Applegate Reservoir - Applegate Reservoir offers good fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and rainbow trout. Spring chinook salmon are also stocked in the reservoir to supplement the trout fishery and count as part of the trout bag limit. Anglers also may encounter adult steelhead this spring. Surplus winter steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery will be released above Applegate Dam beginning in late April, pending availability.
The first release of legal-sized rainbow trout for the year occurs in late April. More rainbows, including some larger fish, will be stocked in late May. These fish, along with some holdovers from last year, should provide good fishing throughout the spring and summer. Bank anglers can do well fishing bait from access points at French Gulch, Squaw Creek Arm, Hart-Tish Park, Copper, Carberry Creek and Seattle Bar. Anglers with boats catch fish trolling lures or attractor/bait combinations, or wind-drifting with bait or flies. Anglers targeting chinook usually fish deeper than those fishing for rainbow.
Surplus steelhead are being stocked to spawn and benefit the ecology of the river above the dam but also to contribute to fishing. The steelhead are considered trout in the angling regulations for the reservoir and upstream. The river and tributaries above the reservoir open for fishing on April 27.
Bass angling picks up with warmer weather. Look for largemouth bass in the shallow bays and around the willows and other woody structure. The more abundant smallmouth can be found along the rocky shores and points.
The availability of the boat ramps change with reservoir levels and seasons. During the spring, the Copper boat ramp is open daily. The Hart-Tish ramp is expected to open in early May and should remain open past Labor Day. Information about the Hart-Tish ramp can be obtained by calling 541-899-9220. Daily reservoir levels in feet above sea level can be obtained by calling 1-800-472-2434.
Applegate River - The river is closed to fishing in the spring to protect out-migrating salmon and steelhead smolts but reopens for adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout May 25. Two adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout may be kept per day, 8-inch minimum length. Non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout, and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. The use of bait is allowed.
The Applegate River begins in Northern California and flows generally northwest to join the Rogue River west of Grants Pass. Much of the property along the river is privately owned, and anglers are reminded not to trespass. Access is available at several parks along the river and on the federal land on the upper section of the river.
Agate Lake - Agate Lake is a fairly shallow irrigation reservoir located off Highway 140 a short drive northeast of Medford. Because of its low elevation, fishing picks up here pretty early in the season, with good fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead. In addition, the lake has been stocked with legal and larger-sized rainbow trout already this year. Fishing for bass, bluegill and crappie is improving with the warm weather. Jackson County maintains an improved boat ramp on the lake, plus there is plenty of good access for bank fishing.
Big Butte Creek above Cobleigh Bridge and Little Butte Creek above the forks - Open to trout fishing May 25. Fishing is restricted to flies and lures only in both streams. Anglers may keep two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length in Big Butte Creek, while catch-and-release rules apply to Little Butte Creek. Both streams are closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead. There is no limit on brook trout in the headwaters of both streams.
Big Butte Creek flows past the town of Butte Falls and access is primarily on private timber land, with some national forest land in the headwaters. Little Butte Creek starts in the Cascade Mountains south of Highway 140 near Fish Lake. The best access is on National Forest land reached by Forest Service Road 37.
Burma and Dutch Herman Ponds - These two old mining ponds, located on Bureau of Land Management land east of Wolf Creek, are stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout in late April. The ponds also provide angling for largemouth bass and bluegill.
Coos Bay and Coquille estuaries - Recreational crabbing is a popular family activity in the Coos Bay and Coquille estuaries. Popular areas for crabbing from docks are the Bandon and Charleston marinas. For those with a boat, the inside of Coos Bay's North Spit, between Charleston and the BLM boat ramp, produces lots of Dungeness and red rock crabs. Crabbing can be excellent in the fall, winter and early spring, but typically slows down in the estuaries during late spring and summer, as many crabs will become soft-shelled with the molt.
Numerous clam species, such as gapers, cockles and butter clams, are available on sand and mud flats of Coos Bay nearly year-round. Marine perch and rockfish species are caught in the bays around concentrations of pilings and rock formations, particularly in spring and early summer.
