Fishing Report: March 18, 2011

OCEAN OUTLOOK

Coastwide - A hazardous seas watch remains in effect through tonight, and then things don't get much better off the Oregon Coast through the weekend. The good news is that swells should drop below 10 feet by Sunday evening, but even that's way too high for most sea legs. Look to steer clear of the coast into early next week at best.

Sport crabbers are allowed on the ocean, but few are fishing for Dungeness these days because of treacherous seas. Bay crabbing has been just fair because of all the rain and will probably be poor into next week.

All shellfish fishing is open coastwide, but clammers should be mindful of sneaker waves. Mussel harvesting also is open coastwide. For more information and updated closure information, call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474.

BROOKINGS - The port remains in shambles after last week's tsumani. Ocean fishing looks rough into next week. Surfperch fishing had been good around the Winchuck River mouth on calmer surf days. Look for more perch fishing some time next week. Clam necks and prawns are good baits.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has been good at Nesika Beach with shrimp and prawns, but be careful of rough surf.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing has been fair.

CHARLESTON - The lower area of Charleston continues to be fair 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 when the weather permits.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows has slowed amid storms and murky water. Trolling has been slow, so try still-fishing or wind-drifting with bait. Heavy wind days have not produced catches. No gas motors are allowed.

APPLEGATE - The trophy trout stocked there in late February have spread out and have been tougher to find. Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers should do well for them, as well as for the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October, when the weather improves. Good numbers of land-locked chinook are still available. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable. Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake will get another 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout this week, and that should jump-start trout fishing. The latest storms have slowed the trout bite, and the water is murky, harming trolling. Bank anglers fishing near the dam are faring well on worms and PowerBait. Bass fishing will improve with the warmer weather.

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 April 23.

HYATT - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

DIAMOND - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

EXPO - The pond is open year-round, and fishing should improve this week after the recent release of 1,400 legal-sized rainbow trout. Find them with Panther Martin lures, worms and single salmon eggs.

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 will improve after this week's stocking of 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout just in time for spring break. Focus on catching them near the Lost Creek Lake Marina and the Takelma boat ramp. Bank fishing will be best with worms, single salmon eggs or PowerBait. Trolling will pick up once the fish get acclimated to the lake. The Stewart State Park boat ramp and the Takelma ramp are open.

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 lake was stocked with almost 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout this week, and that should generate some angling interest.

SELMAC - The lake was stocked recently with the legal-sized trout, and fishing has been good for them with most baits. Single salmon eggs and cheese has worked well.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

MEDCO - Fishing for rainbow trout has been good off the bank with PowerBait.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - Recent storms have turned most of the Rogue into a high, muddy torrent that should make winter steelhead and early spring chinook fishing something of a bust for the immediate future. However, if the rains stop and the river levels drop intensely as forecast today, look for a few things to open up over the weekend.

The middle Rogue will be the best short-term bet for anglers seeking winter steelhead in the tail end of the run here. The middle Rogue is worth exploring now because it has a lot more deep and slow runs where anglers should be able to find a few winter steelhead while they wait for improved water conditions early next week.

Side-drifting roe, yarn balls scented with egg juice and even pink rubber worms will be the ticket for those fishing Lathrop's Landing to Robertson Bridge or Indian Mary to Galice. Hug the shoreline and get in front of migrating winter steelhead along the inside turns of gravel bars with plugs. K-11 Kwikfish swim best in high water, and rattling plugs work better in darker water conditions.

In the lower Rogue, everything looks blown out until Tuesday at the earliest. Flows at Agness were up to 28,000 cubic feet per second and dropping, but not enough to justify the gas to get there. And that's too bad because the early buzz on spring chinook fishing was good before the recent storm fronts hit.

Springer fishing had been good last week between the old mill site upstream to Lobster Creek, as well as a couple in the Agness area. Water conditions since Thursday, however, have been poor at best and they look bad until Tuesday, when flows at Agness were forecast to drop to 11,000 cfs. That's still high, but it could be decent enough for springer fishing with anchovies or plugs from Agness down to tidewater.

The upper Rogue was starting to sport more winter steelhead before high and muddy water turned the tables on anglers. Cole Rivers Hatchery workers captured 100 winter steelhead in the hatchery trap last week, proving there are plenty of fish moving through the upper stretches. Flows at Dodge Bridge were at 6,400 cfs when it crested there Wednesday. If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eases back on water releases, look for decent winter steelhead fishing there early this week. Focus on migration lanes. Steelhead will be on the move.

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

ILLINOIS - Water conditions were high and out of shape for winter steelhead fishing Thursday, with flows at Kerby forecast to be high until Tuesday. Winter steelhead fishing could improve by mid-week. Use Spin-Glo's and yarn balls, then Little Cleo's when the water clears up more.

No bait is allowed. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and up to five per year between Briggs Creek and Pomeroy Dam.

APPLEGATE - Winter steelhead are throughout the system now, but high flows have made for poor fishing. Flows at Wilderville peaked at 3,400 cfs Wednesday. Look for some winter steelhead catches high in the system this weekend, with roe or yarn flies working best. Spoon fishing should be slow until water levels drop.

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

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua and North Umpqua were high and out of shape for winter steelhead fishing Thursday and are likely to remain out of shape into next week.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk and Sixes were both out of shape for late-run winter steelhead fishing Thursday.

CHETCO - The river was flowing at more than 13,000 cfs Wednesday with no action for late-run winter steelhead. When flows subside, look for a batch of spawned-out kelts, as well as a few fresh, late-run, winter steelhead. Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day and five per year.


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