COASTWIDE: Today’s forecast calls for 5-knot winds and swells up to 5 feet, which should bode well for bottomfishers as well as chinook trollers. Saturday sees winds kicking up to 20 knots and wind waves building to 6 feet, and that’s enough to separate a man from his lunch. Sunday’s forecast calls for much of the same as Saturday.
The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Anglers are allowed to fish for midwater rockfish species outside 40 fathoms using 30-foot leaders and floats to stay off the bottom. The midwater species limit is 10 per day.
Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers can get out, particularly out of Brookings, and this is one where rockfishers will be hugging closer to shore and in coves, so don’t expect much in the world of halibut.
The ocean chinook salmon season is open, and catches have been fairly decent for this early in the season. Trollers out of Brookings are working near the California border, trolling slowly 150 feet to 180 feet down. The Southern Oregon coastal chinook season runs through Aug. 26.
Surfperch fishing should be very good through the weekend at places such as Nesika and Winchuck Beach, as well as Cape Blanco, particularly near the mouth of Elk River. Fish with Berkley Gulp sand worms or sandshrimp as well as lug worms.
Commercial and recreational crabbing is open coast-wide, but ocean and dock crabbing in Charleston have slowed.
Another nice stretch of morning minus tides runs through Sunday, and today’s minus tide of .8 feet hits Brookings at 8:27 a.m. This weekend is Free Fishing Weekend, when everyone can fish, crab or clam without licenses and tags Saturday and Sunday. Razor clamming has been very good in the open stretch from the Columbia River to Cascade Head, including the clam-rich Clatsop County beaches. That open area was extended last week all the way to the Yachats River thanks to decreased levels of domoic acid in Dungeness tested in that zone. That joined the recent opening for razor clams on beaches from the Umpqua River’s south jetty to Cape Arago south of Coos Bay. The rest of the coast is closed to razors because of elevated levels of domoic acid. Bay clamming and the recreational harvest of mussels is open along the entire coast, but that can change quickly, so check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before digging.
AGATE: The lake still has some larger hold-over trout from the April stocking, but most of the action is on perch and bass near the submerged willows. Wind-drift worms with light weight or just a swivel, cast small spinners or flies. The lake is down to 91 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake is down a little more than a foot from full as inflows have dropped to almost 100 cubic feet per second less than inflows. The rainbow trout are well dispersed in the lake, but most of the action has been in the Seattle Bar area and around the mouth of Carberry Creek and points in the upper reservoir. Bass fishing is good around wood. Slow trolling of Flatfish or Wedding Ring lures could be good for trout, and still-fishing in the French Gulch cove with PowerBait should be good. The surface temperature was up inching close to 70 degrees.
DIAMOND: Trout fishing has been excellent and will only get better now that 20,000 more legal-sized trout were stocked at the north boat ramp this week in preparation for Free Fishing Weekend. The lake’s rainbows are very active, and catches have been excellent, with most anglers getting their five-trout limit with a little effort. Still-fishers and fly-fishers working the south side, the shrimp beds and the old cheese hole have done very well. Fish worms about 5 feet under bobbers and PowerBait off the bottom, as well as chironomid flies stripped slowly in the bottom half of the water column. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake is down just a hair to 75 percent full. The lake was stocked two weeks ago with 1,000 rainbow trout at the county boat ramp. Expect to see some action around there during this weekend’s Free Fishing Weekend. Look for bait fishers using PowerBait or worms under bobbers to do the most damage. Trollers should use Flatfish or Wedding Ring lures with worms, with or without dodgers. Bass fishing has been good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly, and with crankbaits deep. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours.
EXPO: The pond was stocked with another 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout this week for Free Fishing Weekend. While no events are planned here this weekend, look for plenty of activity. Action should be excellent with worms, PowerBait and small spinners. There is a $4 day-use parking fee off Gate 5, and that is not waived by Jackson County during Free Fishing Weekend.