Coos Bay, Coos River and Coquille River - Striped bass, shad and sturgeon are available for anglers in the spring. Green sturgeon are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act and must be released. This year's statewide bag limit for sturgeon is one fish per day and two fish for the year. Popular sturgeon fishing areas for the Coos estuary are near McCullough Bridge (where Highway 101 crosses Coos Bay), Haynes Inlet (the northernmost arm of Coos Bay), and upriver near the confluence of the South Coos and Millicoma rivers (five miles east of the city of Coos Bay). A popular sturgeon fishing area on the Coquille River is near the Rocky Point boat ramp.
Shad will appear with warm, sunny weather in late May and into June. In general, shad are available in the Coquille river tidewater from Mother's Day to Father's Day. Popular shad-fishing areas are near Sturdivant Park and near Johnson Mill Pond on the Coquille. Shad returns to the Coquille river have been low for the last four or five years. Shad returns to the Coos basin have been almost nonexistent.
Striped bass congregate to spawn in upper tidewater of the Coquille River in late spring. The population of striped bass in the Coos basin has been nearly nonexistent in recent years. The striper bite is usually best at night. The bite typically slows down during the spawning period in late May and early June but picks up again post-spawning. Surfperch anglers occasionally catch striped bass in the surf in early spring. The minimum length for harvesting striped bass is 24 inches.
Smallmouth bass were recently illegally introduced into the Coquille River basin. New for 2013, there are no limits on smallmouth or largemouth bass in the Coquille River basin. The majority of the smallmouth are in the South Fork Coquille River and mainstem Coquille River.
Denman Wildlife Area Ponds - The ponds found throughout the property offer very good fishing for a variety of warmwater species. Whetstone Pond, adjacent to the Rogue Watershed District office, is the largest. Anglers at Whetstone target largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead. Carp are also present, and green sunfish are found in some of the ponds. Good bank fishing is available, and boats with electric motors are permitted.
A variety of fishing techniques can be effective. A simple technique is to fish a size 10, 12 or 14 hook baited with worms below a bobber. Casting small lures and jigs is also effective. Largemouth bass will strike surface or shallow-running lures fished around cover as the water warms. Information and a map of all the ponds are available at the Rogue Watershed District office of ODFW at 541-826-8774.
A parking permit is required on the Denman Wildlife Area.
Diamond Lake - Diamond Lake is now open year-round. Anglers need to use care in deciding whether the ice is safe. The snowpack was relatively light this winter, and March had a lot of warm days, so the lake may have ice off by early May. For additional water or fishing conditions, call Diamond Lake Resort at 1-800-733-7593. For road and campground information, call the Forest Service at 541-498-2531.
The lake will start the fishing season with good numbers of trout. Most will be 10 to 12 inches long and many will be longer than 16 inches. The bag limit on Diamond Lake is eight trout per day. Only one trout longer than 20 inches can be harvested per day. Last year, anglers caught an average of nearly two trout per person. Fishing is expected to be similar in 2013. Of the fish caught, more than 31 percent were released. ODFW will stock about 166,000 fingerling fish, which is similar to last year's stocking. These fish will be stocked about six weeks after ice-off. Many of these will be legal-sized by mid-August.
Bank and boat anglers enjoyed success with PowerBait and a variety of lures. Fly fishing is also growing in popularity at Diamond Lake. Many of the fly-fishing anglers are using small, inflatable pontoon boats to access the water.
No live fish can be used as bait at Diamond Lake or any freshwater lake or stream. Penalties for the use of/or release of invasive species has increased dramatically, and more invasive species checks will be conducted statewide.
Emigrant Reservoir - Emigrant Reservoir already has been stocked this spring with good numbers of legal-sized rainbow trout. Fishing for trout should be good. Bank anglers normally do well still-fishing with bait, while boat anglers normally troll lures or attractor/lure combinations when targeting trout. Trout stocking will continue through May.
Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and brown bullheads will improve with warmer weather. Anglers should target these fish around the flooded willows, along the face of the dam and dike structures, and along the rocky points and ledges. For panfish, use a size 10, 12 or 14 hook baited with worms below a bobber. Casting small lures and jigs also is effective. Bass will strike a variety of lures and soft plastic baits fished around the cover.
Anglers should be aware that a health advisory is in effect regarding consumption of all fish from Emigrant except rainbow trout because of mercury levels. Information on the advisory can be found on the DHS website at www.healthoregon.org/fishadv.
