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MailTribune.com
  • Fishing Report: March 9, 2012

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  • COASTWIDE - Ocean conditions look fairly decent for morning trips until Sunday, when a front is predicted to hit and increase the swells. No small-craft advisories were in effect the past two days.
    Excellent afternoon clamming tides are here through Sunday, and they could provide the best clamming of the season. For clamming, the entire Oregon Coast is open. Watch for sneaker waves.
    Ocean crabbing conditions are good now that the weather is starting to cooperate, but more crabbers are favoring deep-water ports such as Coos Bay and Newport. 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.
    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. 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.
    BROOKINGS - The bar looks doable this weekend, and lingcod fishing has been very good for anglers dragging herring along the bottom with the aid of banana sinkers. The area immediately north of the north jetty often provides nice lingcod catches. The lings are near shore for spawning, and this is one of the best times of year for getting big lings. Black and blue rockfish catches have been low.
    COOS BAY - Crabbing is very good throughout the estuary, with high salinity levels and little rain creating good conditions. The public docks at Charleston have been very productive for crabbers.
    Lingcod jigging near Cape Arago has been very good when the weather allows. Black rockfish catches have been 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 very good to excellent around Clam Island through the weekend with very favorable afternoon minus tides predicted.
    WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow below the Highway 101 bridge. Crabbing should remain good until another heavy freshet.
    AGATE - A fresh batch of legal-sized trout were stocked three weeks ago, and fishing for them has slowed a bit after a pretty nice flurry the past two weeks. The lake is shallow enough that it warms quickly and makes for good March trout fishing. The lake Thursday was 68 percent full, up 7 percent in the past week. The trout have dispersed throughout the lower third of the reservoir. Worms fished a few feet under bobbers have been working best. PowerBait fishing works, as well. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
    APPLEGATE - This week's in-flows have slowed, and out-flows remain at the bare minimum of 110 cubic feet per second as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to fill the reservoir. The lake still is 74 feet from full, up just 3 feet in the past week, 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. No fresh fish are scheduled for stocking this week.
    EMIGRANT - The lake is a hair over 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, taking worms and small spinners. No new trout are planned for next week.
    A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
    EXPO - Fishing has picked up dramatically after the pond was 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 work, as well.
    LOST CREEK - The lake is rising as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing just a hair under 900 cfs of water in hopes of capturing as much of the in-flow as possible to make up for a dry winter. The surface temperature is at 41 degrees, and that has slowed the trout bite and made the bass bite terrible. 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 now closed to fishing. Troll slowly with worms on Wedding Ring lures at varied depths. 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 continues to be good 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 hold-over rainbows. The county boat ramp is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    ROGUE - Low and cold water conditions should change early next week, when a few storms are forecast to swell the Rogue riverwide. That will get winter steelhead back on the move in the middle and upper Rogue while dragging in fresh spring chinook salmon for those fishing the lower river.
    But the springer bite won't be good enough to justify the trip just yet, so the best bet is winter steelhead at a stretch of the Rogue near you.
    In the upper Rogue, winter steelhead fishing has continued to be quite erratic, with not much movement of fish in low and cold water. Anglers are working everything from the Hatchery Hole to down past the old Gold Ray Dam site.
    Releases from Lost Creek Lake are a paltry 900 cfs of 41-degree water, which has slowed steelhead migration, though the winter steelhead count at Cole Rivers Hatchery has inched up to 446 fish. Also, another 130 spawned-out and egg-stripped summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery were released Thursday at the TouVelle State Park boat ramp. These fish are catchable but are of poor quality and should be released unharmed so they can hit the ocean and return again next year.
    In the middle Rogue, the conditions are hurting the catch, as well. The flows Thursday at Grants Pass were down to 2,569 cfs, and that's summer-low for winter steelhead. Also, the turbidity has dropped under 6 NTUs, which is right on the line of being too clear to be helpful. 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 had fished fairly well recently, but a change in conditions is needed to jump-start this fishery, which should happen next week and pull some fresh fish move in.
    In the lower Rogue, new schools of winter steelhead have moved in, and most of the action has been closer to Agness than Gold Beach. Both bank and boat anglers are running into steelhead daily. Most steelhead are getting picked up near the heads of riffles in 6 to 7 feet of water. Flows are forecast to jump to 22,500 cfs at Agness on Thursday. That should bring in some spring chinook for the following weekend. A few new springers have been rumored, but none have made it to the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach for verification. Halfpounder fishing remains poor.
    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. Only five wild winter steelhead can be kept annually.
    APPLEGATE - The river was very low and clear and spotty for winter steelhead, and just three new fish reached the trap at the base of Applegate Dam last week. 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 could find steelhead, as well. Look for steelhead to spread out next week. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
    UMPQUA - The South Umpqua has slowed for winter steelhead as conditions drop to low and clear. The North Umpqua was fair to good riverwide for steelhead, except the fly water remains slow. The mainstem just downstream of the forks continues to fish well for winter steelheaders side-drifting yarn balls or fishing K-11 Kwikfish lures from driftboats.
    All wild steelhead must be released basin-wide. The South Fork has the most hatchery fish in the mix, with a few strays in the lower North Umpqua.
    CHETCO - The river was down near 1,000 cfs and dropping, creating low and clear conditions that don't help winter steelhead. Catches now are a mix of bright and spawned-out fish.
    ELK/SIXES - Both are low and clear with poor steelhead fishing success.
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