Fishing Report: Friday, March 16

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Forecasts today call for 10-knot winds and swells from 6 to 8 feet with rain. Saturday calls for much of the same, but the swells will drop to 4 feet. Sunday calls for 5-knot winds and swells up to 7 feet with rain.

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 on days when anglers can get out, particularly out of Brookings, and anglers this past week benefited from excellent ocean conditions.

Surfperch fishing has been solid at times off the Rogue River sand spit off the south jetty, as well as at Nesika Beach. Fish with Berkley Gulp sand worms or sandshrimp.

Commercial and recreational crabbing is open coast-wide.

No minus tides are forecast this week, but razor clamming has been 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 month with 350 larger-sized rainbow trout to go along with trout stocked in early winter. Fishing for them has been fair to good with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. The lake is 96 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The low-water boat ramp at French Gulch is open. The lake was up 10 feet this week to 1,925-feet elevation, and that’s more than enough to make the Copper Ramp usable. However, the concessionaire at Hart-Tish Park has not opened, so access to that ramp remains closed. Slow trolling of Flatfish or Wedding Ring lures could be good, and still-fishing in the French Gulch cove with PowerBait should be good. The surface temperature is in the low 40s.

DIAMOND: The lake is iced over but not strong enough to support safe ice fishing. When angling resumes, look for very good catches of rainbow trout on worms and PowerBait. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Tuesday at 57 percent full. The lake was stocked last month with 1,000 larger rainbow trout at the county boat ramp, and that’s where the action is for bait fishers using PowerBait or worms under bobbers. Trollers need to work Wedding Rings very slowly. Another 1,000 legal-sized rainbows are scheduled to be stocked there next week. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours.

EXPO: The pond was stocked late last month with 300 larger rainbows, and they are still getting caught on worms, PowerBait and small spinners. There is a $4 day-use parking fee off Gate 5.

FISH: The lake was stocked two weeks ago with 700 larger-sized rainbow trout, but ice and snow have since hampered access. A sno-park pass is needed to park at the Forest Service lot near the boat ramp.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is iced and snowed over, with very poor access. The boat ramp at Willow Point is open but access is not plowed. The marina is closed.

HYATT: BLM has closed the boat ramps at its recreation area. The lake is icing over and heavy snows have blocked access.

LOST CREEK: Another 20,000 larger rainbow trout will be split next week between both boat ramps. Most of the action remains on the lower third of the reservoir. Flows out of Lost Creek were hovering at 900 cubic feet per second — about as low as it goes — and that has helped raise the water level as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to capture as much runoff as possible. The lake was up to 1,844.7 feet above sea level Thursday. 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 covered with snow and ice, and access is very difficult.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Winter steelhead fishing has yet to turn on in the middle Rogue despite decent flows this past week, while the upper Rogue has yet to warm up for winter steelhead, and the lower Rogue is in the early stages of spring chinook fishing, though catches so far are few.

That makes the middle Rogue the best bet by default once again as anglers are wait for a slug of steelhead to appear upstream of Grave Creek. A few adults and a large contingent of halfpounders remain in the middle Rogue, with the best action coming downstream of Ennis Riffle with a mix of roe, plugs and worms with watermelon corkies.

Flows at Grants Pass were at 3,277 cfs and dropping Thursday and forecast to drop until Saturday, then spike briefly. For plug fishers, find a nice migration lane near willows and hammer that with MagLip 3.5 lures — black and copper or gold and black are good bets.

The cold water in the upper Rogue continues to deter migration of winter steelhead and don’t look for that to change appreciably through the weekend. Flows at Dodge Bridge were up earlier in the week but down again Thursday to 1,747 cfs and falling. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down under 2,605 cfs Thursday after being up most of the week. Fish counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery continue to tell a dismal story for the upper Rogue this winter.

The 75 winter steelhead collected Thursday at Cole Rivers brings the season count to 100. The 10-year running average for this week is 326 steelhead.

In the lower Rogue, boat anglers are running into the occasional spring chinook salmon, with three verified catches Wednesday — the best day to date. Flows at Agness were around 7,660 cfs Thursday and dropping, ideal for lower Rogue spring chinook. Anchovies or pink-pearl Spin-Glo’s are best.

Anglers can now keep one wild winter steelhead longer than 24 inches river-wide, and no more than five per year.

APPLEGATE: After a spike in flows earlier this week appeared to bring some fresh winter steelhead into the lower Applegate, flows have started to drop again. Flows at the town of Applegate were back down to 216 cfs Thursday. Fish pools with spoons and spinners. Fly-fishing has been slow. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: Flows dropped to about 5,400 cfs Thursday and were forecast to tick up again through the weekend, and that could slow winter steelhead fishing. Look for good late-season catches as the water drops.

ELK: Excellent river conditions have pulled some fresh winter steelhead into the Elk, and fishing for them was good earlier this week on roe and plugs in the lower two-thirds of the river.

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