Expo Pond and Reinhart Park Pond - These urban ponds offer excellent family fishing in Central Point and Grants Pass. Both ponds are stocked with rainbow trout throughout the spring and provide good fishing for bass and panfish in the spring, summer and fall. Expo Pond is immediately adjacent to the access road at Gate 5 at The Expo. Reinhart Park Pond is located at Reinhart Park in Grants Pass. Fishing bait, either from a bobber or on the bottom with weight, can be very effective.
Fish Lake - Located near the summit of Highway 140 between Medford and Klamath Falls, Fish Lake has an improved boat ramp, two Forest Service campgrounds, and a resort with cabins, boat rentals and a restaurant. The lake was still mostly ice covered at the end of March, but anglers should be prepared for varying ice conditions and thinning ice that can create dangerous conditions. The Forest Service campground will open early to mid-May. Once the water warms a little more, trout fishing should be good for both bank and boat anglers using bait, lures or flies. Fish Lake is heavily stocked each year with legal-sized rainbow trout. Brook trout are also available.
Illegally introduced tui chub and flathead minnows compete with the rainbow and brook trout in Fish Lake, reducing their growth rate. In an attempt to improve the quality of the fishing, ODFW has been stocking predatory tiger trout that hopefully will grow large feeding on the chubs and minnows. Chinook salmon have been released annually since 2009 and are now contributing to the trout fishery.
Tiger trout, a hybrid between a brook and a brown trout, were released into the lake the last two years. The fish have created very popular trophy trout fisheries in other states. Fish Lake and Philips Reservoir (near Baker City) are the only lakes in Oregon to be stocked with tiger trout. It will take a few years for the tiger trout to grow and their numbers to get high enough to create a good fishery. All tiger trout must be released immediately back into the lake unharmed.
Bait fishing with worms and floating bait is effective at Fish Lake, and is probably the best bet during the summer. The bank between the two campgrounds is a good place for youngsters to fish. Trollers can do very well at Fish Lake in the spring, fishing flies, lures and small spoons or spinners.
Fish Lake Resort can be reached at 541-949-8500.
Floras Lake - Floras Lake, located near Langlois, is stocked in late April with some trophy trout and 5,000 catchable trout. Trout fishing can be good through the spring before weed growth and water temperatures get too high. The lake has a small number of bass. The best way to fish the lake is in a boat, as there is very little shore access. The boat ramp is located at Boice Cope County Park.
Fourmile Lake - Fourmile Lake is a high-elevation Cascade Mountains lake at 5,744 feet. The lake covers 763 acres, with a maximum depth of 175 feet and average depth of 55 feet, and has excellent water clarity. The lake access is west of Lake of the Woods and requires driving up a dirt road off Highway 140 for six miles. The road into Fourmile Lake is normally accessible by the Fourth of July, although the lake is open to fishing year-round.
Prospects for rainbow and brook trout are good. Rainbow trout fishing will be excellent. Fourmile Lake will be stocked in late June through August with catchable and trophy-sized rainbow trout up to 19 inches. Lake trout fishing will be fair, with some lake trout exceeding 10 pounds. Kokanee are available but rare in the catch. Expect good traveling sedge (caddis flies) hatches in July in early morning and late evening. Look for carpenter ant and termite winged adults landing on the water in the fall. This appears to bring up every fish in the lake. The best time to fish the lake is morning or evenings, as the afternoon wind can make fishing quite challenging.
Fourmile Lake will likely not fill this year, so launching small boats from the beach might be problematic. The boat launch is an unimproved ramp with no dock or concrete pad. The launch site can be blocked by trees earlier in the season. There is a $6 fee to launch your boat and a 10-mph speed limit on the lake.
Fourmile Lake has a nice USFS campground with water and pit toilet. The closest food, gas and other amenitites are at Lake of the Woods Lodge. Bank access is excellent, with all of Fourmile Lake occurring on Forest Service property. Angling from the bank can be productive.
Fourmile Lake sits at the base of Mount McLoughlin, with spectacular views. The area also has extensive hiking trails into the Sky Lakes Wilderness. The lakes around Fourmile are stocked every other year from helicopter. High lakes stocked with brook trout within a mile of the campground on Fourmile Lake are Badger, Woodpecker and Squaw. Badger is the most productive, and bring a float tube for best success.
