COASTWIDE - Ocean conditions look fairly decent for morning rockfish trips this weekend. Wind waves of about two feet are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, which is pretty good considering a small-craft advisory had been in effect through this morning on the south coast.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. New for 2012 is a rule that bans cabezon harvest until April to provide a chance to stretch out the cabezon quota.
Lingcod fishing has been very good when anglers can get out. Look for lingcod to be around kelp beds and near jetties when the ocean subsides enough for jigging. Black, white and red jigs are good March producers. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
Ocean crabbing conditions are much better now that the weather is starting to cooperate. Dungeness are making their way into Oregon bays and estuaries thanks to drops in stream flows. Crab meat condition is excellent and the entire Oregon Coast is open for crabbing.
For clamming, the entire coast is open. The upcoming tide sequence isn't that great for clamming, but a small minus tide is set for Thursday. Watch for sneaker waves.
BROOKINGS - The bar has been rough most of the week, but wind waves of two feet or less are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, making near-shore lingcod trips possible and quite doable. Find the lings just off the north jetty and just north of the port. The lings are near shore for spawning, and this is one of the best times of year to catch big lings. Black and blue rockfish catches have been slow.
COOS BAY - Crabbing remains very good in the lower estuary and along the public crabbing docks of Charleston. Good crabbing should be available into Sunday, but watch for freshets to push the Dungeness deeper into estuaries and into the ocean.
Lingcod jigging near Cape Arago has been very good when the weather allows. Black rockfish catches have decent along the inside of the north jetty and that should continue through the weekend, but focus on mornings before the winds kick up.
Clamming will be fair to good on low tides this week around Charleston, but none of the low tides are that fantastic for clammers.
WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing has remained slow below the Highway 101 bridge. Crabbing has held on well for those working the triangle area, and crabbing should remain good until another heavy freshet.
AGATE - Fresh legal-sized trout were stocked two weeks ago. The lake is shallow enough that it warms quickly and makes for good March trout fishing. The water level was listed Thursday at 61 percent, up 4 percent in the past week. The trout have dispersed throughout the lower third of the reservoir, with a fair number of rainbows still hanging around the boat ramp where they were released. Worms fished a few feet under bobbers are working best. Some PowerBait fishing is working, as well. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - This week's storms have been more snow than rain, so inflows have not shot up at the lake. Inflows Thursday were 287 cubic feet per second, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing its bare minimum of 110 cfs in an attempt to fill the reservoir. The lake is still 78 feet from full, and fishing pressure is very light. The facilities at Hart-Tish Park are closed and the low-water ramp at French Gulch is open and usable, as is the Copper ramp. For winter trout fishing, troll Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms. Bass fishing is slow.
EMIGRANT - The lake is just a hair under two-thirds full, and rainbow trout are available. Troll slowly with Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms, or use PowerBait from the bank. Perch fishing has improved around Songer Wayside but it remains poor up the Emigrant Arm because of cold in-flows from Emigrant Creek. The arm has some bigger trout in it, and they're taking worms and small spinners.
A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
HYATT - The lake is closed for the season.
DIAMOND - The lake is closed for the season.
LEMOLO - The lake is closed for the season.
EXPO - Fishing will pick up dramatically after the pond is stocked Tuesday with legal-sized rainbow trout. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park off Peninger Road. Fish Panther Martin lures and other small lures. Worms a few feet under a bobber should also work.
LOST CREEK - The lake is rising as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases just 865 cfs of water in hopes of capturing as much of the inflow as possible to make up for a dry winter so far. The inflow was under 2,000 cfs on Thursday, and the lake's surface temperature has dropped to 40 degrees. That has kept the smallmouth bite from turning on, so trolling for trout remains the best show on this lake. Trolling should be best near the face of the dam and upstream of Peyton Bridge near the top of the reservoir, but anglers must stay in the calm water because the flowing water is part of the far upper Rogue River system, which is closed to fishing. Worms on Wedding Ring lures trolled slowly at varied depths often works well, especially with small flashers. Vary your depth. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is usable. The Takelma ramp near the dam also is open, but it can be difficult to maneuver large boats and trailers there.
