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MailTribune.com
  • 2011 Fishing Forecast

  • SOUTHWEST ZONE
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  • Applegate Reservoir - Applegate Reservoir offers good fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass and rainbow trout. Spring chinook salmon are stocked there to supplement the trout fishery and count as part of the trout bag limit
    The first stocking of legal-sized rainbow trout for this year is scheduled for the week of April 18; however, fishing has been good on holdover trout already this spring. Trout have been caught wind-drifting with flies, on wedding rings tipped with a small piece of worm and by trolling lures. Bank anglers have been successful at the lower end of the lake using eggs. Anglers should try fishing a variety of depths off of points and tributaries. Fishing for bass and panfish has been slow but will improve as the water warms.
    The availability of boat ramps will change with reservoir levels and season. During the spring, the Copper boat ramp is open daily and the Hart-Tish ramp is normally open on weekends. Updated boat access and day-use area information is available by calling the Applegate Ranger District at 541-899-1812. Daily reservoir level in feet above sea level can be obtained by calling 1-800-472-2434.
    Applegate River - The river is closed to fishing in the spring to protect out-migrating salmon and steelhead smolts but reopens for fin-clipped rainbow trout May 28. Two fin-clipped trout may be kept per day, 8-inch minimum length. Wild rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Use of bait is allowed.
    Much of the property along the river is privately owned, and anglers are reminded not to trespass. Access is available at several parks along the river and on the federal land on the upper section of the river.
    Agate Lake - Agate Lake is a fairly shallow irrigation reservoir located off Highway 140 northeast of Medford. Because of its low elevation, fishing picks up early in the season, with good fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead. In addition, the lake has been stocked with legal and larger-sized rainbow trout already this year. Fishing for bass, bluegill and crappie should improve as the water warms up. Jackson County maintains a boat ramp on the lake, plus there is plenty of good access for fishing from the bank. Target the bass, bluegill, and crappie near the submerged willows
    Big Butte Creek above Cobleigh Bridge and Little Butte Creek above the forks - Open to trout fishing May 28. Fishing is restricted to flies and lures only in both streams. Anglers may keep two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length in Big Butte Creek, while catch-and-release rules apply to Little Butte Creek. Both streams are closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead. There is no limit on brook trout in the headwaters of both streams. Big Butte Creek flows past the town of Butte Falls and access is primarily on private timber land, with some National Forest land in the headwaters. The best access for Little Butte Creek is on National Forest Land reached by Forest Service Road 37.
    Burma and Dutch Herman Ponds - These two old mining ponds are located on BLM land east of Wolf Creek and are stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout during the spring. The first stocking will occur during the week of April 18. These ponds also contain largemouth bass and bluegill.
    Coos Bay and Coquille estuaries - Recreational crabbing is a popular family activity in the Coos Bay and the Coquille estuaries. Popular areas for crabbing from docks are the Bandon and Charleston marinas. For those with a boat, the inside of Coos Bay's North Spit, between Charleston and the BLM boat ramp, produces lots of Dungeness and red rock crabs. Crabbing can be excellent in the fall, winter and early spring but typically slows down in the estuaries during late spring and summer, as many crabs will become soft-shelled with the molt. Numerous clam species such as gapers, cockles and butter clams are available on sand and mud flats of Coos Bay nearly year-round. Marine perch and rock fish species are caught in the bays around concentrations of pilings and rock formations, and off ocean beaches.
    Coos Bay, Coos River and Coquille River - Striped bass, shad and sturgeon are available in the spring. Green sturgeon were recently listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act and must be released. Both green sturgeon and white sturgeon were tagged in Coos Bay by researchers a few years ago, and anglers are asked to report tags recovered, even if the fish are released. If you release a tagged sturgeon, please leave the tag in place, but report information on date, location caught, size of fish, and tag number. Popular sturgeon-fishing areas for the Coos estuary are near McCullough Bridge (where Highway 101 crosses Coos Bay), Haynes Inlet (the northernmost arm of Coos Bay), and upriver near the confluence of the South Coos and Millicoma rivers.
    Shad will appear with warm, sunny weather in late May and into June. In general, shad are available in the South Coos, Millicoma and Coquille river tidewater from Mother's Day to Father's Day. Popular shad fishing areas are near Myrtle Tree and Doras Place boat ramps in the Coos/Millicoma, and near Sturdivant Park on the Coquille. Shad returns to local rivers have been low for the last four or five years.