Howard Prairie Reservoir - Howard Prairie opens for fishing on April 27. It provides good fishing opportunities for stocked rainbow trout and bass. Brown bullheads and pumpkinseed sunfish also are available.
A change in stocking practices is benefiting trout anglers at Howard Prairie. ODFW has been releasing larger-size, 6- to 7-inch rainbow trout fingerlings in the fall, compared to the 2- to 3-inch-long spring fingerlings that used to be released. The size and timing of the release seem to have reduced predation from bass and improved the trout fishing.
Boat and bank anglers do well at Howard Prairie. Floating baits are popular, while boat anglers trolling flasher and worm or lure combinations usually do well for trout. Fly anglers can do well at the shallow upper end of the lake, especially early in the year.
Fishing for bass has become very popular in recent years. Largemouth bass occupy the shallow coves with woody structure. Smallmouth bass are abundant along the rocky shores. All the standard bass techniques catch fish.
Four boat ramps are available, along with full-service campgrounds. A universal access fishing platform is located on a jetty near the resort. Contact Jackson County Parks at 541-774-8183 for campground information. New this year, Jackson County will operate Howard Prairie Resort, with the Mt. Ashland Association operating the store and restaurant.
Hyatt Lake - Hyatt Lake, located east of Ashland near Howard Prairie, opens for fishing on April 27. Largemouth bass are available at Hyatt, and the lake remains overpopulated with small bass. These fish are easy to catch in the warm summer months and present a nice family fishing opportunity. Most techniques will catch these fish, from fishing night crawlers below a bobber to casting bass lures, and even trolling flies and lures.
Rainbow trout are stocked annually at Hyatt Lake, and can grow to a good size. The overpopulation of bass has harmed the trout fishery in recent years; however, trout fishing is improving as the bass population is being thinned by transfers to other lakes, and the trout are being stocked at larger sizes. Trout caught by anglers in 2012 were in very good condition throughout the fishing season, so expectations are good for large trout this year. Still-fishing with bait is the most popular technique, but trollers do well also.
Hyatt Lake Resort has closed and its boat ramp is no longer available. Two BLM campgrounds, each with boat ramps, are located on the lake.
Illinois River - The Illinois is closed to all fishing April 1 to May 24 to protect out-migrating salmon and steelhead smolts. The Illinois River below Pomeroy Dam opens to steelhead and adipose fin-clipped trout on May 25. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures, and no bait is allowed. The fishery at this time of year is primarily a catch-and-release fishery. Adipose fin-clipped steelhead and rainbow trout, which are actually half-pounder steelhead, can at times be caught in the lower Illinois during the summer and fall. The remainder of the river and its tributaries are closed to all fishing. A large portion of the Illinois River is located in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area. The best access to the river is on the Forest Service land west of Selma and at Oak Flat just above the confluence with the Rogue River.
Lake of the Woods - Lake of the Woods is about 40 miles east of Medford off Highway 140. Open to fishing year-round, the lake is stocked annually with fingerling rainbow, brown trout and kokanee salmon. Legal-sized and trophy rainbow trout are stocked throughout the spring and summer.
Good catches of holdover rainbow trout occur early in the spring. Brown trout and kokanee fishing is also good in the spring. Kokanee average about 11 inches. Brown trout are caught during late evening or early morning using large minnow imitations.
The lake has largemouth bass, yellow perch and bullhead. While the largemouth population has experienced a recent rebound, yellow perch dominate the catch. A small hook with a piece of worm under a bobber will catch numerous yellow perch. This is a great place to introduce kids to fishing. Night fishing can also be enjoyable and is legal. A worm fished on the bottom of the lake will catch brown bullhead.
Lake Selmac - The largest standing water body in Josephine County, Lake Selmac is heavily stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout from February through June. The lake is also a renowned producer of largemouth bass, and is managed for trophy bass through a one bass per day limit. Bluegill, black crappie and brown bullhead are also available. Fish for trout near the dam as the water warms. Look for largemouth bass around stumps and overhanging brush. For black crappie and bluegill, fish from piers and dikes. Fish close to shore at Lake Selmac; it is easy to cast too far and miss the bulk of the fish.
