COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for small-craft advisories, gale warnings and hazardous-seas warnings today, with winds up to 35 knots and swells to 16 feet. While the winds are expected to taper off significantly Saturday, the forecast still calls for 15-knot winds and swells of up to 11 feet with showers. Sunday calls for 15-knot winds and 7-foot swells.
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. This, however, is not shaping up to be one of those weekends.
Surfperch fishing has been 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 remains closed in the ocean south of Cape Blanco thanks to a recurring domoic acid bloom present in Dungeness in this section of Oregon. The remainder of Oregon beaches and bays remain open to crabbing. The commercial season remains open, as well.
Evening minus tides continue tonight and Saturday 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.
AGATE: The lake was stocked two weeks ago 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. This fishery should hold on well into mid spring. The lake has been rising quickly and is up to 89 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 is the only boat access, but effort and pressure are virtually nonexistent. The lake was up Wednesday to the 1,914-foot elevation, so other ramps will be accessible soon. Casting flies or trolling Flatfish with flashers are good options on calmer days. The urface temperature has risen to 41 degrees, which bodes well for rainbow anglers.
DIAMOND: The lake iced over last weekend amid very cold weather, but the ice thickness is variable and should not be considered safe. Fishing had been very good when the lake was ice-free. When angling resumes, all tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 51 percent full and rising slowly, up 3 percent from last week. The lake was stocked two weeks ago 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. The county boat ramp is open during daylight hours.
EXPO: The pond was stocked two weeks ago with 300 larger rainbows, and they are still getting caught on worms, PowerBait and small spinners. Don't forget the $4 day-use parking fee off Gate 5.
FISH: The lake was stocked two weeks ago with 700 larger-sized rainbow trout but new snow and ice have hampered access. The lake was listed at 74 percent full Thursday, up 2 percent in the past week.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is icing up, and heavy snow has hurt access. The boat ramp at Willow Point is open but access is not plowed. The lake is 63 percent full, down a hair from last week. 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. The lake was listed Thursday at 42 percent full, down 2 percent in the past week.
LOST CREEK: About 2,000 larger rainbow trout were stocked two weeks ago, and that has ramped up an already good winter trout fishery in the lower sections of the reservoir. Flows out of Lost Creek were dropped to 1,000 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. The lake has risen about 2½ feet the past week and was right at the 1,838-foot elevation 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 and should get worse as more snow moves into the Cascades.
ROGUE: A storm front bringing heavy snow and rain should raise the Rogue some and get winter steelhead moving just in time for the season to get going before it goes away. Flows will dirty river-wide today, then drop Saturday before bumping up again Sunday. That could mean the first real winter steelhead fishing in the upper Rogue this weekend and into next week as anglers river-wide continue to look for winter steelhead.
It sure hasn't kicked off appreciably yet in the upper Rogue, though it's the best bet largely because it should have the best water. Only five more winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery this past week, bumping the count up to 17. The 10-year running average is 156 fish, and last year there were 315 here by this time.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were up to 1,552 cfs Thursday and forecast to peak around 2,300 cfs today. That's not high, but the outflow at Lost Creek Lake is down to 1,000 cfs so most of that water is turbid. When it starts to drop and clear Saturday, start prospecting for winter steelhead with roe, yarn flies or worms and watermelon corkies. Plugs can be good in migration lanes, particularly rattlers in these conditions.
Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were about 2,100 cfs and forecast to peak around 3,000 cfs today. But that could all change if the snow turns more into localized rain.
In the middle Rogue, winter steelhead fishing has been spotty at best from the town of Rogue River down to Robertson Bridge, where a handful of boat anglers fishing MagLip 3.0 and 3.5 lures run into a steelhead occasionally. Gold and black work best. Flows at Grants Pass were up to 2,228 cfs Thursday and forecast to peak around 3,000 cfs later today.
Schools of halfpounders that have entertained boat anglers in recent weeks remain below Ennis Riffle, but those likely will ride this rise in flows out of here as they head back to the ocean in March. 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 longer than 24 inches a day as part of the two-fish daily limit.
In the lower Rogue, most winter steelhead have moved out of the lower river, and anglers are hitting nearby streams while waiting for spring chinook to show themselves in decent numbers. That hasn't happened yet, but it's early. Flows at Agness were up Thursday to 4,866 cfs, more than twice that of a week ago.
APPLEGATE: Low flows have slowed winter steelhead movement, and fishing has been largely relegated to spinners fished near the bottom in deeper holes. Flows at the town of Applegate were down to 219 cfs and dropping. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
CHETCO: Flows skyrocketed Thursday to just under 6,000 cfs and were rising, then they are forecast to drop slowly from later today through next week. That should create more good winter steelhead catches after a nice flurry this past week. Side-drifting roe or soaked egg balls is best, with plugs secondary.
ELK: The river shot up Thursday to 5.8 feet of 47-degree water and a murky-green color at the Elk River Hatchery. As water starts to drop today, look for very good winter steelhead fishing through the weekend and into next week at both the Elk and Sixes rivers.