Fishing Report: April 22, 2011

OCEAN OUTLOOK

Coastwide - Fairly good ocean conditions are forecast to greet Easter-weekend anglers along the south coast. That could lead to very good catches of black rockfish and lingcod close to shore and near the mouths of estuaries, especially Coos Bay. Stick to near-shore reefs and just outside kelp beds for spawning lingcod.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, plus one cabezon, and the lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Chinook fishing opened March 15 and will remain open through April north of Humbug Mountain. Salmon fishing has been poor since the season started because of routinely bad weather.

Sport crabbers are allowed on the ocean, but few have been fishing for dungeness because of treacherous seas. Bay crabbing has been just fair due to high runoff from local streams all week. Look for bay crabbing to be poor into next week at least.

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

BROOKINGS - Surfperch fishing is good around the Winchuck River mouth on calmer surf days, and look for more perch fishing this weekend if the surf dies down as forecast. 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. No bay fishing is going on for spring chinook.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing has been fair, largely because of high freshwater levels in the bay. Chinook fishing is open but effort is very light because of rough seas.

CHARLESTON - Chinook salmon season is open, but there is little effort so far because of rough seas. The lower area of Charleston has been fair for crabbing. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows has steadied but not improved largely due to murky water. The lake is full. 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. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake is about two-thirds full, and trollers continue to find decent catches of the trophy trout stocked there in late February. They have spread out, but many are around the French Gulch arm. Troll Flatfish or Triple Teasers. Fly-fishing for trout is good on calm days. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable. Hart-Tish Park is closed. For updates on facilities openings, call 541-899-9220.

EMIGRANT - Spring anglers are running into some of the 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout stocked there late last month, but this week's storms and barometric changes have continued to slow trout and bass fishing. The water remains murky. More warm days should get the bass on the bite. Bank anglers fishing near the dam are faring well with worms or PowerBait.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of mercury levels.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake opens Saturday to angling and it's ice-free. Most opening weekend fishing is still-fishing with worms or PowerBait, with rainbow and chartreuse the most popular colors. Good bank-fishing access is available at the jetty at Howard Prairie Resort along with Klum Landing and Willow Point. Focus on water 8 to 15 feet deep.

HYATT - The lake opens to angling Saturday and it is nearly ice-free. Still-fishing for rainbows should be very good for boat anglers anchoring just off weed lines and in The Orchard around snags. Trolling likely will be slow, but try Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings with worms. Troll slowly and in the top 10 feet of the water column.

DIAMOND - The lake opens to angling Saturday, with a mix of ice-fishing and bank fishing in pockets of open water, especially near the pizza parlor. Diamond Lake Resort will offer Sno-cat shuttles to and from the open water. South access is closed, so get to the resort via the north access off Highway 138. Ice-fish with worms or cheese and salmon eggs. Ice holes can be no larger than 12 inches. Use a heavier line and leader and let the trout tire substantially before hauling it out of the hole. The limit is 5 per day, but only one over 20 inches. The new eight-fish limit goes into effect May 1.

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

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout has improved after the recent stocking of 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Focus on catching them near the Lost Creek Lake Marina and the Takelma boat ramp. Bank fishing has been 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 - The lake is primarily ice-free around the resort and Forest Service ramp. Angling effort has been low. Worms and chartreuse PowerBait will work best for rainbow trout. The resort is open Fridays through Sundays.

WILLOW LAKE - The lake was stocked with almost 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout recently, and they have been largely neglected so far by anglers. No county facilities are open at the lake now.

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

LEMOLO - The lake opens to angling and good early fishing for brown trout should be available for those still-fishing with worms or PowerBait or fly-fishers using woolly buggers or leeches.

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


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - High and dirty water has plagued anglers trying for late-run winter steelhead and early-run spring chinook riverwide, as high flows out of Lost Creek Lake and heavy tributary flows of dirty water continue to make for poor and largely unfishable conditions.

That makes the best bet the far upper Rogue, where anglers fishing the Hatchery Hole, Chief Hole and Casey State Park have a chance of running into a late-run winter steelhead or an early-run springer. Waters downstream of Big Butte Creek have been poor and dirty much of the week, with water downstream of Elk Creek pretty much worthless right now.

Bank fishing at the Hatchery Hole is largely a spring chinook show now, with anglers casting and sidedrifting with beads and yarn. A few fish have been caught this week, and only one springer had made it into Cole Rivers Hatchery this week. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were holding at 4,000 cubic feet per second on Thursday, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was forecast to drop the flow to 3,800 cfs on Saturday and then to 3,600 cfs Monday. That should entice some springers to move, but cold river water has kept them lower in the system.

The middle Rogue was a bust for winter steelhead Thursday, and it didn't appear like conditions would allow any decent spring chinook salmon fishing through the weekend, either.

In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing has been consistently strong for boaters and bank anglers fishing slightly farther up in the system, but high and dirty water has severely harmed the bite and catch rates. However, about 70 percent of the fish caught so far this season in the lower Rogue have been fin-clipped hatchery fish.

Flows Thursday at Agness were 3,000 cfs, driving boat and bank anglers away until the weekend, when flows are forecast to drop to about 10,000 cfs — the high end of fishable under most conditions. Places like the Willows are poor because the water has fanned out so much, and anglers are working from the Ferry Hole upstream toward Agness. Bank anglers using anchovies with spinner blades and larger Spin-Glo's are finding springers at favorite haunts like Huntley Park and Dunkelberger Bar. All wild chinook must be released river-wide, but two fin-clipped chinook are legal. Anglers may keep one wild steelhead per day, as long as it is at least 24 inches long, through April. The annual limit is five.

ILLINOIS - The river is closed to all fishing.

APPLEGATE - The river is closed to all fishing.

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua and North Umpqua were both high and unfishable Thursday for winter steelhead. Look for the South Umpqua to drop enough for what could be very good winter steelhead fishing this weekend before water levels climb again next week. A lot of hatchery steelhead are in the mix and the South Umpqua typically fishes well for late-run winter steelhead through April.

The first few spring chinook were caught in the mainstem below the forks this week before high water chased anglers away. Look for more spring chinook to bite when water conditions improve.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers are closed to fishing.

CHETCO - The river is closed.


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