All lake-fishing techniques can be effective. Trout anglers use floating bait or worms with a weight about 2 feet above the hook, cast and retrieve lures or flies, or troll with lures and flies from a boat. A simple technique for panfish is to use a size 10, 12 or 14 hook baited with worms below a bobber. Casting small lures and jigs is also effective. Largemouth bass will strike surface or shallow-running lures fished around cover as the water warms in the spring. During hot weather, largemouth bass seek deeper, cooler water, so use leadhead jigs, plastic worms and deep-running plugs.
Camping facilities are available through Josephine County Parks at 541-474-5285. Beginning around mid-April each year, boat rentals are available at Lake Selmac Resort, 541-597-2277.
Lemolo Reservoir - Lemolo has a naturally reproducing brown trout population that offers excellent fishing in the spring and fall. Lemolo is drawn down during the winter, which can cause precarious ice conditions. The best spring fishing will be along the shoreline where there is open water. The lake will be stocked with more than 5,000 trout this spring and additional trout in the fall.
Lemolo has a new regulation that allows it to open April 1 for catch-and-release for brown trout and a five-per-day harvest for other trout species. From April 27 through Oct. 31, the bag limit is five for all trout species. Lemolo will go back to catch-and-release for brown trout Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, and five per day for other trout.
Lemolo has several Forest Service campgrounds along its shores plus Lemolo Lake Resort, which offers lodging, camping and food. The area is accessible to boat and bank anglers. For information about roads and campgrounds, call the Forest Service at 541-498-2531. Call Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for information on conditions, fishing and facilities.
Lost Creek Reservoir - Lost Creek Lake is heavily stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout and offers very good trout fishing. Throughout the summer, smallmouth and largemouth bass provide an important fishery at the reservoir. Casting jigs along the northern shoreline can be very effective for good-sized smallmouth bass.
Angling for trout is expected to be good again this year. Stocking began in March, and releases continue through early June. Trout anglers fishing from the bank primarily use floating bait or worms. Boat anglers use a wide variety of techniques. Trollers often fish Wedding Ring and night crawler combinations behind a weight, while fly anglers can have success trolling and casting. Juvenile spring chinook are also stocked at Lost Creek.
Fishing for bass and panfish will improve with warmer weather. Largemouth bass are contributing more to the fishery at Lost Creek because of ongoing transfers from other lakes. With the help of volunteers from local bass clubs, ODFW has released close to 10,000 largemouth bass into Lost Creek Reservoir over the past several years.
Medco Pond - An old log pond situated along the Butte Falls-Prospect Highway, Medco Pond is stocked with rainbow trout in April and May. The pond has good bank access, and small watercraft can be launched from the shore. Still-fishing with bait is the most popular technique here, but anglers can cast and troll lures, as well. The pond contains good populations of largemouth bass and bluegill. The bluegill respond well to bait suspended below a bobber, while the bass can be tempted with lures and soft plastic baits.
Rogue River, lower - Anglers are focused primarily on spring chinook in April, May and June from the mouth upstream to Foster Bar, approximately 40 miles. The chinook bag limits change back to zone regulations June 1 from the mouth upstream to Hog Creek. An early run of summer steelhead usually enters the river the latter part of May and early June. Flows and water temperatures affect spring chinook fishing success the most. Anglers will want to keep an eye on river conditions before deciding when and where to fish.
Rogue River, middle and upper - With multiple fishing opportunities available in spring, it is easy to forget that fishing for winter steelhead peaks in March and April in the upper portions of the Rogue River. The fishery primarily targets a very healthy population of naturally produced steelhead. Hatchery steelhead, produced to mitigate for production lost due to dams, are also available.
Spring chinook fishing peaks in the lower river in April and May, while anglers in the upper river above Gold Hill enjoy peak fishing between late May and early July. The spring chinook run this year is expected to be similar in size to the good return in 2012. For much of the run, non-adipose fin-clipped (wild) spring chinook must be released unharmed, while adipose fin-clipped (hatchery) springers may be harvested (more than 10,000 hatchery chinook returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery last year). Anglers are encouraged to consult the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for details.
Fishing for winter steelhead drops off in May, about the time the first summer steelhead begin to arrive. Fishing for summer steelhead usually remains slow until the numbers begin to build in July, with the best fishing occurring in September and October.
The Rogue is closed to trout fishing in the spring to protect smolts migrating to the ocean. Trout fishing reopens May 25, when anglers may keep five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. All non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Trout fishing can be very good during summer upstream of Gold Hill.
