COASTWIDE - Ocean conditions look like they could finally be settling down enough to allow some bottomfishing and chinook salmon-fishing excursions this weekend. Swells under 5 feet are forecast for Saturday, but that could turn sour if a new storm front moves in. If the weather allows, hit near-shore reefs for lingcod and black and blue rockfish. Jigs of most colors will work, as will dragging anchovies off the bottom.
For clammers, a series of excellent, morning minus tides run today through Tuesday, and morning lows like this are perfect for clamming because they often come with light winds and lower surf. That will allow for some open beach clamming, as well as bay clamming.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Beginning Sunday, anglers are relegated to inside the 30-fathom line. Cabezon are back in the aggregate daily bottomfish limit. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
BROOKINGS - Bar conditions look promising for the next few mornings for jiggers heading just north of the north jetty in search of lingcod and rockfish.
Surfperch fishing should be good again this weekend along Winchuck Beach if the surf and winds calm down. Clam necks, mussels, prawns or bright flies all work well for surfperch.
COOS BAY - Muddy bay conditions have hurt crabbing, and it's been tough to find legal-sized crabs. But conditions should improve this weekend. A great minus tide series today through Tuesday should make for excellent clamming around Charleston and Clam Island. The chinook salmon season in the ocean is open down to Humbug Mountain, and effort has been very light so far. Trollers should stay relatively close to shore in 150-foot waters and use anchovies and hoochies.
WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing and crabbing have been slow.
AGATE - Fresh legal-sized trout stocked less than a month ago have spread throughout the bottom half of the reservoir. Heavy inflows this past week filled the lake. 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 - Inflows continue to be high, and the reservoir is now less than 11 feet from full. The inflows have tossed trout off the bite, and the water is too cold for good bass fishing. Flows out of the lake remain at 2,000 cubic feet per second. No fresh trout are scheduled for stocking this week.
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.
EMIGRANT - The lake gets its second complement of 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout next week, and fishing for them should be fair to good around the boat ramp. Most of the rainbows from a stocking last month continue to hang around the county park section of the lake. Catch them on PowerBait, worms and small lures. Expect some muddy water throughout the reservoir, with cleaner but colder water on the upper end. The lake was 96 percent full Thursday.
A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
EXPO - The pond was stocked a month ago 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.
LOST CREEK - The lake will get its second batch of 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout next week, split between the boat ramps at Stewart State Park and Takelma. Fishing for them should be best off the marina point and in the cove near Takelma for trollers using Wedding Rings with a piece of worm. Bank anglers should do best near Taklema with PowerBait relatively close to shore.
Inflows dipped below 4,000 cfs Thursday and the lake temperature edged up to 43 degrees. Smallmouth fishing remains slow. Stay on the lower quarter of the reservoir.
LAKE of the WOODS - Rain and warm weather has softened the ice and even melted it around the edges, making ice fishing a poor idea for the remainder of the season. The resort is closed through April to prepare for its May 1 summer opening.
FISH - The ice softened substantially after rains and warm weather hit the Cascades this past week. Ice fishing is not recommended at this time.
WILLOW - The lake gets its second batch of 4,500 legal-sized rainbows next week, and fishing for them should be good next weekend near the boat ramp with PowerBait, worms and small spinners. The boat ramp is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ROGUE - The upper Rogue was high but fishing fairly well for winter steelhead upstream of Bear Creek on Thursday, while the lower Rogue is just starting to turn back on for spring chinook after nearly hitting flood stage at Agness last week. The middle Rogue is too dirty for fishing but it should clear soon, and spring chinook should be around.
That makes the upper Rogue the best bet until water conditions improve in the Grants Pass area.
Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were down to 4,400 cfs today and will drop 100 cfs per day through Sunday, stopping at 4,200 cfs. That will cause a drop in the water and get steelhead moving fairly rapidly. Fish plugs on inside turns near shore and in calmer water. Side-drifting yarn balls, worms and corkies or eggs also will work in deeper, slower waters and tailouts. April steelhead fishing can be very good in the upper Rogue, but spawned-out fish are starting to show up in the catches. The upper Rogue has the highest percentage of hatchery fish, but Rogue anglers can still keep one wild steelhead 24 inches or larger per day, and no more than five per year.
Flows Thursday were 6,900 cfs at Dodge Bridge and 7,900 cfs at the gauge downstream from the former Gold Ray Dam site.
In the middle Rogue, flows were over 10,000 cfs Thursday at Grants Pass, but the problem is turbidity. The river was at 19.1 NTUs at Grants Pass Thursday, and it will need to get under 12 NTUs for decent fishing. Before the last storm, some spring chinook were caught around Grants Pass, and anglers are expecting to see more springers when the water clears — maybe by Sunday.
In the lower Rogue, the water was high but the visibility was just good enough for spring chinook fishing. Anglers were fishing from the bank with big Spin-Glo's or spinning anchovies from anchored boats in water two to three feet deep and right next to the shore. A handful of springers have been caught each of the past few days. Only fin-clipped hatchery chinook can be kept downstream of Hog Creek through May.
APPLEGATE - The river is closed to angling.
UMPQUA - The mainstem and North and South Umpquas were high, muddy and out of shape for steelhead fishing.
COQUILLE - The river is closed to angling.
CHETCO - The river is closed to angling.
ELK/SIXES - Both rivers are closed to angling.