    Striped bass congregate in tidewater of the Coquille River in the late spring to spawn. The population of striped bass in the Coos Basin has been nearly nonexistent in recent years. The striper bite usually slows during the spawning period in late May and early June, but picks up again post-spawning. Surfperch anglers occasionally catch striped bass in the surf in early spring. The minimum length for harvesting striped bass is 24 inches.
    Steelhead fishing in the Coos and Coquille basins continues through April in waters open to this species.
    Denman Wildlife Area - The wildlife management area, situated near White City, offers very good fishing for a variety of warmwater species in ponds found throughout the property. Whetstone Pond is the largest pond. Anglers there target largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead. Carp also are present, and green sunfish are found in some of the ponds. Good bank fishing is available, and boats with electric motors are permitted. Information and a map of all the ponds on the Wildlife Management Area are available at the Rogue Watershed District office of ODFW at 541-826-8774.
    Diamond Lake - Diamond Lake may not be ice-free for the opener. For water conditions, call the resort at 1-800-733-7593 and for campground information call the Forest Service at 541-498-2531. The lake has more than 400,000 trout. Most will be over 12 inches long and many will be over 16 inches. Only one trout over 20 inches can be harvested per day. No live fish can be used as bait at Diamond Lake or any fresh water lake or stream. Penalties for the use or release of invasive species has increased dramatically and more invasive species checks will be conducted statewide.
    Emigrant Reservoir- The lake already has been stocked this spring with good numbers of legal-sized rainbow trout. Fishing for trout has been good on PowerBait, worms and single eggs. Trout stocking will continue through May. Fishing for bass and panfish should improve as the weather warms up. Trout anglers likely will want to fish in and around the county park and boat ramps using floating bait or worms with a weight about two feet above the hook. As the water clears in the spring, trollers fishing flies, lures or a flasher and worm combination can have good success. Later in the spring as water temperatures increase, anglers should fish the flooded willows, the dam face and dike structures for bluegill, black crappie, largemouth, smallmouth and brown bullheads.
    Expo Pond and Reinhart Park Pond - These urban ponds offer an excellent family fishing opportunity in the communities of Central Point and Grants Pass. Both ponds are stocked with rainbow trout throughout the spring, and provide good fishing for bass and panfish in the summer and fall. Expo Pond is located immediately adjacent to the access road at Gate 5 at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Reinhart Park Pond is located at Reinhart Park in Grants Pass. Fishing bait, either from a bobber or on the bottom with weight, can be very effective.
    Fish Lake - The lake is normally ice-free and the boat ramp open by early April. Trout fishing should be good for both bank and boat anglers using bait, lures or flies. Fish Lake is heavily stocked each year with legal-sized rainbow trout, with the first release in 2011 scheduled for the week of April 18. Brook trout also are available. Early season anglers should be prepared for winter conditions and varying levels of ice coverage.
    As a pilot project, juvenile spring chinook are being stocked in Fish Lake along with the legal rainbows. The first release of 50,000 fin-clipped spring chinook, averaging 3 inches in length, was completed in 2009. Plans call for the fish to be stocked for three years to see whether these fish will survive and grow large feeding on tui chub introduced illegally. Trout regulations apply to the spring chinook in the lake. ODFW staff are also working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Medford Irrigation District to develop a screen on the overflow spillway to prevent fish from leaving the lake. Bait fishing with worms and floating bait is effective at Fish Lake and is probably the best bet during summer. Trollers can do well at Fish Lake in the spring, fishing flies, lures and small spoons or spinners.
    For information on snow and ice conditions, call the Butte Falls Ranger District office at 541-865-2700. Fish Lake Resort can be reached at 541-949-8500.
    Floras Lake - Floras Lake, near Langlois, is stocked in late spring with some trophy trout and 5,000 legal trout. Fishing can be good through the spring before weed growth and water temperatures get too high. The lake has a small number of bass. The best way to fish the lake is in a boat as there is very little shore access. The boat ramp is located at Boice Cope County Park.
    Galesville Reservoir - The 600-acre lake is stocked annually with 8,000 legal-sized trout. The lake also has bass, crappie and bluegill. Bass between 12—15 inches must be released, and only one bass over 15 inches can be kept. The reservoir is also periodically stocked with coho smolts. These coho typically have grown to 11 to 14 inches and tend to bite even when warm weather slows down other fishing opportunities. Although the coho are fin-clipped, many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The reservoir now has a campground below the boat ramp operated by Douglas County.