Good boat ramps are well distributed along the Rogue River from the upper boundary of the Wild Section at Grave Creek clear up to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery, just below Lost Creek Reservoir. A map of boat ramps can be found at www.visitgrantspass.org/Index.aspx?page=12.
Bank access is readily available on BLM land below Merlin and at numerous parks managed by Josephine County and the city of Grants Pass. In Jackson County, good bank access can be found at Valley of the Rogue State Park, the Jackson County parks along the river, and from Casey State Park to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery. The river gets smaller in this section, with more defined holes. Drifting bait, casting lures and back-trolling plugs are all popular techniques. Later in the season, fly fishing can be very productive.
Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir - This is the premier summer trout fishery in the Rogue watershed. Most campgrounds and public access sites on the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir are stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout on nearly a weekly basis between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The program offers an additional excuse to escape the summer heat for the scenic upper Rogue. Brook trout are also available in the headwater streams. Contact the Rogue Watershed District ODFW office at 541-826-8774 for a map of stocking sites.
Siskiyou Mountain Lakes - Several of the small, high-elevation lakes in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwest Oregon are stocked with rainbow or brook trout, and offer excellent fishing opportunities in an intimate setting. Bolan, Tannen and East Tannen Lakes are located off of the Takelma-Happy Camp Road south of Cave Junction. Bolan is accessible by a Forest Service Road, while Tannen and East Tannen Lakes are within the Red Buttes Wilderness and require a short hike. Miller Lake is located in the upper Applegate drainage west of Applegate Reservoir. It can be reached by either the Carberry Creek Road or Thompson Creek Road; however, anglers must now hike the last two miles to the lake because of a closed bridge. Most of these lakes become accessible by mid-May, and usually remain so until early November. Information and maps for the Siskiyou National Forest and Red Buttes Wilderness Area can be obtained from the Grants Pass Interagency Office, 541-471-6500.
Sky Lakes Wilderness Area - Many of the lakes and streams within this wilderness area, which straddles the crest of the Cascades between Crater Lake National Park and Highway 140, offer good trout fishing. Most of the larger lakes are stocked with brook trout, which can grow up to 20 inches long. The streams and a few lakes have naturally reproducing populations of rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. The higher-elevation lakes are typically blocked by snow or ice until late June, but then usually remain accessible through October. Some of the lakes are relatively close to trailheads and can be reached by an easy hike. Others require more effort to access. For anglers who want to get away from the crowds and enjoy fishing in a beautiful setting, the lakes and streams in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area can be a great destination.
Spaulding Pond - Located in the Siskiyou National Forest north of Selma, this small pond is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout throughout the spring. Hatchery releases begin in late April pending snow conditions. Some trout are now stocked each fall to provide an early-season fishery for anglers able to access the pond early. Fishing should be good, with the best early spring action happening in the afternoons when the water is the warmest.
Toketee Reservoir - Toketee Reservoir, which is up the North Umpqua, is open year-round and provides excellent brown trout fishing in late spring and fall. The trout generally range from 11 to 14 inches. The reservoir is readily accessible to both bank and boat anglers.
Umpqua Basin High Cascade Lakes - The Salmon Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) and volunteers work together to annually stock 11 high-mountain lakes in the Umpqua watershed with brook trout. These lakes provide an opportunity for families to enjoy hiking into a lake for some quality fishing. These lakes are within the Umpqua National Forest and several have primitive campsites near their shores. Lakes being stocked include Maidu, Linda, Calamut, Connie, Skookum, Bullpup, Fuller and Big Twin on the the North Umpqua side, plus Wolf at French Junction and Cliff and Buckeye on the South Umpqua side of the drainage. Fish Lake, in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness Area, is not stocked, but has naturally reproducing trout.
Umpqua Basin Rivers and Streams - Trout fishing will open this year May 25. Anglers should check regulations for stream closures, gear restrictions, catch-and-release areas, and season dates prior to fishing. Rainbow trout are not stocked in Umpqua basin streams and rivers. Anglers fishing in the Umpqua watershed should check out the new "50 places to fish within 60 minutes of Roseburg" brochure available online or at the ODFW office.
