Fishing Report: March 1, 2013

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE - Hazardous seas warnings and small-craft advisories are in effect until Monday morning, making offshore fishing a poor choice this weekend. Look for better conditions late next week after the fronts have moved through the region.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. No cabezon may be kept until July. 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, but not many crabbers are braving the waves. Dungeness catches have been good in bays lately, but bay crabbing conditions will turn sour when storms hit area estuaries early next week. That will push Dungeness back to sea.

Mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River to Cape Arago in Coos County, but a closure is in effect from Cape Arago to the California border because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. All other shellfish harvesting is open statewide.

Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. 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 - Surfperch fishing was spotty because of rough surf at Nesika Beach this past week, with surf anglers casting sandshrimp, scented rubber crayfish and clam necks for some nice redtails. Fish both sides of the high tide, with the last hour of the incoming tide often best. Watch for sneaker waves.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout were planted at the boat ramp two weeks ago. The water is murky, so fish for them with something they can smell, such as worms or PowerBait. The lake is 89 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Trout fishing has been slow, with little effort, and the water continues to be cold. A few anglers are targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there in January. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms also are good bets. Bass fishing is slow. No winter steelhead have been released yet in the lake, but releases are planned for March. 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, and it sports a 4-inch sheet of ice covered by about a foot of packed snow. Snow is forecast today and Saturday. Most of the action is near the resort because that area has the best access, with catches best in about 20 feet of water. Anglers either are dangling worms just below the ice or fishing PowerBait off the bottom. 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 - The lake was stocked last month with 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery, and they are still drawing interest from anglers despite having dispersed. They were released at the county park boat ramp, and they have since spread out looking for spawning tributaries. They are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary, and anglers can keep just one over 20 inches long per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The water is murky and the lake is almost two-thirds 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 picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. 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.

LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is slow.

LOST CREEK - A handful of anglers are hitting the lake amid cold weather conditions, but they are getting at or near limits of trout 12 to 15 inches long, along with some small spring chinook stocked there. The chinook are undersized and should be handled as little as possible. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait, while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern and the surface elevation is up to 1,840 feet above sea level, or 32 feet from full. Inflows, however, have been very low so it is filling slowly.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - A system of storms will add height and color to the Rogue River, shaking up the mid-run winter steelhead fishery that has been quite stagnant most of the past month. The best bet likely will be the middle Rogue, where driftboaters working anywhere from the mouth of the Applegate down to Grave Creek will run into fresh steelhead.

During the recent low-water period, winter steelhead angling has been surprisingly decent in the canyon waters downstream of Galice for anglers fishing roe and corkies or corkies and worms in deeper water. A few fresh winter steelhead moved out of the lower Rogue canyon this past week despite low flows. Anglers fishing around Rainie Falls have seen good schools of winter steelhead, many of them bound for the Applegate River, waiting for an uptick in flows to get moving. Flows in the Grants Pass area are forecast to rise today, then drop Saturday before spiking again Sunday. Monday and Tuesday look good for winter steelhead fishing, which is much better when the water is dropping than when it is rising.

The lower Rogue at Agness was down to less than 4,000 cubic feet per second Thursday, slowing an already sluggish winter steelhead bite. When flows drop early next week following the next freshet, look for good plunking at places such as Huntley Park, Lobster Creek and Dunkelberger Bar with large Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots in four to six feet of water.

In the upper Rogue, anglers were struggling most of the week to find winter steelhead amid low and cold flows. Flows at Dodge Bridge hovered just over 1,400 cfs much of the week, but look for a spike in flows today and Saturday. It won't peak too high because outflows from Lost Creek Lake remain a low 1,055 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to raise the reservoir amid very low inflows.

Harvest of wild steelhead is allowed riverwide. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches a day and five a year.

CHETCO - The river was starting to climb Thursday and was up to 1,209 cfs by mid-afternoon. Flows are forecast to rise all day today and then drop steadily Saturday through Monday after peaking around 2,300 cfs. That should draw fresh fish into the river and make for excellent winter steelhead fishing through the weekend. Driftboaters will be fishing small clusters of roe. March often brings large wild steelhead into the Chetco.

APPLEGATE - The water is low and clear riverwide, and not too much will change thanks to the release of just 156 cfs of water from Applegate Lake. Flows at the town of Applegate were just 200 cfs Thursday and just 378 cfs at Wilderville. The river should rise today and drop over the weekend, triggering what should be a decent winter steelhead bite in the lower stretch of the river and the far-upper stretch. Spoons and worms matched with watermelon corkies are post-rain favorites for the Applegate. No wild steelhead may be kept, and no fishing from a floating device is allowed.

ElK/SIXES - Flows are low and clear but will get fishable Saturday afternoon or Sunday, depending upon how much rain the basins get and when the runoff peaks. After it peaks, look for winter steelhead from the hatchery on down using roe and corkies or jigs under bobbers.

ILLINOIS - The winter steelhead bite will turn on Saturday afternoon if the river peaks as expected following the predicted rain. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Anglers fishing above Klondike Creek can keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day and five per year. The mainstem Illinois and its tributaries are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua should be very good for winter steelhead fishing Saturday before flows rise Sunday. That will trigger what should be a good bite Monday and Tuesday as the river drops between storm fronts. The North Umpqua fished well for winter steelhead this past week despite lower-than-normal flows.


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