Fishing Report: Feb. 11, 2011

OCEAN OUTLOOK

Coastwide - Forecasters are calling for a nice, calm sea today along much of the Southern Oregon coastline, but swells pushing 10 feet are forecast through the weekend. Today, therefore, is the day to jig for black rockfish and lingcod. Lingcod are quickly moving toward shallow water for spawning, and now is the time find the big ones near jetties, rocky reefs and along the edges of kelp beds. The water temperatures dropped to about 47 degrees off Port Orford, Charleston and Crescent City, Calif. That's a 3-degree drop in the past week.

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, and calm weather like today's should be good for them. Bay crabbing in places like Winchester Bay and Coos Bay has been very good lately, and the meat quality remains very good.

Shellfish fishing is open coastwide, including the popular Clatsop County beaches. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. For more information and 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 throughout most of today, but keep an eye on building seas if you're fishing Saturday and Sunday mornings, as the winds will kick up. Glow-in-the-dark jigs are best, but black-and-white jigs are plenty effective now, too.

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

CHARLESTON - Crabbing has been very good in the bay. The lower area of Charleston continues to be the best and most popular place for crabbing. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.

PORT ORFORD - A few perch are still getting caught in the bay off the public docks there.


LAKE OUTLOOK

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 listed as 82 percent full.

APPLEGATE - Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers are 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 66 percent full, and the trout bite has been decent during the warmer afternoons but slow in the cold mornings. 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. 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 14 to 18 inches remains good near the dam. Activity, however, has been light and likely will remain low with rain forecast into early next week. 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 steadily 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. The boat ramp and county facilities are closed.

SELMAC - The lake is set to be stocked some time early next week, and fishing should be good right away for the legal-sized trout. For trollers, Valentine's Day would be a decent day to try a Wedding Ring. Also, 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.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is mired in slow and clear water that has stalled early winter steelhead migration, while the middle Rogue remains steady for winter steelhead from the city of Grants Pass all the way down to Grave Creek. On the lower Rogue, the bite has been steady but not spectacular for bank anglers, plunkers and boat anglers tossing plugs.

That makes the best bet the middle Rogue, where anglers continue to do fairly well from driftboats while casting scented yarn balls or small clusters of roe. Anglers doing the best are focusing on the slower and deeper runs where the steelhead seem to be lying in wait of an uptake in flows. That could come as early as Saturday, when rains are forecast to move into the region and stay into early next week. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 1,590 cubic feet per second, thanks largely to the lean outflow of just 909 cfs from Lost Creek Lake. The rain-fed flows are forecast to spike to almost 7,000 cfs Wednesday at Grants Pass, then tail off for the remainder of the week. That will make for excellent steelhead-fishing conditions as early as Wednesday afternoon. The spike of water also should drag fresh steelhead from the lower Rogue and the Wild and Scenic Section up to civilization.

In the lower water, driftboaters are far out-producing bank anglers.

In the upper Rogue, the low flows out of Lost Creek Lake really have put the skids to the early winter steelhead fishing up there. Flows at Eagle Point were down to 1,250 cfs. The water's also cold, and the steelhead are hiding in holes where they are not that interested in biting. After the flows peak Wednesday and start to drop, prospect for winter steelhead in most of the deeper, slower runs on the upper Rogue. Expect the fish to be well spread out.

On the lower Rogue, flows at Agness were under 3,100 cfs Thursday and still dropping. That has put the crimps on what has been consistently good winter steelhead fishing there. Bank anglers using smaller Spin-Glo's are still picking up a few fish daily at their favorite plunking haunts like Lobster Creek and Dunkelberger bars. Look for catches to tail off as the river rises, then get back on those winter steelhead later next week and all weekend with Cop Car Hot Shots and K-11 Kwikfish.

No spring chinook have been seen yet in the lower Rogue.

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 severely now that flows have turned very low and cool. Flows at Kerby were at 632 cfs and dropping Wednesday. 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 less than 400 cfs at Wilderville. Most of the catches have come around the Highway 199 bridge and other lower-river holes, but there has been little activity of late. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing allowed from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua has tapered off for winter steelhead thanks largely to a severe drop in flows this week. Flows Wednesday at Tiller were down to 566 cfs and dropping, leaving the steelhead slow to move and spooky. Look for another fresh shot of fish after this weekend's rains. The North Umpqua was slow for winter steelhead, though the mainstem was still fishing well.

COQUILLE - The South Fork of the Coquille has seen the winter steelhead fishing drop off considerably thanks to flows of less than 900 cfs at Myrtle Point. Look for a nice spike in fresh fish after this weekend's rains.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk and Sixes were both very low and clear all week, with virtually no winter steelhead angling. This weekend's rains will jump-start the fishery, which should be excellent around the end of next week.

CHETCO - The river was down to 1,243 cfs Wednesday and dropping. Flows are forecast to spike from this weekend's rains and peak Wednesday at about 6,500 cfs. That will make for excellent winter steelhead fishing conditions Wednesday through the weekend. Roe has out-produced plugs. Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day, with a five-fish annual limit.


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