    Garrison Lake - The lake in Port Orford is stocked several times in the spring with trophy and catchable trout. The lake also has a large number of cutthroat and holdover trout. Fishing can be really good through May, but warmer water and aquatic weeds make for tough fishing through the summer. There is a small number of bass in the lake. The best way to fish the lake is by boat, but bank fishing can be good off the fishing pier on 12th street.
    Howard Prairie Reservoir - Howard Prairie provides good fishing for stocked rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth. Brown bullheads and pumpkinseed sunfish are also available.
    Angling for rainbow trout has improved significantly with new stocking practices and is expected to be good when it opens this spring. Both boat and bank anglers do well here. Floating baits are popular, while boat anglers trolling flasher and worm or lure combinations usually do well for trout. Fly anglers can do well at the shallow upper end of the lake during years of good water conditions, especially early in the year. Angling for bass has become very popular in recent years. Four boat ramps are available, along with full service campgrounds. Contact Jackson County Parks at 541-774-8183 for campground information. Boat rentals are available at Howard Prairie Resort at 541-482-1979. A universal access fishing platform is located on a jetty near the resort.
    Hyatt Lake - Hyatt Lake, located east of Ashland near Howard Prairie Reservoir, opens April 23. Largemouth bass are available at Hyatt, and the lake remains overpopulated with a large number of smaller-sized bass. These fish are easy to catch in the warm summer months and present a nice family fishing opportunity. Trout stocking has been temporarily switched to releases of legal-sized trout at Hyatt Lake. Holdover trout from releases last year should add to the fishery this spring. Four boat ramps are available on Hyatt, along with full-service BLM campgrounds. Boat rentals are available at the Hyatt Lake Resort at 541-482-3331.
    Illinois River - The Illinois is closed to fishing April 1-May 27 to protect out-migrating salmon and steelhead smolts. The river below Pomeroy Dam opens to steelhead and fin-clipped trout on May 28. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures; no bait is allowed. Fin-clipped steelhead and rainbow trout, which are actually half-pounder steelhead, can at times be caught in the lower Illinois during the summer. The remainder of the river and its tributaries are closed to all fishing. A large portion of the Illinois is located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. The best access to the river is on the Forest Service land west of Selma and at Oak Flat just above the confluence with the Rogue River.
    Laird Lake - This lake is located north of Port Orford, approximately 30 miles up Elk River Road. The lake is stocked with several hundred legal-sized trout and some trophy trout in late spring and usually fishes really well all summer. The lake is full of downed wood, and bank access is somewhat limited. A small pram or float tube can be an effective way to fish the lake. Elk River Hatchery is located on the road to Laird Lake and makes a good place to stop and take a tour.
    Lake Selmac - The largest standing water body in Josephine County, Lake Selmac is heavily stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout from February through June. The lake is also a good producer of largemouth bass, and is managed for trophy bass through a one bass per day limit. Bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead are also available. Fish for trout near the dam as the water warms. Look for largemouth bass around the stumps and overhanging brush, and for black crappie and bluegill fish from pier and dikes. Fish close to shore at Lake Selmac; it is easy to cast too far and miss the bulk of the fish. Bank access, boat ramps and camping facilities are available through Josephine County Parks at 541-474-5285. Boat rentals are available at the Lake Selmac Resort at 541-597-2277.
    Lemolo Reservoir - Lemolo was still drawn down in early April to help store water from this year's high snowpack and March rains. For information about access at the Poole Creek boat ramp when the reservoir opens April 23, call the Forest Service at 541-498-2531. Lemolo has a naturally reproducing brown trout population that offers some excellent fishing in the spring and fall. The lake will also be stocked with more than 5,000 trout this spring and is scheduled to receive additional trout this fall. Lemolo has several Forest Service campgrounds along its shores plus Lemolo Lake Resort, which offers lodging, camping and food. The area is accessible to boat and bank anglers.
    Lost Creek Reservoir - The reservoir is heavily stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Throughout the summer, smallmouth and largemouth bass provide an important fishery at the reservoir. Casting jigs along the northern shoreline can be very effective for good-sized smallmouth. Angling for trout is expected to be good again this year. Stocking began in March, and releases continue through early June. Trout anglers fishing from the bank primarily use either floating bait or worms. Boat anglers use a wide variety of techniques. Trollers often fish wedding ring and nightcrawler combinations behind a weight, while fly anglers can have success both trolling and casting. Fishing for bass and panfish will improve as the weather warms. Largemouth bass are contributing more to the fishery at Lost Creek due to ongoing transfers from other lakes. With the help of volunteers from local bass clubs, ODFW has released close to 10,000 largemouth bass into the reservoir over the past several years.
