Ocean Outlook

Coastwide - Forecasts call for some of the lightest winds and calmest swells experienced all winter off the Oregon Coast, and that likely will entice some anglers into early morning trips to near-shore reefs in search of black rockfish and lingcod. The water remains 50 degrees off Port Orford, Charleston and Crescent City, Calif. Lingcod are starting to move into the shallows for spawning, and jigging for them can be very good now.

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

Sport crabbers are allowed on the ocean, but few have been fishing for Dungeness because of rough weather. The could change this weekend. Crabbing in Winchester Bay and Coos Bay has been very good lately, and meat quality remains very good.

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

BROOKINGS - Anglers could slip outside of the jetties for a little jigging for black rockfish and lingcod Saturday and Sunday mornings before the winds kick back up. Glow in the dark jigs are best.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow. Crabbing has improved as freshwater levels have dropped. Lots of perch have been caught recently in the lower estuary.

CHARLESTON - Bay crabbing has been very good thanks to good salinity levels in the bay. The lower area of Charleston will be the best. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.

PORT ORFORD - A few perch have been caught recently in the bay off the public docks there.

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows is slow, and angling effort has been very light at the lake. Trollers could do well. No gas motors allowed. The lake is more than 80 percent full.

APPLEGATE - Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers are still doing fairly well when targeting the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. Not much effort recently, but sunny days should bring a few trollers to the lake. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable but barely for larger boats. Car-toppers and shallow-launch boats are still fine. Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake is up to 65 percent full, and the trout bite has improved for trollers thanks to stable weather patterns. Afternoons are better. Bank anglers fishing near the dam are faring well on worms or PowerBait.

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 angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

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

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

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

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is frozen, and ice fishing has been good. Worms or small jigs have worked best.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 15 to 17 inches remains good near the dam. Fishing activity, however, has been light and likely will be low this weekend. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake is being drawn down for flood-control purposes. The Stewart State Park boat ramp is open because water levels have risen back to the ramp concrete. The Takelma Ramp will remain open throughout the winter.

FISH - Ice fishing has been good in the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp. Worms and jigs are working best for rainbow trout. The resort is open Fridays through Sundays, and ice augers can be rented there.

WILLOW LAKE - The public-health advisory against water contact is over, but the boat ramp and county facilities remain closed.

SELMAC - The lake is set to be stocked again the week of Feb. 14, and fishing should be good right away for the legal-sized trout — but not hot enough for a Valentine's Day date alternative. Try worms, Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs floated off the bottom or PowerBait.

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

MEDCO - Fishing for rainbow trout has been good off the bank with PowerBait, but effort is light.

ROGUE - The first winter steelhead already have hit the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue remains steady for winter steelhead from the mouth of the Applegate River on down, and the lower Rogue has continued to put on a steady, but not spectacular, winter steelhead bite this week despite deteriorating fishing conditions.

That makes the best bet the middle Rogue, where anglers continue to do well from driftboats while casting scented yarn balls. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 2,900 cubic feet per second and they will drop some more after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drops the outflow to 1,600 cfs from Lost Creek Lake beginning today. Driftboaters fishing Lathrop's Landing to Robertson Bridge have consistently done the best. Plug fishing is fair to good there, as well.

In the upper Rogue, the first bona fide winter steelhead of the year already have hit Cole Rivers Hatchery, where crews running the fish trap collected 27 adult winter steelhead Thursday. Few people, however, are fishing the upper Rogue, in part because the water released from Lost Creek Lake has been much more turbid than normal. Conditions appear decent at least until the town of Shady Cove. In this darker water, dark plugs with rattles in them could be excellent for winter steelhead.

In the lower Rogue, flows at Agness were about 5,250 cfs and dropping Thursday. Anglers were still picking up fish from the banks with Spin-Glo's and from boats side-drifting roe, but the lower water conditions are starting to dig into the catch. Boats with fish finders say they're showing good numbers of winter steelhead still present in the lower Rogue, but a little more water with a little color to it is needed to jump-start the bite.

Anglers may now keep one wild steelhead per day as long as it is at least 24 inches long. The annual limit is five.

ILLINOIS - Winter steelhead fishing has tapered off as flows have turned low and cool. Flows at Kerby were at 783 cfs and dropping Thursday. Fishing had been very good for winter steelhead. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and up to five per year. No bait is allowed.

APPLEGATE - Winter steelhead fishing has been spotty on the lower Applegate, and flows are down to about 780 cfs at Wilderville. Most of the catches have come around the Highway 199 bridge and other lower-river holes. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing allowed from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua tapered off for winter steelhead thanks to a severe drop in flows this week. Flows Thursday at Tiller were down to 680 cfs and dropping, leaving the steelhead slow to move and spooky. The North Umpqua was slow for winter steelhead, though the mainstem was still fishing well. The Umpqua will be busy this weekend thanks to a fundraising derby for fishery enhancement there Saturday and Sunday.

COQUILLE - The South Fork of the Coquille has continued to fish well despite severe drops in flows this week. Side-drifting roe and working plugs from driftboats has been good, but if water levels continue to drop, the success rate will follow suit. Focus on holes and deeper riffles.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk and Sixes were both very low and clear Thursday, with angling success way off for winter steelhead. Conditions likely will remain poor for fishing until new rains jump-start the fishery.

CHETCO - The river was down to 1,472 cfs Thursday afternoon and still dropping, leaving poor conditions for winter steelhead fishing. And too bad, because fish in the 17- to 19-pound range were getting caught almost daily. Roe has out-produced plugs. Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day, with a five-fish annual limit.