FISH: The lake got another 3,500 legal-sized trout earlier this week in preparation for Free Fishing Weekend. That’s on top of 4,500 legal-sized rainbows and 500 trophy rainbows stocked there three weeks ago. Look for good fishing in the marina area and the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp with PowerBait, worms and small spinners. The lake is hosting the only organized Free Fishing Weekend event in Jackson County Saturday, but not Sunday. The lake rose a tad to 84 percent full this past week. Streamer flies and small Rapala plugs that look like tui chubs will start working for bigger rainbows and brown trout now that the water is warming.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is fishing well for rainbow trout for still-fishers with PowerBait in the shallows in the morning, and for trollers working the lake’s far-side channel with Wedding Ring or Tasmanian Devil lures. All of the resort facilities are open, but the campground is booked for Memorial Day weekend. The lake was stocked earlier this month with 7,500 legal-sized rainbows. The lake was listed Thursday at 61 percent full, down a hair from last week.
HYATT: The lake received another 7,450 legal-sized trout this past week in preparation for Free Fishing Weekend. The BLM’s campground and Mountain View boat ramp are open, and the lake level is at 40 percent full, where it bottomed out last year. That likely will work for most trailered ramps, but be sure to scout it closely before launching. Trolling and still-fishing for trout have been very good near the dam, in the Orchard area and along the creek channel. Trollers should work the shorelines and the old creek channel.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is fishing well for rainbows and perch with worms and PowerBait, while trolling Tasmanian Devils has been good for trout. Brown trout fishing and kokanee catches have been slow.
LOST CREEK: Another 10,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 1,500 larger trout were stocked two weeks ago, giving them plenty of time to get acclimated by this weekend. Expect busy boat ramps on both sides of the lake. Fishing is best near the Takelma ramp, around the island and trolling the far portion of the dam’s face. Flows out of Lost Creek will be holding steady at 2,250 cubic feet per second through the weekend as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the lake hovering just 5 feet from full. Bank anglers using PowerBait at either side of the dam also are faring well.
WILLOW: The lake was stocked last week with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 1,500 larger trout in time for Free Fishing Weekend. Catch them near the county boat ramp and straight out in the lake from there. Bass fishing is picking up. The lake was listed this week at 98 percent full.
SELMAC: The lake received 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago, and another 1,000 legals were added earlier this week in preparation for Free Fishing Weekend. Catch them on PowerBait, small spinners and woolly bugger flies.
ROGUE: Chinook salmon fishing is starting to get a little more consistent in the upper Rogue, and early summer steelhead are starting to show up in the mix. The middle Rogue is slow for chinook, as is expected, and the lower Rogue remains a tough springer show, and anglers are hoping June makes up for it.
That makes the upper Rogue the best bet this weekend, but expect serious crowds because it’s Free Fishing Weekend, when anyone can cast for springers without a license or tag. All regular angling rules and limits apply.
Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians collected another 241 spring chinook this week at the hatchery collection pond, upping the previously anemic counts to 1,100 springers. That’s the best in three years and just shy of the 10-year running average of 1,384 chinook. Upper Rogue catches have been reflecting that, for both bankies and boat anglers. Bank anglers are somewhat consistently getting spring chinook early in the morning at the Hatchery Hole, while driftboaters are doing best upstream of Shady Cove. Fish by back-bouncing roe and sandshrimp combinations or use MagLip 3.5 or 3.0 plugs scented, but don’t abandon the smaller Kwikfish wrapped with sardines.
Another five summer steelhead showed up at the hatchery this week, upping the early total to 37 fish. That’s not enough to start targeting summers, but it is encouraging. They’ll hit everything, and they range from under 20 inches to 12 pounds. But be wary, late-run or spawned-out winter steelhead can look bright, but their meat will be of poor quality and should be released. Regardless, all wild steelhead must be released unharmed river-wide for the remainder of the year.
Flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge held steady this week at a little over 2,300 cfs and they are expected to stay there. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just under 2,500 cfs Wednesday.
In the middle Rogue, bank anglers are either pounding Hayes or Rainie falls or heading upriver. A few springers have come to driftboat anglers between Rogue River and Grants Pass on roe or plugs. Flows Thursday at Grants Pass were pretty low at 2,459 cfs Wednesday.
In the lower Rogue, the spring chinook bite has remained slow for plunkers and boat anglers.
In the far upper Rogue, trout are stocked weekly, and fishing for them is consistently good with worms and single salmon eggs at places like Union Creek Campground.
APPLEGATE: The river opened 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 also be released. Any rainbow trout over 16 inches is considered a steelhead, and the river is closed to steelhead fishing until Jan. 1.
CHETCO: The river is open to trout angling, and sea-run cutthroat trout should be present in the lower river and estuary.