Fishing Report: Friday, March 24

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Pretty iffy conditions are expected on the ocean today, but things will slowly get better through the weekend if the forecasts pan out. Today is predicted to bring 15-knot winds and wind waves up to 11 feet, followed Saturday by 5-knot winds and swells up to 9 feet. Sunday's forecast calls for winds up to 20 knots but just 6-foot wells.

Rockfish anglers have new bag limits for 2017. Canary rockfish are part of the seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish as part of that seven-fish aggregate limit. Also, there's a new, combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are off-limits.

Rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device and use it when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper. Anglers can venture past the 20-fathom line.

Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and estuaries. Bay crabbing has been poor, however, because heavy freshwater flows are pushing Dungeness either low in the estuary or out to sea. Ocean crabbers are averaging just under three crabs per day.

Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels remain closed south of Cape Arago near Charleston. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake was listed as full Thursday. There has been little angling interest of late, and water clarity is poor. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows has improved a bit. Flows in Thursday were 2,400 cubic feet per second, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week jacked up the outflows to 2,500 cfs. The lake is 21 feet from full and more than 11 feet higher than what the Corps shoots for at this time of year, with plenty of inflow to come from a thick snowpack. Trollers might try a Wedding Ring lure spiced with half a worm. Fishing off the bank higher up in the reservoir has been good at times for those using PowerBait or worms under bobbers with varying leader lengths. The French Gulch ramp is the only usable ramp at the lake.

DIAMOND: Despite temperatures this week around 50 degrees, the ice remains thick enough for ice fishing, but very few people ventured onto the lake since last weekend and conditions could start getting iffy. When anglers have been out, catches have been good for rainbows with worms or PowerBait. Vary your depths. Anglers using portable fish-finders were marking good numbers of trout. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Wednesday at 91 percent full. Spring bass fishing should start heating up with the warmer days, and a few boats have been out on the water on late afternoons with nice weather. Try afternoon fishing with plastic worms fished slowly near structure. The lake got its first trout stocking of the season this past week, with 1,000 legal-sized rainbows released at the county park boat ramp. Fish around the ramp with worms and PowerBait.

FISH: The lake was up a hair this past week to 57 percent full, and ice fishing is still decent for rainbow trout near the Forest Service ramp. Catches are a mix of rainbows and tiger trout. Tigers must be released unharmed. A mix of worms, PowerBait and ice flies have worked well.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The ice melted off this week, and the Willow Point boat ramp is open for early-season anglers. Some big rainbows were caught the past few days by bank anglers fishing with PowerBait. The lake was listed Wednesday at 81 percent full.

HYATT: Ice is still on but it's very thin, and that's keeping anglers away. The lake remains at 63 percent full.

LOST CREEK: The first 20,000 legal-sized rainbows of the year were released this week, split between the marina and Takelma boat ramps. That should generate plenty of interest this weekend from boat and bank anglers.Outflows jumped to 4,500 cfs earlier this week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grapples with heavy inflows into a reservoir already more than 5 feet higher than normal for this point in the filling schedule. Inflows were up to 5,200 cfs amid warm weather and some rain on snow. That has pushed anglers back down to the dam area, where trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice-fishing conditions are decent, and anglers primarily are catching perch with worms near the resort. Few trout or kokanee have showed up in the catch. For them, try deeper water. The resort is open on weekends.

WILLOW: The lake got its first trout infusion of the season with 4,000 legal-sized rainbows earlier this week at the county boat ramp. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before the trout disperse.

EXPO: The pond received its first complement of 1,500 legal-sized trout two weeks ago. Try for them off the grassy area (that's where they were stocked) with bobbers and worms or PowerBait. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. The $4 day-use or $30 year-long parking fees won't be enforced until April 1.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Water flows continue to be high as high outflows from Lost Creek Lake are compounding already zesty tributary flows, so there's not much refuge despite an influx of winter steelhead in the past week.

That makes the upper Rogue the default go-to stretch through the weekend.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jumped the outflows from Lost Creek Lake to 4,500 cfs this week. The lake is more than five feet above the normal filling schedule there, and Thursday saw inflows at the reservoir up to 5,235 cfs. The upper Rogue is seeing more winter steelhead arriving. Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians counted 197 new winter steelhead Wednesday in the hatchery trap, pushing the count to slightly more than average for this time of year. Also, 18 very late-season summer steelhead were counted in the mix.

Flows Thursday were at 6,470 cfs at Dodge Bridge, and it's forecast to peak Saturday around 7,800 cfs. Not good for steelheading, but the color is nice. As the water drops, fish inside turns on gravel bars for winter steelhead migrating through.

No springers have been reported in the upper Rogue, and none have so far been found in the hatchery trap.

In the middle Rogue, flows at Grants Pass Thursday were over 9,700 cfs and forecast to be on the rise to about 13,000 cfs Saturday and down to about 10,000 cfs Sunday evening. That's too much water for boat fishing, but look for some catches by side-planers from Griffin Park down to Rainbow and Chair riffles.

In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing remains slow amid heavy water conditions, with 18,700 cfs of water at Agness. Flows are forecast to peak Saturday around 22,000 cfs with more rain to come. In the meantime, surfperch fishing off the Rogue sand spit has been great with Berkley Gulp sandshrimp.

APPLEGATE: The river was high and tough for winter steelhead fishing headed into the last weekend of the season. Flows were 2,500 cfs out of the reservoir, and that is too much for decent fishing in most steelhead stretches. Flows at the town of Applegate were 2,764 cfs Thursday. That means the river is high, but the color is good, which should bode well for those casting spinners and spoons for winter steelhead in slower pools. Another 115 fresh winter steelhead were captured this week at the trap at the base of Applegate Dam, so the run is afoot just in time for the season to close March 31. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: The river was flowing Thursday at 6,500 cfs and not looking to be worth the effort to catching late-run and spawned-out winter steelhead.

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