creek were below 1,100 cubic feet per second, and that has helped raise the water level as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to capture as much runoff as possible from the drought-like snowpack. The lake has risen less than 2 feet the past week and is now just under the 1,835.5-foot elevation. The few anglers on the lake are finding trout by trolling green Wedding Ring lures near the dam and around the island off the Takelma boat ramp. Bank anglers using PowerBait at either side of the dam also are faring well.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is ice-free, and the Forest Service boat ramp at Rainbow Bay is open and usable. Boat anglers are finding mostly yellow perch but no kokanee, which likely are in the middle of the lake and deep.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Amid continued low and cold water, winter steelhead fishing has been fair at best in the middle Rogue, a little worse in the upper Rogue and almost nonexistent in most of the lower Rogue except for the Agness area, where boat and bank anglers jumped a pod of hatchery steelhead moving through earlier this week.

The spring chinook salmon season officially began this past week with the first confirmed catch. It was a 7-pound hatchery fish that bit a pearl-pink Spin-Glo off the bank in the lower portion of the river. While that is good news, it doesn't unseat the middle Rogue as the best bet.

Winter steelhead fishing is best from the town of Rogue River down to Robertson Bridge, primarily for boat anglers fishing with MagLip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with gold and black working best. However, fishing is a little bit slower than last week, thanks largely to even colder water conditions. A few bank anglers have hit winter steelhead in Grants Pass on worms and watermelon corkies. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 1,635 cfs and forecast to bump up some late Sunday or early Monday, but that will depend largely on how much of the weekend storm is snow or rain.

Schools of halfpounders that have entertained boat anglers in recent weeks remain below Ennis Riffle. Hatchery halfpounders under 16 inches can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. All wild halfpounders must be released unharmed. Anglers can keep one wild winter steelhead over 24 inches a day as part of the two-fish daily limit.

In the upper Rogue, winter steelhead movement has improved a bit but still isn't good. Another 25 summer steelhead and four new winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery this week. The total so far is 12 winter steelhead. The running 10-year average for this time of year is 124 winter steelhead, and last year's run already was at 257 by this time. That's the difference between wet and dry winters. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,265 cfs, lower than what they are during a dry October. Flows at Gold Ray were under 1,550 cfs. Despite cold water, occasional steelhead are biting a mix of roe, worms and corkies, and smaller plugs fished in pockets and deeper glides. A few steelhead have been taken by fly-fishers using large, weighted leeches.

In the lower Rogue, low and clear water conditions have significantly slowed what winter steelhead fishing has been occurring, except for the occasional good day in the Agness area by bank and boat anglers. Flows at Agness were under 2,500 cfs Wednesday and dropping.

APPLEGATE: Low flows have slowed winter steelhead movement, and fishing has been largely relegated to spinners fished near the bottom in deeper holes. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has slowed amid very low, clear and cold water. Flows were down to 1,038 cfs Thursday.

ELK: The river was very low and clear, with little or no winter steelhead angling.

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