Ocean Outlook

Ocean Outlook

Coastwide - The broken record that is bad weather continues to roil the Oregon Coast, with more stiff winds and fat swells forecast through the weekend. A few locals might find a morning to sneak out for some near-shore bottomfishing, but it's not worth the drive from the Rogue Valley quite yet.

The marine aggregate limit remains seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Sport crabbers are invited back to the ocean now, but few are fishing for Dungeness because of rough weather. Ocean crabbing near river mouths can be very good in December, with good meat quality in local crab. Just be mindful of a rough ocean.

Bay crabbing will start to slide off as freshets alter the salinity in estuaries, pushing the crab to the ocean. Deeper-water ports such as Coos Bay and Winchester Bay are better bets than smaller ones.

All shellfish fishing is open coastwide, including the popular Clatsop County beaches. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. For more information and updated closures, call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474.

PORT ORFORD - Ocean trolling for chinook off the mouth of the Elk and Sixes rivers is now over.

BROOKINGS - Anglers sneaking out of the port in early mornings when the surf dies down should see near-limits of bottomfish by staying close to shore and jigging near kelp beds. Jigging glow-in-the-dark jigs is a good bet. All cabezon must be released unharmed.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow, but good catches of bottomfish have been reported off the south jetty.

CHARLESTON - Bay crabbing remains excellent in the lower stretches of the estuary.

Lake Outlook

AGATE - Fishing for recently stocked legal and trophy sized rainbows is very good for those trolling Wedding Ring lures or fishing chartreuse PowerBait off the dam. The lake remains just a hair above 20 percent full. No gas motors are allowed.

APPLEGATE - Despite little fishing effort recently, trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers still are doing fair to good for the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. The lake is very low, but the French Gulch boat ramp remains usable, while Hart-Tish Park is closed. Bank fishing is tough because the lake is so low. Focus off points, and look for schools of land-locked chinook stocked there.

EMIGRANT - The lake is down to less than one-quarter full, hurting angling effort there. Poor weather has kept most trollers home. Trolling for trout should be good; most of the action remains on the lower third of the reservoir near the dam. Troll red Tazmanian Devils or Wedding Ring lures spiked with a piece of worm.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed to all angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

HYATT - The lake is closed to all angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

DIAMOND - The lake is closed to all angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

EXPO - The pond is open year-round, and fishing remains good for large and trophy rainbow trout stocked there in late October. Chartreuse PowerBait or worms under bobbers remain popular choices.

LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing for brown and rainbow trout has remained good amid cooler water conditions. No ice yet. Still-fishing with PowerBait off the bank has been good near the resort. A few brown trout are getting caught casting Castmasters or worms from shore or docks.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 15 to 17 inches remains very good near the dam, where most of the action is. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake is getting drawn down for flood-control purposes, and the Stewart State Park boat ramp is closed. The Takelma Ramp will remain open throughout the winter.

The lake remains under a public-health advisory against water contact because of a second blue-gree algae bloom there.

FISH - Fishing for large rainbow trout remains good with a few anglers fishing near the resort and the Forest Service boat ramp. Bank anglers and those anchored in boats are catching plenty of large trout on chartreuse or orange PowerBait floated off the bottom. Some small spring chinook have been stocked in the lake, and they are nearing legal size.

WILLOW LAKE - The lake remains under its second public-health advisory against water contact because of a blue-green algae bloom. The boat ramp and campground access remain closed, but anglers can park outside the gate for walk-in, day-use access.

FOURMILE - Fishing for rainbows is good for trollers fishing deep with Castmasters or other spoons. The lake is slightly less than one-third full and dropping fairly rapidly.

SELMAC - The lake's cooled waters have helped buoy the trout bite, but effort remains quite light. Another complement of large and trophy rainbow trout were stocked recently in Selmac, and fishing for them continues to be very good with worms, Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs floated off the bottom or PowerBait.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to all angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

MEDCO - Fishing for rainbow trout is good off the bank with PowerBait thanks to cooling water temperatures. Effort has remained light.

River Outlook

ROGUE - The upper Rogue has slowed for late-run summer steelhead thanks largely to rising flows, while steelhead and coho fishing have stalled in the middle Rogue thanks to turbid water caused in part by high flows through the former Gold Ray Reservoir site. The lower Rogue has seen a good early splash of winter steelhead for plunkers, including some early hatchery fish that make the winter run already appear promising.

That puts the best bet near the coast, where plunkers using Spin-Glo's have hooked multiple winter steelhead at places such as Huntley Park, the gravel bar at Lobster Creek and Dunkelberger Bar. Fresh fish have moved in with the recent freshets.

The water, however, is getting a bit problematic. The flows at Agness on Thursday were up to 7,000 cubic feet per second and rising. Forecasts are for it to rise into Sunday thanks to a new storm front.

The upper Rogue is getting a nice little shot of rain that is drawing wild summer steelhead into spawning tributaries. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were about 2,300 cfs Thursday, with flows at Dodge Bridge up to about 3,200 cfs and rising. That will get hatchery fish moving into the hatchery and pulling wild steelhead out of the fishery. Anglers looking to intercept these fish might find good luck in the far upper Rogue, with less luck elsewhere.

For those fishing from the Hatchery Hole to the Shady Cove boat ramp, anglers are fishing with worm or roe side-drifted from boats. Egg flies work great as well, and don't forget to bring a bag of pink rubber worms to fish in faster water. Plugs have worked very well, too. The chinook all are spawned and dead, so the steelhead are not focusing so intently upon just eggs now.

From the Shady Cove ramp downstream to the former Gold Ray Dam site, anglers are relegated to artificial flies and lures but no bait. So most either are fly-fishing or side-drifting single salmon egg patterns in riffles immediately downstream of spawning chinook.

The Grants Pass area had been giving up some sturdy catches of coho salmon on red and gold plugs fished in deep, slower holes, but the turbid water has pushed the majority of anglers off the river. A few of the retread steelhead recycled to Gold Hill last week were caught in the Gold Hill area as well as waters around the mouth of Bear Creek, but look for them to zoom to Cole Rivers Hatchery with the swelled river conditions.

Flows at Gold Ray Dam were not available Thursday afternoon thanks to an apparent malfunction of the gauge, which read at more than 12,000 cfs — clearly wrong.

UMPQUA - The upper main-stem Umpqua brought rough fishing this week, and what coho remain are dark. The lower Umpqua remains slow for sturgeon. The South Umpqua has risen and could be well out of shape for winter steelhead fishing this weekend. The North Umpqua flows have risen and largely have chased steelhead fishers off the water.

COQUILLE - The wild coho salmon season in the river is over. The river was up and dirty this week from rains. Winter steelhead were caught in the South Fork this past week before flows increased.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were up and high, but fishing for chinook salmon and a few early winter steelhead has been good, especially higher up in both systems. Plugs have out-worked bait.

CHETCO - The river was high and seemingly forecast to fall out of fishing shape for the weekend if storms and runoff materialize as forecast. Plenty of coho have been caught in the Nook and Redwoods areas on plugs, with even a few stray hatchery coho there. A few immense fall chinook were caught this week, including the catch-and-release of a fish weighing more than 60 pounds. The new hogs, however, are somewhat dark. Plugs are working best.