Umpqua River - Through March, there was lower than normal spring rain and river levels. This means that the spring chinook will move when the rains arrive. If low-water conditions persist, the lower Umpqua will become mossy and difficult to fish and the fish may not linger. However, a good run is expected. Last year, more than 16,000 spring chinook crossed Winchester Dam. The jack count wasn't as high last year, but more than 10,000 spring chinook are expected.
Most spring chinook are being caught in the lower Umpqua. Spring chinook fishing in the lower Umpqua declines as warmer water temperatures and algae blooms occur. Then the fishing effort generally moves upstream to the North Umpqua. Floats between Amacher Park and River Forks can be very productive. Later in the spring, the Swiftwater area becomes increasingly popular with bank anglers.
There is a two-salmon-per-day limit, and both hatchery and native chinook are available for harvest. Rock Creek annually releases about 340,000 fin-clipped chinook smolts each year. Spring chinook fishing is open on the North Umpqua up to the markers at Rock Creek. The season runs through July 31.
A new anti-snag regulation is in effect through July 31 from Lone Rock boat launch up to the fly area above Rock Creek. It basically restricts the use of treble hooks. OSP is supportive of this regulation because the vast majority of illegal snagging is done with treble hooks.
The winter steelhead season remains open on the South Umpqua through the end of April. Good numbers of fish continue to be in the river through April, and fishing pressure is light. Come May, anglers shift to summer steelhead opportunities on the mainstem and north fork. Like the winter regulations, only a fin-clipped steelhead can be harvested.
Whereas the South Umpqua has a winter steelhead hatchery program, the North Umpqua has a summer steelhead hatchery program.
Although production has varied the last couple years, there will be a fairly good number of hatchery summer steelhead available throughout the spring and summer this year. Most of the hatchery steelhead stay below the confluence with Rock Creek. This corresponds to the area that is open for bait fishing and is popular with anglers using spinning rods. The fly waters offer some excellent catch-and-release opportunity for anglers who prefer fly-fishing equipment. There are special gear restrictions and closures in the fly waters, so check the fishing regulations.
Striped bass and sturgeon are available in the lower Umpqua and tidewater portion of Smith River. Shad are also in the mainstem Umpqua as the water warms. Various points from the Umpqua boat ramp to Yellow Creek are popular shad-fishing spots. The shad run normally occurs from late April through mid-June. Seeing a large number of vehicles parked near Yellow Creek below Tyee is a pretty good indication that there's a good run and the bite is on. Angling opportunities for shad tend to be best when the mainstem has average spring flows. Unlike 2011 and 2012, which had high water conditions throughout most of June, 2013 is looking drier. This may create conditions for a favorable shad season.
Smallmouth bass are also available on the mainstem Umpqua and will become progressively more active through the spring and summer. Good bass fishing can be found throughout the mainstem from Roseburg to the estuary in pools or slack-water areas. Areas under bedrock ledges also can be productive.
The South closes to all fishing May 1-24 and reopens the same day that trout season opens (May 25).
From Winston to Roseburg, there are several floats that can be done with an inflatable raft to access the bass, including the new Nichols Park boat ramp off highway 42 near Winston. There also is good bass fishing from the bank or boat near Templin (dog park) boat ramp in downtown Roseburg. Because good numbers of bass are found throughout the main and lower South Umpqua, there is a new regulation that allows a daily harvest of 15 bass of any size.
Winchester Bay offers dock and boat crabbing throughout the year. The jetties offer rockfish angling, and surfperch fishing is available throughout the spring and early summer. Winchester Bay has also been a successful port for sport fishing for ocean salmon. Come August, both coho and fall chinook are entering the bay. Bank-fishing opportunities extend from Half Moon Bay all the way to Salmon Harbor.
Willow Lake - Willow Lake, located southeast of Butte Falls, offers fishing for stocked rainbow trout, as well as largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullheads and yellow perch. A special release of 1,500 rainbow trout averaging one pound each is scheduled for late May. This scenic lake has an improved boat ramp and a county-owned campground. During winter, the gate to the ramp is open daily until 5 p.m. The campground opens for the season in April.
Trout anglers do well still-fishing with bait or trolling lures or attractor/bait combinations. Bass anglers have success casting lures and soft plastic baits to the structure along the shore. Panfish can be caught by suspending bait from a bobber.
Information about the cabins and group campground can be obtained by calling Jackson County Parks at 541-774-8183.