Fishing report, Dec. 7, 2018


    A winter steelhead is released on the Rogue River near Shady Cove in April. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

    OCEAN OUTLOOK

    COASTWIDE: Winds Friday are forecast to be up to 20 knots with 4-foot wind waves and 8-foot swells. Winds Saturday are expected to back off to 10 knots and 7-foot swells with a chance of rain. Sunday calls for 25 knot winds and 10-foot swells building to 14 feet. Expect a small-craft advisory Sunday.

    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. Fishing is very good when anglers can get out.

    Surfperch may be difficult to catch until the winds taper down and the fish move closer to shore.

    All recreational crabbing is 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.

    LAKE OUTLOOK

    AGATE: The lake is just 7 percent full, and there is virtually no angling action occurring. Some fishing from the dam near the spillway has yielded a few bass, but that’s about it. 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 has risen more than a foot in the past week, but fishing effort is still light. 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. Bass fishing is very slow.

    DIAMOND: Trout fishing effort has slowed dramatically in the cold air and very cold water. More snow is expected Sunday and through early next week, which will put a serious damper on activity. Those who fight through it can try 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 is up a hair to 14 percent full. Very few anglers are venturing through the mud to the water line. For those walking to the water, fish crankbaits around submerged rock formations for bass or PowerBait for what trout linger. All boat ramps are closed, and there is no driving below the high-water line.

    EXPO: Trout fishing is poor, but fishing for largemouth bass has been decent with crankbaits fished slowly.

    FISH: Expect new snow beginning Sunday and into early next week. The lake is up to 33 percent full, and that’s enough for the resort ramp to be operable again. Fishing has been good near shore and over springs when weather makes it tolerable. 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 has been decent but waning for rainbow trout for still-fishers in deeper water near the dam with PowerBait. Expect snow this weekend. The lake is holding steady at 33 percent full.

    HYATT: Access is very poor with no workable ramps. Expect snow. The lake is up a hair to 5 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 interest in fishing until the ice season begins.

    LOST CREEK: The Takelma ramp is the only usable ramp. The water level is up a hair to slightly more than 7.5 feet under the low-pool level 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 poor.

    RIVER OUTLOOK

    ROGUE: The far upper Rogue has seen a little boost in late-run summer steelhead fishing success, while the middle Rogue remains slow for wild summer steelhead and coho salmon. The lower Rogue has reports of the first winter steelhead of the season but little else.

    That keeps the best bet on the far upper Rogue, and with a little more confidence since rain has warmed the water enough to get fish on the move. Cole Rivers Hatchery reported 157 new summer steelhead captured this week, and that’s a nice early December showing. The problem is that for steelhead, side-drifting roe or egg-soaked yarn balls is the main offering upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, the demarcation line for bait fishing through December. 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 but are legal to use now). Effort there will remain light until the entire Rogue reloads for bait fishing Jan. 1. Lots of cutthroat are in the river and they all must be released unharmed.

    Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain at 1,150 cfs. Don’t look for that to change until Lost Creek rises about 7.5 feet to the normal December flood-control level of 1,812 feet above sea level. Flows at Dodge Bridge were up to a still-paltry 1,286 cfs, and 1,423 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Those flows will increase with runoff early next week as rains move in.

    In the middle Rogue, wild summer steelhead are around most creek mouths and in tailouts sipping on loose salmon eggs, so casting roe or egg flies for them will be good bets. Halfpounders are starting to show up to join what has been a steelhead catch dominated by smaller fish this year.

    In the lower Rogue, the bay is a bust, with most of the action on halfpounders around Agness. The first reports of winter steelhead reached the Rogue Outdoor Store this week, but low and clear water makes for tough side-planing now.

    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: The Chetco was dropping and clearing amid relatively poor fall chinook salmon fishing. A few winter steelhead have made it in so far. Rain forecast for Saturday means the river will rise beginning late Saturday and continue rising through Monday.

    ELK AND SIXES: Poor chinook showings and large crowds have made for frustrated angling with roe and plugs. Flows were low and clear Thursday and likely to remain that way until Saturday afternoon, when rain should start swelling both streams.

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