COASTWIDE - Calm, relatively flat seas and light winds are forecast for today, making a quick run to near-shore bottomfishing spots a good bet for coast dwellers, but then look for swells to hit 12 feet over the weekend, which will leave most ocean anglers disinterested in a day on the water.
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 remains open to sport and commercial crabbers. Dungeness crab catches have been good in bays. Look for very good winter crabbing conditions into late next week. Charleston is the best spot for public crabbing off docks.
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 - Some good catches of bottomfish were reported this week, with very little wind and plenty of sun.
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 trout will be best still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake is 84 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.
APPLEGATE - Reservoir levels will start to climb today as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins filling the reservoir, which is about 10 feet above its normal depth for Feb. 1. Trout fishing has been slow, with little effort so far, and the water is cold. A few anglers are 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 no longer is 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, which has the best access. Anglers either are fishing worms just below the ice or floating PowerBait near the bottom. Some are doing well with white or pink jigs. Last summer's fingerlings now are longer than 8 inches, while most of the catch are rainbows 12 to 16 inches long. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.
EMIGRANT - Fishing is slow. The lake, which is up to 60 percent full, 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 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.
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 - The public advisory against water contact because of blue-green algae has been lifted, but effort at the lake remains slow because of cold weather. The water appears to be a consistent 41 degrees, so the trout are not relegated to any specific place in the water column. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern, and the surface elevation is up to 1,827 feet above sea level.
ROGUE - The Rogue is forecast to drop and clear well into next week, bringing good winter steelhead fishing in parts of the lower and middle stretches, while a lack of fresh steelhead in the upper Rogue makes fishing slow there.
The best bet, then, is the lower Rogue, where conditions have been good enough that bank and boat anglers are running into winter steelhead consistently. Bankies have fared best plunking at traditional hotspots like Huntley Park and Canfield Riffle, with large Spin-Glo's and Hotshots working best. Stay in water less than 6 feet deep. Boat anglers fishing Kwikfish plugs or side-drifting roe have fared well from the Lobster Creek area on down, but action above Quosatana Creek has been slow.
Flows at Agness were 8,400 feet per second Thursday and forecast to drop steadily into late next week.
In the middle Rogue, anglers have been seeing nice winter steelhead from the mouth of the Applegate on down, but the Galice area has been best for plug anglers and driftboaters side-drifting roe and corkies. Flows at Grants Pass were at 4,255 cfs Thursday but are forecast to drop consistently until next week. That will make for good winter steelhead fishing conditions at all the traditional middle-Rogue holes and riffles, but not so much on the high-water holes that produced fish earlier this week.
In the upper Rogue, a dearth of fresh winter steelhead has kept most anglers away. No fresh winter steelhead had been reported at Cole Rivers Hatchery as of Thursday. They are much later than last year, when warmer water drew fish upstream faster.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were at 2,476 cfs Thursday. The river opens to the harvest of wild steelhead river-wide today, with anglers allowed to keep one wild steelhead over 24 inches a day, and no more than five a year.
CHETCO - The river was fishing very well for winter steelhead, but water conditions are forecast to drop and clear well into next week. The river has seen lots of big steelhead, both hatchery and wild, so far this season. Fish are spread from the forks down to Social Security Hole. Side-drift very small clusters of roe in tailouts and at the heads of pools.
APPLEGATE - Early-run winter steelhead are spread throughout the Applegate, with fishing best now in the upper section of the river. Spoons, small clusters of roe, watermelon corkies with worms and yarn balls all are excellent choices.
No fishing from a floating device is allowed.
ElK/SIXES - Flows are starting to drop and clear enough that what was a very good early-week steelhead bite on the Elk is waning. Boat traffic is heavy. In the lower water, fish small clusters of roe along cut banks and at the heads of pools and the tailouts of deep riffles. Flows will drop all next week. The Sixes remains slow.
ILLINOIS - Winter steelhead are spread throughout the system, and the bite is starting to drop off as the water gets low and clear. 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 remain closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.
UMPQUA - Flows in the mainstem Umpqua have increased and were at 7,700 cfs Thursday at Elkton. The South Umpqua was at 2,640 cfs at Tiller, but conditions should be very good for winter steelhead by Sunday.