    Rogue River, lower - Anglers are focused primarily on spring chinook in April, May and June from the mouth upstream to Foster Bar, approximately 40 miles. An early run of summer steelhead usually enters the river the latter part of May and early June. Flows and water temperatures affect spring chinook fishing success the most. Anglers will want to keep an eye on current river conditions before deciding when and where to fish.
    Rogue River, middle and upper - Early spring fishing on the Rogue above the Wild and Scenic Rogue Canyon means winter steelhead angling. The Rogue is enjoying a good return of winter steelhead this year. Most winter steelhead in the Rogue are wild fish, but returns to Cole Rivers Hatchery have been good this year, as well. The Rogue is open to fishing for adipose fin-clipped steelhead the entire year. Until April 30, nonadipose fin-clipped steelhead at least 24 inches in length may be kept, one per day and five per year.
    The Rogue is closed to trout fishing in the spring to protect smolts migrating to the ocean. Trout fishing reopens May 28, when anglers may keep five fin-clipped rainbows per day, 8-inch minimum length. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed.
    Spring chinook salmon fishing peaks in the lower river in April and May, while anglers in the upper river above Gold Hill enjoy peak fishing between late May and early July. The spring chinook run is expected to continue to improve in 2011. For much of the run, wild spring chinook must be released unharmed, while hatchery spring chinook may be harvested. Anglers are encouraged to consult the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for details.
    Good boat ramps are well distributed along the Rogue River from the upper boundary of the Wild Section at Grave Creek up to Cole Rivers Hatchery, just below Lost Creek Lake. Bank access is readily available on the BLM land below Merlin and at numerous parks managed by Josephine County and the City of Grants Pass. In Jackson County, good bank access can be found at Valley of the Rogue State Park, the Jackson County Parks along the river, and from Casey State Park to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery. The river gets smaller in this section, with more defined holes. Drifting bait, casting lures and back-trolling plugs are all popular techniques. Later in the season, fly fishing can be very productive.
    Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir - Most campgrounds and public access sites on the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir are stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout on nearly a weekly basis between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The program provides some of the best summer trout fishing for residents of the Rogue Valley and offers an additional excuse to escape the summer heat for the scenic upper Rogue. Brook trout also are available in the headwater streams. Contact the Rogue Watershed District ODFW office at 826-8774 for a map of stocking sites.
    Siskiyou Mountain Lakes - Several of the small, high-elevation lakes in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwest Oregon are stocked with rainbow or brook trout and offer excellent fishing in an intimate setting.
    Bolan, Tannen and East Tannen Lakes are located off of the Takelma-Happy Camp Road south of Cave Junction. Bolan is accessible by a Forest Service Road, while Tannen and East Tannen Lakes, within the Red Buttes Wilderness, require a short hike. Miller Lake is located in the upper Applegate drainage west of Applegate Reservoir. It can be reached by either the Carberry Creek Road or Thompson Creek Road; however, anglers must now hike the last two miles to the lake due to a closed bridge. Most of these lakes become accessible by mid-May, and usually remain so until early November. Information and maps for the Siskiyou National Forest and Red Buttes Wilderness Area can be obtained from the Grants Pass Interagency (Forest Service and BLM) Office, 541-471-6500.
    Sky Lakes Wilderness Area - Many of the lakes and streams within this wilderness area, which straddles the crest of the Cascades between Crater Lake National Park and Highway 140, offer good trout fishing. Most of the larger lakes are stocked with brook trout, which can grow up to 20 inches long. The streams and a few lakes have naturally-reproducing populations of rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. The higher-elevation lakes are typically blocked by snow or ice until late June but then usually remain accessible through October. Some of the lakes are relatively close to trailheads and can be reached by an easy hike. Others require more effort to access. For anglers who want to get away from the crowds and enjoy fishing in a beautiful setting, the lakes and streams in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area can be a great destination — but make sure to bring plenty of mosquito repellent.
    Southard Lake - Southard is a hike-in lake with some carryover trout. It is located at the headwaters of Foster Creek, approximately 40 miles northeast of Gold Beach. Anglers wishing to fish the lake should contact the Gold Beach Ranger Station for maps and current road conditions. The lake is annually stocked with a couple hundred fish in the spring. The lake gets very little pressure and usually fishes well all summer long.
    Spaulding Pond - Located in the Siskiyou National Forest north of Selma, this small pond is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout throughout the spring. The first stocking is scheduled for the week of April 18, provided the road is free of snow. The gravel road to Spaulding Pond is usually blocked by snow until mid-April. Given the heavy snowpack, this year it could open later. Fishing should be good, with the best action this spring occurring in the afternoons when the water is the warmest. For updated road access information, call the Grants Pass Interagency Office at 541-471-6500.
