COASTWIDE: The first major storm of the season is forecast to continue Friday and Saturday, days to not be on the water. The forecast calls for rain, 25-knot winds and swells up to 10 feet Friday, with 5-knot winds Saturday but 7-foot swells. Sunday looks to be similar to Saturday.
The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Cabezon must be released unharmed. Rockfish angling is open beyond the 30-fathom line, and it will stay that way for the rest of the year as long as rockfish quotas remain unfilled. A descending device to help release rockfish caught in deeper water is mandatory on all boats.
Lingcod are moving closer to shore and starting to stage in shallower water in preparation for spawning. They are aggressive and will take most jigs or frozen sardines.
Surfperch should be difficult to catch until the winds taper down and the fish can get closer to shore.
All recreational crabbing remains closed south of Cape Blanco, even in bays and estuaries, because of domoic acid levels. North of Cape Blanco, crabbing is allowed only in bays. The ocean is off limits to crabbers until at least Dec. 16, depending upon the outcome of domoic acid tests.
Razor clamming is closed from the mouth of the Umpqua River to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Bay clamming is open along the coast, but the recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Coquille River south jetty to the California border. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake is 7 percent full, and there is virtually no angling action occurring. The boat ramp is unusable. For anyone launching, no gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake is dropping, and the only boat access is the low-water ramp at French Gulch, and that’s not getting much action. Those who manage to launch will see good trolling for trout using Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm or a whole worm behind a flasher. Many of the trout are still sporting copapods. The parasites should be scraped off before cooking. Releasing trout with copapods allows the parasites to spread. The lake temperature has dropped to 50 degrees.
DIAMOND: Trout fishing has held up, but this week’s rough storms and snowy passes will keep anglers away. Those who fight through it could find trout off the bite until the barometric pressure stabilizes. Most of the action had been at the south end with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. The resort docks have been pulled and no rental boats are available, but all the ramps are open. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake has held steady at 12 percent full, but look for it to inch up due to runoff from this week’s rains. Few anglers are venturing through the mud to the water line. Driving on the lake bed below the high-water mark is banned, and it is being enforced. For those walking to the water, fish crankbaits around submerged rock formations for bass.
EXPO: Trout fishing is poor, but fishing for largemouth bass is decent with crankbaits fished slowly.
FISH: Fishing had been good off the bank or from pontoon boats that must be dragged to the shore, but look for little effort this week due to the holiday weekend, rain and snow. The lake is up to 28 percent full, but it’s still not enough for a workable boat ramp. PowerBait has been the bait of choice for a mix of rainbows, landlocked chinook, precocial steelhead and tiger trout, the latter of which must be released unharmed.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: Fishing had been good for rainbow trout for still-fishers in deeper water near the dam with PowerBait. The lake dropped a hair this week to 33 percent full.
HYATT: Access is very poor with no workable ramps. The lake is 4 percent full. Boat access is limited to small boats that can be launched off the shore or carried to the water.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake was fishing decently for rainbows and perch with worms and PowerBait, but rain and snow likely will douse any interest in fishing until the ice season begins.
LOST CREEK: The Takelma ramp is the only usable ramp. The water level has dropped to almost 8 feet under the normal low-pool level normally targeted for the Dec. 1 start of the flood-control season. Boat anglers are focusing around the dam and the intake tower. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worm has been very good, especially when the wind dies down. Outflows are holding steady at 1,150 cubic feet per second.
WILLOW: Trout fishing is fair to good along the lake edges for those trolling Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings. Effort is nearly nonexistent, and expect rain or snow to keep anglers away through the weekend.
SELMAC: Bass fishing is fair.
ROGUE: The far upper Rogue is slowing for summer steelhead as the late-run summers simply aren’t showing up. The middle Rogue continues to see a mix of summer steelhead and coho salmon for the small number of anglers working the area, and the Agness area is the best place for steelhead and halfpounders throughout the lower Rogue.
That keeps the best bet on the far upper Rogue, but barely. The best news is that Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians Wednesday recycled excess summer steelhead to the Rogue at the Denman Wildlife Area; the bad news is there were only 162 retread steelhead in the truck that hit Denman’s Modoc Unit. Most of the action remains in the water upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, where bait fishing is allowed through the rest of the year. Side-drifting roe or egg-soaked yarn balls is the main offering, as it always is in November. Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, angling is open only with artificial flies and lures, so it’s plugs or plastic molded egg flies (which are legally not considered flies). Effort there will remain light until the entire Rogue reloads for bait fishing Jan. 1.
The cold flows continue to stall fish migration, with just 24 new steelhead swimming into Cole Rivers Hatchery this week. Rogue flows are very low, with just 1,150 cfs coming out of Lost Creek Lake. Flows at Dodge Bridge were up a hair from last week to a still-paltry 1,255 cfs, and 1,354 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Those flows will increase with runoff from this week’s rain.
Wild summer steelhead are around most creek mouths and in tailouts sipping on loose salmon eggs, so casting roe or egg flies for them are good bets. Halfpounders are starting to show up to join what has been a steelhead catch dominated by smaller fish this year.
Anglers using plugs are hitting some summer steelhead from Valley of the Rogue State Park through Grants Pass, and Indian Mary Park down to Galice. Cop Car and black-and-silver Weewarts are working, as are MagLip lures. A few smaller steelhead are getting caught on worms or Panther Martin lures. Coho are starting to get caught upstream of Grants Pass, mainly on purple lures fished a long way off the bow of driftboats.
In the lower Rogue, the bay is a bust, with most of the action on halfpounders around Agness. Fish streamer flies, side-drift worms or cast black and yellow Panther Martins for these very aggressive fish.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to rainbow trout fishing, and only hatchery trout can be kept. Don’t expect to find them, however, because only fin-clipped winter steelhead are released there, and they are small and should be avoided. All cutthroat must be released. Rainbow trout longer than 16 inches are considered steelhead, and the river is closed to steelhead fishing until Jan. 1.
CHETCO: Wednesday’s rains should get the chinook moving upstream, with likely good fishing conditions Saturday and Sunday if turbidity levels stay good. The river was a mere 106 cfs when the rains came, and flows are forecast to peak midday Saturday at close to 3,000 cfs before dropping. Flows will go back up late Monday if another storm comes through as forecast.
ELK AND SIXES: Rains are expected to leave the two rivers unfishable until perhaps Friday. When they pull into shape, look for big crowds of anglers and decent catches of fall chinook up to the hatchery.