Fishing report: Friday, Dec. 30
COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds dropping to 15 knots with 9-foot swells and rain. That’s followed up Saturday by similar winds and swells building to 11 feet and more rain. Sunday’s forecast calls for another rough one, similar to Saturday.
Bottomfishing has been very good recently for those on larger boats fishing near shore for lingcod on the rare days when conditions are good. The ling limit is two, and the bottomfish limit is holding at four a day, and that should remain through the remainder of the year. All halibut must be released.
Surfperch fishing is likely to a no-go along the South Coast because of big winds and gargantuan surf. That will push the perch outside of casting range. Shrimp, mussels and Berkley Gulp sandworms or shrimp are the best baits when fishing conditions improve.
Bay clamming should be good, despite a lack of morning minus tides that were very helpful earlier this fall. Bay crabbing is good. The ocean is open to sport crabbers, but rough days have kept everyone inside. Coos Bay and Winchester Bay remained closed to bay clamming because of elevated domoic acid levels.
Razor clam digging remains closed coastwide, but bay clamming remains open and good in places like lower Coos Bay. However, the digging tides are not favorable this week. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
Mussel harvest is open statewide.
AGATE: The lake has not seen a new infusion of trout since June. Bass and perch fishing have been fair at best amid cold air and water conditions. The lake has dropped a hair to 17% full as of Thursday, with turbid water. Fishing is slow. Electric trolling motors are OK but no gas motors. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are closed, but Copper and French Gulch are open and usable. It’s just that virtually no one is using them. The lake was last stocked with rainbow trout in June. Fish for rainbows with PowerBait or worms from the bank or slowly troll Tasmanian Devil lures spiced with a piece of worm. Bass fishing has been slow amid cold air and water conditions. The lake has held somewhat steady and was listed Thursday at 14% full, which puts it at more than 90 feet shy of full pool. Outflows are holding steady at 125 cfs. The lake has a 10 mph speed limit.
DIAMOND: The lake is almost iced over, but ice thickness is not good enough for safe ice fishing. More cold weather is needed to jump-start the popular ice-fishing season. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some are eclipsing 8 pounds.
EMIGRANT: The lake has doubled in size this past week thanks to rain, but it is just 7% full. Angling activity is primarily for smallmouth and largemouth bass off rocky points with crankbaits and rubber worms worked off the bottom. Recent success, and effort, have been extremely poor amid cold air and water conditions. Very little angling activity for trout.
EXPO: State wildlife biologists stocked 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout here more than two months ago, and their numbers are now thin. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required.
FISH: The lake is icing over, but ice conditions are not safe for fishing. The lake was up a hair to 37% full Thursday, which makes locating the springs that much more important. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some of the most reachable springs are off the Fish Lake Resort marina.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is open to angling, but water levels are very low, and snow encircles the lake. Ice is forming but it is not thick enough for safe travel. Some holdover trout are getting caught by precious few anglers using PowerBait off the bank near the dam. Not much other action. The lake level stabilized briefly this week at 8% full.
HYATT: The lake was listed Thursday at a whopping 6% full and surrounded by snow and starting to ice up. A very limited amount of bank-fishing remains near the dam area for trout. The limit is five trout a day, with just one over 20 inches. No fingerling trout were stocked last year, so trout numbers are very low. Some warmwater fish, such as black crappie, are showing up in the catch.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is icing up rather quickly now, but ice thickness generally isn’t safe yet for ice fishing.
LOST CREEK: The lake got its last complement of catchable, legal-sized rainbow trout in late June at the Takelma ramp. Those fish are well dispersed, inflows are rising and releases are holding steady at 1,050 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of its December flood-control regimen. Bank-fish with PowerBait near the Takelma ramp or at the Medco access point off Highway 62. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good. Bass fishing has been fair near rocky outcroppings of late, with crankbaits and rubber worms the top offerings. The lake was listed Thursday at 35% full and just 10 feet shy of the normal winter flood-control level. This has been the norm for the Corps to drop below normal low pool in the fall.
MEDCO: The lake was stocked in June with 2,000 legal-sized trout. Catch what’s left of them on PowerBait or worms. Ice is forming rapidly.
SELMAC: The lake was stocked with 1,000 legal-sized trout more than a month ago, and that’s it for the season. Fish for them with worms or PowerBait.
ROGUE: The upper Rogue’s late-run summer steelhead bite has been slow, while the middle Rogue is seeing a nice late showing of wild summer steelhead and rumors of the first few winter steelhead of the year. The lower Rogue has seen some winter steelhead but few anglers.
That makes the middle Rogue the best bet for New Year’s weekend steelheading, but it will all take a hiatus until Saturday afternoon when river levels will start to drop to decent fishing levels.
And beginning Sunday, Rogue and other South Coast winter steelhead anglers will need their new regional steelhead validation to fish. For those looking to legally kill wild winter steelhead, a special winter steelhead tag also is needed.
In the middle Rogue, plug-fishing for winter steelhead has been good in the Ennis Riffle area, while worms and watermelon corkies are the baits of choice for bank anglers and side-drifters in the Galice area. Most are wild summer steelhead that must be released unharmed.
Flows at Grants Pass were down to 3,029 cfs Thursday and set to rise to about 11,500 cfs late Saturday before dropping. Sunday could be tough fishing but look for fresh winter steelhead Monday and beyond as conditions improve.
In the upper Rogue, cold water and fewer steelhead have slowed efforts and catches. The split rules for upper Rogue angling remain in effect through Saturday. Beginning Sunday, the entire upper Rogue is open to bait fishing.
For now, upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, steelhead catches are best side-drifting small pieces of roe or roe-soaked egg yarn. Drift slowly because the water is very cold and the steelhead are somewhat lethargic.
Downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp is open to lures and hard-plastic egg flies but not bait. Plugging with MagLip 3.0s is often very good for the remainder of the month, with hard-plastic salmon eggs with scents on them also excellent choices. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were holding steady at 1,050 cfs. That has flows holding steady all week at Dodge Bridge to 2,116 cfs. But flows will rise to more than 5,000 cfs Saturday amid rain. Fishing might not get good again until Monday or Tuesday, and some fresh winter steelhead likely will be in the mix.
Downstream of Fishers Ferry, steelhead are biting everything from worms and small clusters of salmon eggs to nymph flies and an assortment of smaller plugs. The best include pink, black and/or silver.
The Hatchery Hole is open for steelhead fishing from the bank and wading. There is no fishing from boats there. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
Galice Road remains closed downstream of Galice because of the Rum Creek Fire, but river access is restored at places like Indian Mary and Hog Creek boat ramps. Fishing is slow there, and the effort is light.
CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has been a bust this week amid major runoff and high flows, which kept the river at more than 8,500 cfs Thursday. Conditions should improve by Monday or Tuesday, and very good winter steelhead fishing should be seen river-wide. Anglers must get a new South Coast steelhead validation to fish for winter steelhead beginning Sunday, and a wild harvest tag is needed for those wanting to kill a wild steelhead.
ELK/SIXES: High and muddy conditions have kept anglers at home this past week, but look for the rivers to drop and clear early next week for very good winter steelhead fishing. Anglers must get a new South Coast steelhead validation to fish for winter steelhead beginning Sunday, and a wild harvest tag is needed for those wanting to kill a wild steelhead in the Elk River.