COASTWIDE - Hazardous seas are forecast through today, and it doesn't look much better through the weekend as 13-foot swells are predicted for Saturday, followed by 9-foot swells and 15-knot winds Sunday. That should chase any January jiggers away from bottomfishing spots.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, and no cabezon may be kept until July. Retention of cabezon is allowed July 1 through Sept. 30. 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 crabbers. Dungeness crab catches have been good in bays, but look for poor crabbing conditions this weekend as estuaries fill with fresh water from this week's rains.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture has opened mussel harvesting from the Columbia River to Cape Arago in Coos County, but a closure remains in effect from Cape Arago 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, with 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 is 79 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.
APPLEGATE - Reservoir levels are low, and the water is 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. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. 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. French Gulch is open.
DIAMOND - The lake is open for ice fishing, with most of the action near the resort because that area has the best access. Anglers are fishing worms just below the ice layer and using PowerBait near the bottom with a weight on the end of the line and a hook with a short leader about 2 feet up the line. Some are doing well with white or pink jigs. Last summer's fingerlings are now more than 8 inches long, but most of the rainbows being caught are 12 to 16 inches long. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.
EMIGRANT - Smallmouth, largemouth and trout fishing is slow amid cold water conditions. The lake is up to 56 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 - 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. The pond is open year-round.
FISH - Ice fishing near the resort and off the Forest Service boat ramp has been good with jigs, worms and PowerBait. The ice is firm. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake was listed Thursday at 62 percent full. The lake is open year-round.
HOWARD PRAIRIE, HYATT and LEMOLO - Fishing is closed until April.
LOST CREEK - A persistent blue-green algae bloom is keeping most anglers away. Those who fish there are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing until the advisory is lifted. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern, and the surface elevation is up to 1,819 feet above sea level. The surface temperature is a chilly 41 degrees.
ROGUE - The Rogue is forecast to rise some through the weekend and then drop consistently, likely bringing another round of good winter steelhead fishing in the lower and middle Rogue and possibly drawing the first fresh winter steelhead of the year into the upper Rogue.
Anglers could do themselves a favor by waiting for water levels to drop before hitting the river hard for winter steelhead, which prefer dropping as opposed to rising water. When that happens, be ready.
That keeps the best bet on the lower Rogue, where plunkers will do well for winter steelhead before boat anglers. Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots will work best, with successful plunkers at the heads and tailouts of riffles, keeping their gear in 4 to 6 feet of water. When water levels drop, look for boat anglers to do well with plugs and side-drifting roe throughout lower Rogue stretches from Agness down to the top of tidewater.
Flows at Agness were up to 9,700 cubic feet per second Thursday and rising, with the forecast calling for flows to level off Saturday and Sunday. That could trigger a decent bite.
In the middle Rogue, anglers have been seeing a mix of spawned-out kelts headed downstream, along with some nice, bright, early-run winter steelhead. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 3,600 cfs Thursday but are forecast to peak sometime Sunday at about 5,500 cfs. That will make for excellent winter steelhead fishing conditions at all of the middle Rogue's high-water holes. Most of the action will focus downstream of the Applegate River mouth because Applegate-bound steelhead dominate the early portion of the run. 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.
In the upper Rogue, anglers still are running into what's left of the nearly 2,200 summer steelhead recycled Christmas Eve, but most of those fish are pretty dark and only marginally edible. Many of those fish released at TouVelle State Park still are downstream of the park, where they are hitting K-11 Kwikfish in good measure.
Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are holding steady at 1,000 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues the slow filling of the reservoir, which was slightly more than a food higher than last Thursday. That left flows at Dodge Bridge at 2,400 cfs Thursday and forecast to peak Sunday at about 3,500 cfs. That should bode well for steelheaders prospecting for fresh winter fish.
Plugs and bait should both work well. Bait is now legal from the Shady Cove boat ramp downstream 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 Feb. 1.
CHETCO - The river was forecast to drop today after peaking Thursday, and that could bode very well for winter steelhead anglers waiting for low and clear water conditions to end. The river is forecast to rise again Saturday then peak Sunday and drop consistently all week, likely triggering an excellent winter steelhead bite. Lots of steelhead, even hatchery ones, in the 20-pound class have been reported this season on the Chetco, which should fish well into March.
APPLEGATE - Early-run winter steelhead were reported in the lower Applegate, and early fishing for them has been fair to good for those wading the riffles in the snow. Flows at Wilderville were hovering short of 1,000 cfs, and that's a good level for side-drifting roe or bouncing spoons through riffles.
ElK/SIXES - Flows are forecast to bump up today and then drop off this weekend, and that should be good for winter steelhead anglers looking for some color in these streams. Side-drifting roe or drifting jigs under bobbers has been good for steelhead, with plug fishing holding up well on both streams.
ILLINOIS - The river is open to winter steelhead fishing, and fresh fish are in the lower end of the system. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Anglers fishing above Klondike Creek can keep one wild steelhead over 24 inches long per day and five per year. The mainstem Illinois and its tributaries are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.
COOS - Water conditions were rising and poor for winter steelhead, but look for good catches to resume next week.
UMPQUA - Flows in the mainstem Umpqua have increased and will remain high through the weekend. Flows at Elkton were up and forecast to be out of fishing shape for winter steelhead through the weekend. Flows on the South Umpqua also are high, with water levels expected to remain high through the weekend.