LAKE of the WOODS - The ice is thick and ice-fishing was good this week near the resort, with catches of trout and perch on worms and jigs.
FISH - The ice is good near the resort and the Forest Service boat ramp, where anglers are catching a mix of rainbow and brown trout on worms and jigs.
WILLOW - The lake is set for its first stocking of the season during the week of March 19. Until then, it's holdover rainbows. Trolling slowly with various types of lures or even wind-drifting has proven to be good for rainbow trout for the few anglers going after them. The county boat ramp is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ROGUE - In spite of wet weather, anglers riverwide continue to battle low-water conditions because recent storms have been more about snow than runoff, triggering wimpy steelhead movement and slow fishing throughout most of the river. Rumors of spring chinook have popped up in Gold Beach and among the Rainie Falls crowd, but no proof of any springers in the middle Rogue just yet.
With has at $4 per gallon, the best bet is to fish as close to home as possible. For Bear Creekers, that means the upper Rogue, while Grants Passers will take on the middle Rogue, all for winter steelhead.
In the upper Rogue, winter steelhead fishing has been quite erratic, with anglers working everyplace from the Hatchery Hole down past the old Gold Ray Dam site. The problem is low and cold flows, with releases from Lost Creek Lake a paltry 865 cubic feet per second of 40-degree water. That has slowed steelhead migration, though 83 new winter steelhead did reach Cole Rivers Hatchery over the past week.
Driftboaters are doing the best, with a mix of spawned-out summer steelhead and fresh winter steelhead in the mix. The deeper, slower runs seem to be holding steelhead best. A few side-planers using K-11 Kwikfish are fishing near the Gold Ray Dam area, as well.
In the middle Rogue, the conditions have made for poor catches of late. The flows Thursday at Grants Pass were 3,000 cfs of 39-degree water, with the temperature hurting the most. The turbidity there Thursday was 13 NTUs, which is right on the cusp of fishable conditions. Side-drifting scented yarn balls has been best for driftboaters, while bankies casting worms with watermelon corkies could run into a steelhead or two under these conditions.
The Whitehorse Park area and the Galice area have fished fairly well recently, but a change in conditions is needed to really jump-start this fishery.
In the lower Rogue, a few rumors have circulated about new springers, but none have made it to the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach for verification. Water conditions are low, clear and cold for winter steelhead, but guides are getting a few fish by working the 6- to 7-foot deep slots along gravel bars. Most of the lower Rogue steelhead are in the Agness area. Halfpounder fishing remains poor amid a low run year.
Anglers riverwide can keep one wild winter steelhead at least 24 inches long as part of the two-fish daily limit. The minimum size for hatchery fish to be deemed legal adults is 16 inches long. Five wild winter steelhead can be kept annually.
APPLEGATE - The river was very low and clear and spotty for winter steelhead, but a few more fish reached the trap at the base of Applegate Dam, so the winters have dispersed throughout the system. The outflows at Applegate Dam are at110 cfs today, and that won't help much. The lower river still has the most steelhead, but most are in deeper pools or in runs under overhanging brush, making them tough to target.
Fly-fishing single-egg patterns and larger streamers should be fair, and those casting spinners or spoons should find steelhead, as well.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
UMPQUA - The South Umpqua had been fishing very well for winter steelhead, but water temperatures have turned cold after recent storms. The North Umpqua was fair to good riverwide for steelhead, but the fly water remains slow.
All wild steelhead must be released basin-wide. The South Fork has the most hatchery fish, with a few strays in the lower North Umpqua.
CHETCO - The river should crest Saturday at about 2,400 cubic feet per second and start to drop, which should trigger a late dash of fresh winter steelhead into the system. Catches now are a mix of bright and spawned-out fish.