COASTWIDE - Plenty of bright red ink and hazard warnings highlight this weekend's ocean forecast along the Oregon Coast, with hazardous seas sticking around into at least early next week. Swells will top 13 feet most of the weekend even though winds are forecast to die down late Saturday or Sunday.
For clammers, no minus tides are forecast this week but the afternoon lows will be good for clamming for the next three days. Bay clamming will be best and safest because of the wave surges from the churning seas.
Ocean crabbing is a bust for the foreseeable future due to dangerous conditions.
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 have been able to 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.
BROOKINGS - The bar conditions are extremely poor, so don't expect any boat activity this weekend. Surfperch fishing has been very good at Winchuck Beach lately when surf and winds allow for it. When the waters settle down, lingcod fishing should be very good for those slowly dragging anchovies or herring along the bottom.
COOS BAY - Chinook salmon fishing opened Thursday for recreational anglers north of Humbug Mountain, but the ocean was far too rough for fishing and is likely to remain so through the weekend. When the ocean settles down, anglers can prospect for chinook in waters about 150 feet deep. Vary your depths with slowly trolled herring or anchovies with hoochies.
Crabbing will be slow off the public docks in the bay due to the heavy surge of freshwater from the rain. The low salinity will force crabs deeper into the bay and then back to the ocean.
Lingcod jigging near Cape Arago has been very good when the weather allows. Black rockfish catches have been low.
WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing has been slow below the Highway 101 bridge. Crabbing is likely to be poor for a while because of heavy inflows from the ongoing rainstorms.
AGATE - A fresh batch of legal-sized trout that were stocked less than a month ago have spread throughout the bottom half of the reservoir. Heavy inflows last week raised the reservoir to 78 percent of full and put the trout off the bite. Try worms or PowerBait off the bottom near the dam or wind-drift worms around the shallows in 8 to 16 feet of water. When you get a trout bite, hit that stretch for a while. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - This week's projected in-flows could put a clamp on trolling or wind-drifting for rainbow trout, which don't react well to heavy fluctuations in water levels there. Out-flows will remain at the bare minimum of 110 cubic feet per second as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to ramp up the filling of the reservoir. The lake is still 67 feet from full, up eight feet in the last 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 has risen significantly in the past week and will continue to rise, putting trout and warmwater fish off the bite this weekend. Expect some turbid water throughout the reservoir, with cleaner but colder water on the upper end. 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.
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 has picked up dramatically after the pond was stocked a week ago 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 have worked well for getting kids into the rainbows.
LOST CREEK - The lake is rising, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will step up its water releases today by 500 cubic feet per second in hopes of capturing as much of the inflow as possible to make up for a dry winter. The surface temperature continues to hover between 41 degrees and 42 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 that's closed to fishing. Worms on Wedding Ring lures trolled slowly at varied depths often works well, especially with small flashers. 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 continued to be 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 Tuesday, and catches will be good off the boat ramp an hour or so after the fish are released. Casting worms or PowerBait from the bank will be best. PowerBait is the closest thing to hatchery raceway food and that's all these fish have known in their lives.
Access to the county boat ramp is now available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ROGUE - It looks like a rough go for winter steelheading on the entire Rogue River as another heavy and cold storm moves through the region. The middle Rogue blew out Thursday and looks to stay that way until Sunday at the earliest, while the lower Rogue could be messy and turbid into next week. The upper Rogue can pull into shape as early as Saturday, provided the turbidity isn't too bad out of Big Butte and Elk creeks.
That makes the upper Rogue the best bet for winter steelhead fishing, and the action will be focused more on the winter part of that description than the steelhead part.
In the upper Rogue, water releases from Lost Creek Reservoir will jump from 900 cubic feet per second to 1,400 cfs by noon today. Add tributary flows and it looks like flows will peak Friday at around 8,500 cfs at Gold Ray Dam. If the drop is fast, then the upper Rogue could be pretty good for winter steelhead Saturday and likely better Sunday.
Fresh winter steelhead will be on the move, and the best way to get after them will be plugs in migration lanes, either from driftboats or side-planers off the banks. K-11 Kwikfish and larger-lipped crayfish plugs will be the top offerings, with fishing best in water that's 4- to 6-feet deep and away from the main current. The inside turns of gravel bars could be good. Look for waves of fish to be moving through at a time.
In the middle Rogue, the conditions sent anglers packing Thursday when flows rose to 4,100 cfs of water with 15 NTUs of turbidity. Fourteen NTUs is considered the top end for muddy-water steelheading. The flows at Grants Pass will peak Saturday around 13,000 cfs, and that's going to make steelheading there a bust into early next week. But when the river comes into shape, look for excellent catches for boat and bank anglers with plugs, yarn balls or watermelon corkies with worms — a middle Rogue and Applegate River staple from way back.
In the lower Rogue, flows are forecast to leap to almost 29,000 cfs tonight, and the drop is going to be pretty slow into late next week. When it does drop, the quest for spring chinook salmon will be in full bore off the bank and by boaters. Spinning anchovies or cut-plug herring will be tops for boat anglers, while bankies with bigger Spin-Glo's will work at places like Huntley Park and Dunkelberger Bar.
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 - Releases from Applegate Lake will remain at just 110 cubic feet per second today, and look for those release levels to stay low through the weekend. Tributary flows will get winter steelhead on the move and flush the spawned-out summer steelhead kelts out of the system. Fish spoons or yarn flies for winter steelhead. The farther upstream areas likely will be better, depending upon turbidity. Find the greenest water and pound it.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
UMPQUA - The system is forecast to be up and out of shape into the weekend thanks to the latest storm.
CHETCO - The river was way out of shape Friday and is forecast to peak at 32,000 cubic feet per second today, making winter steelhead fishing a tough idea through the weekend.
ELK/SIXES - Both rivers are way high and out of shape for winter steelhead fishing.