Ocean Outlook

Coastwide - Forecasts call for windy and rainy weather to go with some wind chop and big swells along much of the coast through the weekend, but an early trip to near-shore reefs for black rockfish and lingcod could be possible today. Lingcod are moving into shallow waters 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 bounced back up to 49 degrees off Port Orford and Charleston.

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

Few sport crabbers have been fishing for Dungeness during the choppy seas this winter, and bay crabbing has tapered off severely over the past week after rains and runoff reduced salinity levels and pushed the crab out to sea. They'll be creeping back in after this next storm front passes.

All 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 - Ocean fishing looks pretty bleak this weekend as heavy surf continues to pound the coast during each storm front. When conditions change, near-shore trips for black rockfish and lingcod should be very good to excellent. Glow in the dark jigs are best, but black and white jigs are plenty effective now.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow. Crabbing has been slowed as fresh runoff pushes crabs outside of the jetties.

CHARLESTON - 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.

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows has picked up now that a fresh complement of both were stocked in the reservoir Tuesday. The water is a bit murky, so trolling will be slower than still-fishing or wind-drifting with bait. No gas motors are allowed. The lake is listed as 84 percent full.

APPLEGATE - A few hundred trophy rainbow trout were set to be stocked today in the reservoir as Cole Rivers Hatchery workers get rid of their leftovers from trout spawning there. Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers should do well when targeting these and the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. 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 69 percent full, and the trout bite has been decent during the warmer afternoons. The water is murky, harming trollers. 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 remains just fair 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 14 to 18 inches remains good near the dam. Activity has been light and likely will remain so during this weekend's poor weather, 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, but the boat ramp and county facilities remain closed.

SELMAC - The lake is set to be stocked again Monday with legal-sized trout. Fishing has been good. The trout will stay close to the boat ramp at first, but they will disperse in the next week or so.

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 upper and middle Rogue were mired in dark water Thursday and much of the lower Rogue was not looking good for fishing, but winter steelhead — and perhaps the first spring chinook salmon of the season — are in store riverwide by the weekend if not starting today.

The best early fishing is going to be the lower Rogue, where plunkers and boat anglers alike should be getting into fish as early as today from Agness down to the head of tidewater. Flows Thursday at Agness were about 13,000 cubic feet per second but dropping quickly, which could make for great winter steelhead fishing by Saturday. The flows definitely brought in new steelhead, with plunkers using large Spin-Glo's doing best. Boaters will be fishing K-11 or even K-13 Kwikfish, with silver and pink or straight bronze the best choices. Fishing the larger Kwikfish also could get someone the first spring chinook of the season. The first springer often enters during freshets like this, but it might be a tad early.

In the middle Rogue, water flows were only about 4,250 cfs at Grants Pass, but there is plenty of turbidity in the water these days. Anglers Thursday were expecting conditions to improve by today or Saturday at the latest. When they do, look for some very good winter steelhead fishing throughout the middle Rogue. Anglers had been focused on the Galice area and doing quite well, particularly for those fishing the deeper and slower water. But steelhead should be all over the place now. Driftboaters are doing best with small clusters of roe or scented yarn balls.

In the upper Rogue, the low flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain at 900 cfs, but tributary flows had dirtied the water from Casey State Park on down. Predicting when the upper Rogue will be clean enough to fish has been difficult this year, largely due to more turbid water coming out of Lost Creek Lake than most winters. When the water cleans up, look for fresh steelhead in all the slower, deeper runs and along the inside turns of gravel bars. These winter steelhead will be on the move.

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 - Water conditions were extremely high Thursday, with flows at Kerby just under 3,300 cfs. Some big winter steelhead have been caught the past two days by guys fishing with larger Spin-Glo's. As the water conditions drop, look for excellent winter steelhead fishing riverwide. No bait is allowed.

Anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and up to five per year.

APPLEGATE - Winter steelhead fishing has been spotty on the lower Applegate, and flows were up to 986 cfs Thursday at Wilderville. The recent freshet should have distributed fish river-wide, so prospecting for steelhead around Cantrall-Buckley Park could be good this weekend.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing allowed from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua was high and in poor fishing shape Thursday, with flows at Winston up to 9,600 cfs. Flows around Tiller, however, were down to 1,400 cfs, so winter steelhead fishing there should be fine and likely very good through the weekend. The North Umpqua is high and winter steelhead fishing has been slow.

COQUILLE - The South Fork of the Coquille was flowing Thursday at about 8,400 cfs at Myrtle Point, but look for flows to drop dramatically. Winter steelhead fishing could resume there by Saturday, with better conditions higher in the system. There should be plenty of fresh steelhead around.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk was high but green enough for winter steelhead fishing Thursday, which means the weekend could be excellent. Steelhead definitely will be spread out river-wide. The Sixes should drop into very good fishing shape Saturday or Sunday, and winter steelhead fishing should turn on there, as well.

CHETCO - The river was up to 4,672 cfs Thursday afternoon, but the water was clear enough that winter steelhead fishing was very good Thursday and should be dynamite today and at least Saturday. Winter steelhead have been spread out riverwide, and catches likely will be best side-drifting roe or fishing plugs along the inside turns of gravel bars. Plunkers Thursday already were getting in the way of migrating winter steelhead with Spin-Glo's.

Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day, with a five-fish annual limit.