Fishing Report: Friday, March 31

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Ocean conditions are a mixed bag this weekend, if the forecasts hold true. Twenty-knot winds and 7-foot swells are forecast for today, followed Saturday 10-knot winds, 5-foot wind waves and rain. Sunday's forecast calls for 20-knot winds and 12-foot swells.

Good lingcod catches have occurred recently out of Brookings when the weather allows. Black and blue rockfish catches remain good to very good. Beginning Saturday, the recreational fleet will be relegated to waters within the 30-fathom line.

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 out. 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 are 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. Spring fishing has been pretty good for crappie, yellow perch and the occasional bass. A carp was caught this week, indicating yet another illegally stocked fish in the lake. 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 down to 1,664 cubic feet per second, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this weekend will be lowering the outflows as the reservoir is back on its normal filling schedule. 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 open.

DIAMOND: Despite rain and warming conditions, the ice reportedly remains thick enough for ice fishing, but very few people ventured onto the lake since last weekend as conditions 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 93 percent full. Spring bass fishing is picking up for those casting plastic worms or slowly worked crankbaits in the shallower water around willows and other structure. Two weeks ago 1,000 legal-sized rainbows were released at the county park boat ramp. Fish around the ramp with worms and PowerBait.

FISH: The lake was up a hair this week to 60 percent full and is starting to get some open water. Ice fishing is not recommended. Catches have been 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 last week, and the Willow Point boat ramp is open for early-season anglers, some of whom has been catching some large, over-wintering rainbows slowly trolling Tasmanian Devils and other lures. Some big rainbows were caught the past few days by bank anglers fishing with PowerBait. The lake was listed Wednesday at 88 percent full and is likely on its way toward filling.

HYATT: Ice is still on, but it's very thin, and that's keeping anglers away. The lake is 61 percent full.

LOST CREEK: The first 20,000 legal-sized rainbows of the year were released last week, split between the marina and Takelma boat ramps. That generated some weekend interest 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 three 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 4,000 legal-sized rainbows last week at the county boat ramp. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before they disperse.

EXPO: The pond received 1,500 legal-sized trout earlier this month. 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 go into effect Saturday.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Water flows continue to be high as outflows from Lost Creek Lake compound already zesty tributary flows, but decent water clarity has anglers fishing the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue started to get muddy Thursday afternoon.

That makes the upper Rogue the go-to stretch through the weekend for winter steelhead.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept the outflows from Lost Creek Lake at 4,500 cfs all this week. The lake is still more than three feet above the normal filling schedule there, and Thursday saw inflows at the reservoir up to 6,265 cfs. The upper Rogue is seeing more winter steelhead arriving. Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians counted 142 new winter steelhead Wednesday in the hatchery trap, pushing the count to slightly more than average for this time of year. No summer steelhead were counted in the mix this week, suggesting that this run might be over.

Flows Thursday were at 8,133 cfs at Dodge Bridge, and it's forecast to drop to around 6,000 cfs Sunday. The river had good color Thursday but that could change depending upon how much rain comes Saturday and Sunday. As the water drops, fish inside turns on gravel bars for migrating winter steelhead with yarn balls, eggs and plugs.

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

In the middle Rogue, flows at Grants Pass Thursday were over 9,600 cfs and the water was markedly more turbid. Angling for winter steelhead is very slow, with no confirmed reports of spring chinook. Flows were forecast to drop to about 7,500 cfs Sunday and that could trigger a decent bite if the turbidity doesn't get too cloudy.

In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing remains slow amid heavy water conditions, with more than 16,000 cfs of water at Agness Thursday. Flows are forecast to drop to around 12,500 cfs, and that should get the plunkers going for spring chinook at lower Rogue gravel bars such as Lobster Creek and Huntley Park.

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 day of the season today, just as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers starts to drop water releases from Applegate Lake. Flows were at 1,500 cfs out of the reservoir Thursday and set to be down to 780 cfs Sunday afternoon, but that's too late to help steelheaders.  All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

CHETCO: The river was flowing Thursday at 5,100 cfs and not looking to be worth the effort to catch late-run and spawned-out winter steelhead. Angling closes tonight until May 22.

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