COASTWIDE: Ocean conditions will be decent to start the day today but will slowly deteriorate through the weekend. Today is forecast to bring winds of five to 10 knots and two-foot swells, followed Saturday by winds up to 15 knots and six-foot wind waves. Sunday is forecast to bring winds up to 20 knots and seven-foot wind waves. No advisories, however, were in place as of late Thursday.
Rockfish anglers have new bag limits for 2017. Canary rockfish have been declared rebuilt and are now 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 so 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-bag limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit.
Also, rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device on board and they must be used when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper to increase survival rates for released fish in deep water.
Anglers can venture past the 20-fathom line, but cabezon are now off-limits to anglers.
Recreational crabbing is open coastwide now that domoic acid levels off the central and north coast finally have dropped into the safe-to-eat zone. Razor clamming, however, remains closed along the coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are open coastwide. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake was listed Thursday at 65 percent full, having shot up another 10 percent in the past two weeks thanks to rain and snowmelt. There remains little angling interest of late. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK.
APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows likely will be slow until the next two storm fronts move through thanks to barometric pressure changes and rising inflows. When the inflow settles down and the lake level stabilizes, look for some decent trolling for trout with Wedding Ring lures spiced with half a worm. The French Gulch ramp is the only usable ramp at the lake.
DIAMOND: The lake ice is about six inches thick and supporting a strong early season for ice fishing. Fishing has been good for rainbows with worms or PowerBait. Vary your depths. Anglers using portable fish-finders are marking good numbers of trout. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 42 percent full and growing, and the county boat ramp is usable again, but fishing is very slow amid cold and very turbid conditions.
FISH: The lake was up to 48 percent full Thursday, and some ice fishing has occurred there for rainbow trout. Tiger trout as big as 18 inches have been caught, but they must be released unharmed.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The water is freezing but the ice is not yet thick enough for ice fishing. When it is, holdover trout are in the 14- to 19-inch range. The lake was listed Wednesday at 50 percent full.
HYATT: Ice is forming, but anglers are still staying away. The lake is 51 percent full.
LOST CREEK: Fishing had been somewhat disrupted by the yo-yoing of the reservoir levels, but look for good fishing on calmer winter days when inflows aren't big. The lake was listed Thursday at 1,813.8 feet above sea level and the outflows was at 1,500 cfs Thursday. Trolling has been best upstream of Peyton Bridge in the Red Rock area with a red or green Wedding Ring with a worm. Warmer days are best.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake's ice-fishing conditions are now excellent, and anglers primarily are catching perch with worms near the resort. The resort is open but there are no worms available there for sale, so it's BYOW.
WILLOW: Trout fishing has been something of a bust lately as anglers are staying away and waiting for ice to develop.
EXPO: Fishing in the pond at the amphitheater is still decent for some of the 1,500 one-pound trout stocked for Thanksgiving weekend. Catch them with bobbers and worms or PowerBait. Access the pond through Gate 1.5 off Peninger Road. No boats or float tubes are allowed.
ROGUE: Cold water has been plaguing early-season winter steelhead fishing river-wide this week, and things won't be getting much better once it warms because two more storm fronts are moving in and should render the Rogue largely unfishable through next week.
That makes the best bet the very top sliver of water from the Hatchery Hole to Casey State Park. That water was flowing at 1,500 cubic feet per second Thursday evening and should hold true despite the storms thanks to Lost Creek Lake's influence. There should be plenty of late-season summer steelhead around, thanks in part to the release of another 1,107 "retread" summer steelhead last week from Cole Rivers Hatchery to TouVelle State Park. Catch them on worms and corkies, plugs or egg flies.
Downstream of that could be a tough go for a while. Flows at Dodge Bridge were around 2,000 cfs Thursday evening but the water temperatures are really messing with the steelhead. Temps dropped to 38 degrees at Dodge and under 37 degrees at Grants Pass early Thursday morning. That's not good at all. Flows are forecast to climb river-wide Sunday and peak Wednesday or Thursday during the second wave of rain on this week's snow.
The entire upper Rogue is now open to bait-fishing and all artificial lures.
This past week has been slow in the middle Rogue, where a few anglers are targeting early-season fish. A few winter steelhead were caught earlier in the week by side-planers in the Rand area and at Rainbow. Look for fresh winter steelhead to be present when water conditions improve next weekend.
The lower Rogue has been good for winter steelhead for plunkers, including a handful of 15-pounders, but flows at Agness are forecast to creep up close to flood stage later next week. When water subsides, winter steelhead fishing should be excellent.
APPLEGATE: The river is open for steelhead fishing but effort has been light. Flows out of Applegate Dam were holding at 500 cubic feet per second.
CHETCO: The river was at down to 1,100 cfs and clear for winter steelhead, but forecasts call for it to shoot out of shape Sunday and likely stay that way through the week.