    Toketee Reservoir - Toketee Reservoir, which is up the North Umpqua, is open year-round and provides excellent brown trout fishing in late spring and fall. The trout generally range from 11 to 14 inches. The reservoir is readily accessible to both bank and boat anglers.
    Umpqua Basin High Cascade Lakes - The Salmon Trout Enhancement Program and volunteers work together to annually stock 11 high mountain lakes in the Umpqua watershed with brook trout. These lakes provide an opportunity for families to enjoy hiking into a lake for some quality fishing. These lakes are within the Umpqua National Forest and several have primitive camp sites near their shores. Lakes presently being stocked include Maidu, Linda, Calamut, Connie, Skookum, Bullpup, Fuller and Big Twin on the the North Umpqua side, plus Wolf at French Junction and Cliff and Buckeye on the South Umpqua side of the drainage.
    Umpqua Basin Rivers and Streams - Trout fishing opens May 28. Anglers should check regulations carefully for stream closures, gear restrictions, catch-and-release areas, and season dates before fishing. Rainbow trout are not stocked in Umpqua basin streams and rivers.
    Umpqua River - With the high snowpack and spring rains, there should be extended spring chinook fishing this year in the mainstem and lower North Umpqua. Last year, nearly 14,000 spring chinook crossed Winchester Dam. The jack count wasn't as high last year, but nearly 10,000 spring chinook are expected. Most spring chinook are being caught in the lower Umpqua. Spring chinook fishing in the lower Umpqua declines as warmer water temperatures and algae blooms occur. Then the fishing effort generally moves upstream to the North Umpqua. Floats between Amacher Park and River Forks can be very productive. Then the Swiftwater area increases in popularity later in the spring for bank anglers. There is a two-salmon-per-day limit and hatchery and native chinook are available for harvest. Rock Creek annually releases about 340,000 fin-clipped chinook smolts. Spring chinook fishing is open on the North Umpqua up to the markers at Rock Creek. The season runs through July 31.
    The winter steelhead season is open on the South Umpqua through the end of April. Good numbers of fish continue to be in the river through April and fishing pressure is light. Come May, anglers shift to summer steelhead opportunities on the mainstem and North. Like the winter regulations, only fin-clipped steelhead can be harvested. Whereas the South Umpqua has a winter steelhead hatchery program, the North Umpqua has a summer steelhead hatchery program. Although production has varied the last couple years, there will be some hatchery summer steelhead available throughout the spring and summer. Most of the hatchery steelhead stay below the confluence with Rock Creek. This corresponds to the bait water area that is open to spinning rods. The fly waters offer some excellent catch-and-release fishing for anglers preferring fly-fishing equipment. There are special gear restrictions and closures in the fly waters, so check the fishing regulations.
    Striped bass and sturgeon are available in the lower Umpqua and tidewater portion of Smith River. Shad are also in the mainstem Umpqua as the water warms. Various points from the Umpqua boat ramp to Yellow Creek are popular shad spots. The shad run normally occurs from late April through mid June.
    Smallmouth bass are available on the mainstem Umpqua and will become progressively more active through the spring and summer. Good bass fishing can be found throughout the mainstem from Roseburg, to the estuary in pools or slackwater areas. Bass season opens in the South the same day that trout season opens (May 28). From Winston to Roseburg there are several floats that can be done with an inflatable raft to access the bass. There also is good bass fishing from the bank or boat near Templin ramp in downtown Roseburg. Ten bass of any size can be harvested per day.
    Winchester Bay offers dock and boat crabbing throughout the year. The jetties offer rockfish angling, and surfperch fishing is available throughout spring and early summer. Winchester Bay has also been a successful port for sport fishing for ocean salmon. Come August, both coho and fall chinook are entering the bay. Bank fishing opportunities extend from Half Moon Bay all the way to Salmon Harbor.
    Willow Lake - Willow Lake, located southeast of Butte Falls, offers fishing for stocked rainbow trout, as well as largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullheads and yellow perch This scenic lake has an improved boat ramp and a county-owned campground. Last year, the lake was hurt by low water levels and a toxic algae bloom. This year, the lake is nearly full and conditions for angling should be greatly improved. The county park opens in mid April. For an update on conditions, call Jackson County Parks at 541-774-8183. Cabins and the group campground information are available through Rogue Recreation at 541-865-3474.
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