Fishing Report: Friday, March 30

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory is in effect through this afternoon, but look for the winds around Brookings to drop to 5 knots later today with wind waves up to 7 feet. Saturday calls for winds up to 15 knots but wind waves down to 4 feet. Sunday will bring 15-knot winds and wind waves of 2 feet or less early in the day.

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 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, even though there’s not much of a sand spit there at the moment, as well as at Nesika Beach. Fish with Berkley Gulp sand worms or sandshrimp.

Commercial and recreational crabbing is open coast-wide.

Morning minus tides will greet clammers Monday and Tuesday. Razor clamming has been very good in the open stretch from the Columbia River to Cascade Head, including the clam-rich Clatsop County beaches. 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.

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 decent with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. The lake is up to completely full now, but turbidity is a problem. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The low-water boat ramp at French Gulch and the Copper ramp are open, but the Hart-Tish ramp remains closed until the concessionaire returns. The lake was up 6½ feet this week to almost the 1,938-foot elevation, yet bank access is poor and often muddy. 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 and cloaked with snow, but the edges are getting slushy, and it is not safe to be on it. When angling resumes, look for very good catches of rainbow trout on worms and PowerBait as well as chironomid flies. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 64-percent full, up 4 percent over the past week. The lake was stocked earlier this week 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. Bass fishing has been good on plastic worms and grubs fished slowly. Look for improved catches this weekend with the warming weather. 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 earlier this month with 700 larger-sized rainbow trout, but the lake has since iced over and is covered with snow, so there is no safe 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, so getting there is highly unlikely this weekend. 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.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is covered with snow and ice, and access is very difficult.

LOST CREEK: Another 20,000 larger rainbow trout were split last week between both boat ramps. Most of the action is in the lower third of the reservoir. Flows out of Lost Creek continue to hover around 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 1,854 feet above sea level Thursday. Anglers 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.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Winter steelhead fishing is finally turning on in the Grants Pass area, with winter steelhead scattered throughout the run and apparently on the move, while steelhead are starting to get active in the upper Rogue, and spring chinook are offering some lower Rogue action, but it’s definitely not good enough for a trip from the valley.

That makes the middle Rogue the best bet. There’s no one particular float that’s best there right now because the winter steelhead seem to be on the move. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 2,400 cfs Thursday and not likely to move that much under bluebird skies. Plug anglers are doing best, with MagLip sizes 3.0 and 3.5 the best bets. Plugs like the Misty River and Copper Mine are top producers. Side-drifting roe or worms and corkies also is good. Plunking has been a bit slow but that’s to be expected in the low and clear flows. Focus on deeper lanes. No spring chinook have been landed, but rumors of steelheaders hooking and losing them are common.

The steelhead are finally moving in the upper Rogue, and that has driftboaters getting action with the same plugs and baits as middle Rogue anglers. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a paltry 1,426 cfs Thursday. That’s largely because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept Lost Creek Lake outflows at a thin 900 cfs. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were a slim 1,878 cfs Thursday.

Another 138 winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery this past week, by far the best showing of the early season. The count is only 326 to date, and that’s far below the 10-year running average of 826 fish by this time of year. The hatchery count is only good for comparisons, because the vast majority of the winter steelhead run is composed of wild fish bound for spawning streams lower in the system. Still no spring chinook in the upper Rogue and none captured at Cole Rivers Hatchery.

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

APPLEGATE: Look for a busy river today and Saturday, the last two days of winter steelhead fishing before the river closes to all angling Saturday night. Winter steelhead are spread out and on the move despite low flows. Cole Rivers Hatchery crews captured 69 winter steelhead at the dam this week, way higher than the four fish caught last week. Fish small clusters of roe, egg flies, spoons or spinners.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: The river was dropping and looking good for a last-day push for winter steelhead fishing, which ends Saturday evening. Flows were about 3,900 cfs and dropping Thursday. Fish late-run winter steelhead with roe or plugs.

ELK: River conditions were back down to low and clear for the final two days of the winter steelhead season.

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