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MailTribune.com
  • Fishing Report: Jan. 4, 2013

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  • COASTWIDE - Marginal wind and wave conditions will give way Saturday to 8- to 10-foot seas, causing most boaters to remain at home.
    The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
    The ocean is open to sport and commercial crabbing. Dungeness catches have picked back up in bays after the remnant runoff from December storms finally waned. Look for good bay crabbing well into next week.
    The Oregon Department of Agriculture closed mussel harvesting from the Columbia River to the California border because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. All other shellfish harvesting is open from the Columbia River to the California border.
    Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended, however. Coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.
    GOLD BEACH - Very little ocean and bay activity has occurred out of Gold Beach recently.
    AGATE - Trout-fishing effort has slowed dramatically amid murky water 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 risen to 72 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 - The reservoir levels remain low as inflows have dropped, and water temperatures continue to be cold. Fishing pressure is very light, with a few anglers targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-tish Park is closed. French Gulch is open.
    DIAMOND - The lake is open for ice fishing now, with most of the action near the resort because that's the best access. Anglers are fishing worms just below the ice layer or PowerBait near the bottom using a weight on the end of the line and the PowerBait about 2 feet up the line. Some using white or pink jigs are doing well. Last summer's fingerlings now are more than 8 inches long, but most of the catch are rainbows 12 to 16 inches long so far. The ice Thursday was about 2 inches thick with about a foot of packed snow on top. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.
    EMIGRANT - Fishing is slow for smallmouth, largemouth and trout. The lake is up to 43 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 pond is open year-round.
    FISH - After three solid weeks of cold weather, the lake's ice could be ready for the first wave of ice fishers this weekend. No one has reported any ice measurements yet. If the ice is firm for anglers, look for catches of rainbow and tiger trout on worms, PowerBait and jigs. The tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake was listed Thursday at 62 percent full. The lake is open year-round.
    HOWARD PRAIRIE, HYATT - Fishing is closed until April.
    LEMOLO - The lake opens for trout fishing April 1.
    LOST CREEK - A persistent blue-green algae bloom at the lake has kept most anglers away. Those who fish there are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing until the advisory is lifted. Aggressive water releases from the reservoir have it back to its normal flood-control elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and releases were backed off Thursday.
    ROGUE - The lower Rogue has seen a solid week of excellent winter steelhead fishing now that the water has finally dropped and cleared enough, while the middle Rogue is starting its early winter steelhead showing amid dropping water levels and cold temperatures. The upper Rogue is seeing a mix of spawned-out wild kelts and what's left of the last release of recycled "retread" steelhead Christmas Eve at TouVelle State Park and the Modoc Unit of the Denman Wildlife Area.
    That puts the best bet on the lower Rogue, where river guides using a mix of side-drifting roe and pulled plugs are getting 20 fish to the boat on some days. That's excellent for any time of year. Bank anglers are doing best with Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots at Huntley Park and Canfield Riffle, meaning most of the best catches are closer to Gold Beach than Agness. Flows at Agness Thursday were 6,000 cubic feet per second and dropping, but water temperatures are holding pretty stable, so the bite should be good through the weekend.
    In the middle Rogue, anglers are seeing a mix of spawned-out kelts and some early-run winter steelhead. However, water conditions are cold, and the cold nights are not helping that improve. That has slowed the bite some. Side-drifting roe and corkies in slow, deep runs has been best, while K-11 Kwikfish and crayfish plugs are working in similar runs, particularly around submerged rocks. Look for the subtle disturbance on the surface to detect where those rocks are in slow waters. Most of the early winter steelhead in January are a mix of wild and hatchery fish bound for the Applegate River, so fishing downstream of the Applegate is the best bet. However, there are a decent number of winter steelhead already upstream of the mouth of the Applegate, indicating a strong early run.
    In the upper Rogue, anglers are running into what's left of the nearly 2,200 summer steelhead recycled Christmas Eve, but most of these fish are pretty dark and only marginally edible. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are down to 1,000 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins the slow filling of the reservoir, which was 1 foot below the normal flood-control level Thursday. That left flows at Dodge Bridge at 1,900 cfs Thursday.
    Plugs will out-fish bait in low water, with steelhead stacking up near creek mouths and in tailouts of deeper runs such as Frenchman's. Bait is now legal from the Shady Cove boat ramp down to Fishers Ferry boat ramp, with worms and watermelon corkies a good late-run summer steelhead offering.
    Anglers can keep one wild winter steelhead a day, and up to five per year, from the Hog Creek boat ramp downstream to the mouth. The rest of the river is catch-and-release for wild steelhead until February.
    CHETCO - The river has dropped, and water temperatures have dipped after a good week of winter steelhead fishing. A 19-pound hatchery fish was caught earlier this week on the river's upper end on a plug. Plugs have out-fished side-drifters using roe and corkies. Plunking has slowed as the drop in flows has quelled steelhead migration. Flows will drop through the weekend to about 2,000 cfs, then they are forecast to rise next week after a brief freshet.
    APPLEGATE - Early-run winter steelhead were reported in the lower Applegate this week. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Spawning summer steelhead also are entering the Applegate to spawn in lower tributaries.
    ELK/SIXES - Water conditions were low and cold, hampering winter steelhead and chinook fishing. Anglers were running into some bright chinook earlier this week on the Elk, and catches have started to tip a little more toward winter steelhead than fall chinook. Plug anglers are picking up both in tailouts and longer runs, while bait anglers have seen catches fall off of late in both systems.
    ILLINOIS - The river is open to winter steelhead fishing, and fresh fish are in the lower ends of the system. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Anglers fishing above Klondike Creek can keep one wild steelhead over 24 inches per day and five per year. The mainstem Illinois and its tributaries are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.
    COOS - Water conditions were low, clear and cold, hampering steelhead fishing. Look for good catches to resume after a small freshet next week.
    COQUILLE - Winter steelhead anglers are running into fresh fish in the North Fork at Laverne Park and in the lower South Fork. Some bank fishing success for winter steelhead has been reported in the Coquille area, as well.
    UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua has dropped to about 7,400 cfs in the Elkton area as winter steelhead season starts to pull into shape basin-wide. The lower South Umpqua has been very good for winter steelhead, with flows in the Riddle area down to 2,145 cfs Thursday. Good numbers of hatchery fish are present in the South Umpqua. The North Umpqua has been slower for winter steelhead.
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