COASTWIDE - Relatively calm seas are forecast for the next few mornings, and that could give coastal anglers a chance to sneak out of local ports for some rockfish and lingcod fishing, which should be excellent around near-shore reefs and kelp beds. Black, white and red jigs should work best. Winds and swells are forecast to jump in the afternoons, but only to single-digit heights.
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. Dungeness crab catches dropped in bays because of recent rains, but look for bay crabbing to pick up next week in Coos Bay and the Coquille River bay at Bandon.
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 picked up again 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. Keep your eyes open for sneaker waves.
AGATE - The first trout stocking of the season was three weeks ago, with 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout planted at the boat ramp. The water is murky, so fish for them with something they can smell, such as worms or PowerBait. Most of the action will be around the ramp. The lake is 90 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 water temperatures continue 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 are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. No winter steelhead have been released yet in the lake, but releases are planned this month. 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 a 5-inch layer of ice covered by 14 inches of snow. Most of the action is near the resort because that area has the best access. Catches have been best in about 20 feet of water. Anglers are either dangling worms less than 10 feet 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 infused last month with 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery, and interest in them has waned as many have spawned out or are of poor quality. 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. 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 - The pond received its first 1,400 legal-sized rainbow trout of the season this week, and fishing for them already is very good with worms, PowerBait, small Panther Martin lures and streamer flies. 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.
LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is slow.
LOST CREEK - Only a handful of anglers have been hitting the lake, but many of them have been catching limits or near limits of trout 13 to 16 inches long, along with some smaller 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 1,845.5 feet above sea level, or 26.5 feet from full. Inflows picked up after this week's rain and snow at higher elevations, and the surface temperature rose 1 degree to 43 degrees.
ROGUE - This week's rains jump-started winter steelhead fishing in the upper, middle and lower Rogue, while Gold Beach anglers are out trying to become the first to catch a confirmed spring chinook in the Rogue this year.
Spring chinook fishing won't ever make the best bet in March, when winter steelhead are king. The best bet will be the middle Rogue, largely because good schools of winter fish bound for the Applegate River and other Rogue tributaries have been stuck in the Lower Rogue Canyon waiting for the river to rise, color and warm enough to spark migration. It did, finally, this week.
Good catches of winter steelhead have been reported in the Galice area by driftboat anglers dragging roe or yarn balls through canyons and deeper riffles. Bank anglers working places such as Chair Riffle with sideplaners or drift anglers using worms and corkies at Ennis Riffle are finding steelhead. The stretch from Lathrop's Landing to Robertson Bridge also has improved for bank and boat anglers targeting steelhead headed for the Applegate. Flows at Grants Pass remain low for this time of year — 2,645 cubic feet per second on Thursday. A short drop Saturday will spark a nice bite, but flows are forecast to go up slightly again Sunday, and that could make it less productive than Saturday. Flows are forecast to drop again Monday and Tuesday, which should trigger more movement and catches.
The lower Rogue at Agness was at 6,300 cfs Thursday, helping spur a good bite for late-arriving winter steelhead from Quosatana Creek on down. Side-drifting roe or yarn balls has been best. A few bankies are getting winter steelhead at places like Huntley Park, Lobster Creek and Dunkelberger Bar, with large Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots working best in 4 to 6 feet of water.
The upper Rogue finally got some color and warmth, which triggered winter steelhead to move ... and bite, and 108 winters entered Cole Rivers Hatchery in the past week, showing that decent numbers of fish now are spread throughout the river.
Driftboaters have done well below Shady Cove, with catches better the lower you go. Yarn balls and pink rubber worms have done well for side-drifters, while those plugging with K-11 Kwikfish (pink and silver is best) are doing very well from Dodge Bridge down to Fishers Ferry. Flows at Highway 234's Dodge Bridge was at 1,650 cfs and dropping Thursday, but the drop is expected to be light.
A hair under 1,000 cfs of water was being released Thursday from Lost Creek Lake as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to raise the reservoir amid very low inflows.
The river is open to the harvest of wild steelhead riverwide, with anglers allowed to keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches a day, and no more than five a year.
CHETCO - The river was at 4,200 cfs Thursday and dropping rather quickly, which should trigger an excellent winter steelhead bite riverwide this weekend and into next week. March often sees a mix of big, late-run adults as well as some spawned-out kelts headed back to the ocean. Side-drifting roe or yarn balls will be best. Bank anglers will do best at Social Security Hole, Ice Box and Loeb.
APPLEGATE - Water conditions remain low and clear, making winter steelhead fishing spotty river-wide. No wild steelhead may be kept, and no fishing from a floating device is allowed.
ElK/SIXES - The Elk River Hatchery gauge read 4.6 feet and was falling slowly Thursday, which likely means anglers there are in the middle of a very good March bite for winter steelhead from the hatchery all the way down past the Highway 101 bridge. Side-drifting roe and corkies or puff balls will be the offerings of choice.
ILLINOIS - The winter steelhead bite has improved a bit, but conditions remain fairly 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 are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.
UMPQUA - The South Umpqua was flowing at 4,200 cfs at Winston, and the forecast is for water levels to drop all week. That will trigger another good bite on the South Umpqua, where a good mix of wild and hatchery fish always seems to show up in early March. The North Umpqua shot up to 5,000 cfs at Winchester Dam, but look for a good bite this week as flows drop.