Fishing Report: Dec. 14, 2012

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE - Stiff winds and choppy seas are forecast into early next week, and a hazardous seas warning is in effect into Sunday. No one's been braving the heavy surf of late.

The ocean is open to sport crabbing, but the commercial season has been delayed until Dec. 30 to let the Dungeness fill out.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, and no cabezon may be kept for the rest of 2012. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

Dungeness crab catches have plummeted this week because of heavy influxes of fresh water into bays. Look for poor bay crabbing well into next week.

GOLD BEACH - Rain and wind have blown the bay fishery away for now, as well as in areas upriver of the estuary. Perch fishing has been poor.

BROOKINGS - Bay effort is nonexistent because of high water levels in the Chetco River, which should drop next week.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - Trout-fishing effort has slowed dramatically amid murky water conditions from recent inflows. Some of October's stocking of 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout still are available. Catching will be best still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake level has more than doubled to 59 percent full. Fish spinner baits or plastic worms for bass during the middle of the day. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Heavy inflows are starting to abate, and fishing should resume once the reservoir stabilizes after two weeks of persistent rains. Fishing pressure is very light, with a few anglers still targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm is working well. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed.

DIAMOND - The lake closed Oct. 31 but will reopen Jan. 1 under new rules that make the lake a year-round fishery.

EMIGRANT - Fish are more concentrated with the low water levels. Smallmouth bass fishing is best off rocky banks, and a few largemouth have been taken in the willows. The lake is up to 37 percent full. The lake is open year-round.

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

EXPO - Fishing and interest have waned since anglers have picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. Catch what's left of them on worms under bobbers or small Panther Martin lures. The limit is five trout per day with only one over 20 inches. The pond is open year-round.

FISH - Trolling for trout was fair at best with Triple Teasers or other lures spiked with a piece of worm. A few big rainbows are available, as well as legal-sized chinook. For bank anglers, chartreuse PowerBait should work near the resort and Forest Service boat ramp. The lake is open year-round. It was listed Thursday at 57 percent full, up 5 percent in the past week. The lake is open year-round.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Fishing is closed until April.

HYATT - Fishing is closed until April.

LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing for rainbow and brown trout has been fair near the resort. PowerBait has been the top choice. Evening fishing has been best. The lake is open year-round.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed for the season.

LOST CREEK - A persistent advisory against water contact at the lake has kept most anglers away. Those who fish there are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing until the blue-green algae advisory is lifted. The lake was up to more than 2 feet above minimum pool this week.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is starting to fish fairly well for late-run winter steelhead despite high but fishable water conditions, while the middle Rogue is still murky but fishable for late-run summer steelhead. Lower Rogue anglers have finally seen some clean enough water for plunking, and those doing so are hitting good numbers of winter steelhead heading toward the Rogue Valley.

That makes the lower Rogue the best bet because the fish are bright, good-sized and ready to bite.

Most plunkers in the lower Rogue are using larger Spin-Glo's and fishing on the inside turns of gravel bars in water 3 to 5 feet deep. These winter steelhead really are on the move, so expect to hit fish in waves. Boat anglers have yet to hit the lower Rogue for winter steelhead, in part because other nearby rivers have been fishing very well.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday started to ease off the outflows at Lost Creek dam now that inflows have stabilized and some of that captured water has been released. The releases were walked down Thursday from 5,000 cubic feet per second to 4,400 cfs, where it will hold for now. That will get summer steelhead moving again and help fishing, but high water will make some areas problematic. For driftboaters, fish the slower water along the banks and beneath trees as well as tailouts. Focus on rattling plugs, jigs and egg flies soaked in egg scent. Bank anglers should consider watermelon corkies and worms. That's all above Shady Cove. Downstream of Shady Cove still is artificial flies and lures only.

Driftboaters are reminded that the Hatchery Hole is off-limits to boat fishing.

Cole Rivers Hatchery workers are waiting for water levels to drop so they can recycle another 2,000 adult hatchery summer steelhead. When they do, it will more than double the number of retread steelhead released so far this season in the upper Rogue. They have a hole punch in their gill plates, and anglers are encouraged to keep legal limits of them, which is two fin-clipped adult hatchery steelhead a day.

Flows were listed late Thursday at 5,829 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site and are forecast to stay that way until Sunday, when they are predicted to jump out of steelhead fishing shape again.

In Grants Pass, the flows Thursday were listed at 6,450 cfs, and that's a good flow to fish some of the high-water holes between Lathrop's Landing and Hog Creek, particularly the run from Lathrop's to Robertson Bridge. Rattling plugs will out-fish roe or worms for now, largely because of the darker water. Rumors of a few winter steelhead in the canyon holes near Galice have trickled in, as well.

Any steelhead under 16 inches long is considered a halfpounder.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

CHETCO - The river was under 3,000 cfs Thursday and fishing well, mainly for winter steelhead, but the occasional late-run fall chinook, as well. Guide Andy Martin had a client hit a 53-pound fall chinook Tuesday on a steelhead plug, so they're there. Steelhead fishing has been a mix for driftboaters, with plugs and side-drifting roe working well.

EK/SIXES - Water conditions were very good, and winter steelhead fishing was excellent on both streams this week, with some guided angler trips yielding a dozen or more steelhead to the boat each day. Both rivers are a mixed bag for winter steelhead, with plugs out-producing roe and flies now.

COOS - Early winter steelhead catches have been good with roe and corkies fished off gravel bars.

COQUILLE - High water continues to mar winter steelhead fishing efforts.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua has been pulling into shape, and plunkers are doing well for winter steelhead from the forks on down. The South Umpqua is in excellent shape for winter steelhead fishing, with flows finally down to 3,100 cfs at Winston on Thursday.


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