Fishing Report: Aug. 30, 2013

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE - Pretty mellow winds and low swells are forecast into early next week on the south coast, which should make for excellent fishing opportunities through the Labor Day weekend for salmon anglers and bottomfishers.

Shellfishers will not get any morning minus tides this next week, but most morning lows are hovering around the zero mark, so they are as close to minus tides as you can get. Mussel harvest from the California border to Cape Arago near Coos Bay remains closed.

Salmon fishing has slowed a bit off south coast ports, but Brookings remains the top chinook port by far for Oregon. Lingcod and bottomfish catches have been very good coastwide. Bottomfishers must stay within the 30-fathom line through September.

The only halibut fishing across the vast majority of Oregon remains south of Humbug Mountain for Southern Oregon ports, where activity has been somewhat light except for some halibut fishing out of Brookings.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Cabezon may be kept, with a limit of one per day at least 15 inches long as part of that seven-fish aggregate. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

It should be another decent weekend for bay crabbing, and crabs are starting to fill out.

Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended unless only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.

BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing remains good for anglers when they are able to beat the winds and hit the water. Catches have been best for anglers trolling anchovies with hoochies about 30 to 40 feet down in 150 feet or so of water within a few miles of the whistle buoy. Most of the chinook are in the 15- to 17-pound range, but there have been plenty of 30-plus pound salmon in the mix.

Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good. Anglers should release large female lingcod to help recruitment.

Surfperch fishing has been on-again, off-again at Winchuck Beach depending on the winds. Catch them on bright streamer flies, clam necks, mussels or plastic, imitation crayfish.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has fallen off from the sand spit off the bay's south jetty. Catch them on mussels, bright flies, sand shrimp or fake scented sandshrimp. Bottomfishing for black rockfish and lingcod remains very good outside of Gold Beach when anglers can get out. Bay fishing for fall chinook has picked up and is good to very good.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - Fishing for bass and crappie has been fair. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked well, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows. Bass are biting plastic worms and grubs. The lake is down to 30 percent full, but this week's rains should reverse, at least temporarily, the rapid drop. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake got no new fresh fish this month, but a few anglers are still doing well for stocked trout higher in the lake and near the Copper ramp. Catch them by trolling Wedding Rings with worms or using PowerBait off the bank. Evenings are best. Trout fishing in the Seattle Bar area is a no-go now that the lake is down to 43 feet from full and dropping. Bass fishing has been very good off points and in coves.

DIAMOND - The lake has been really hit-and-miss for rainbow trout amid changing weather patterns and yo-yoing barometers in the High Cascades. Most of the action has been still-fishing with PowerBait in the deepest areas of the lake thanks largely to last week's post-rotenone record catch of a 12.1-pound rainbow that way. Some algae growth is starting to form on the lake, but recent tests showed it does not contain dangerous toxins. Trolling has slowed with the mid-summer heat. Fly-fishing has been fair on chironomids and woolly buggers. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are 10 inches or longer now. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been good in the evenings off rocky points and near submerged willows. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is now down to 37 percent full and dropping rather rapidly as the three Talent Irrigation District reservoirs are getting drawn down for irrigators. Trout are holding off the mouth of Emigrant Creek and can be caught there on worms and woolly bugger flies.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout is poor and will remain poor through summer. No new stocking is scheduled this summer. A few crappie and bluegill are getting caught by anglers using worms under bobbers.

FISH - Fishing for rainbow trout is very good despite very low water levels. The lake was less than one-quarter full Thursday. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm behind a Ford Fender has worked exceedingly well. Boat access is a problem at the Forest Service ramp for even small boats, but the resort ramp is functional for $5 a day. For trout, mornings and evenings are best in the deeper recesses of the lake. Some of last year's tiger trout are as long as 12 inches now, but they must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Early-morning fishing is the best bet for the lake, with the action dying off dramatically during the day and kicking back in around dusk. No new trout have been stocked recently. Anchoring in deep water and fishing PowerBait has been best, while trollers have worked the middle of the lake with some success. Bass fishing has been very good regardless of what bassers throw at them, but white plastic worms and topwater baits have been better choices. Largemouth are hitting a variety of crankbaits and plastic worms.

HYATT - The BLM boat ramps are open, and fishing is fair with PowerBait near the dam, around the Orchard and in the upper stretches of the lake. Air quality has been very good. Trolling the old creek channel near the lake's western edge can be good, especially in the evenings. Catches have been light, but the percentage of trout 16 to 20 inches long is high.

LEMOLO - Fishing has been good for rainbow trout and fair to good for brown trout. The lake got infused with some 14-inch rainbows this week, just in time for the Labor Day weekend. Brown trout are averaging 16 inches, rainbows are 12 to 16-plus inches, and kokanee are in the 8- to 13-inch range. The limit is five trout per day. A combination of brown trout, rainbows and kokanee can be kept to make up the limit, and only one trout can be longer than 20 inches.

LOST CREEK - Trout fishing is very good to excellent above Peyton Bridge, where the water temperatures are cooler. Wind-drifting night crawlers or trolling Wedding Rings with worms and flashers is best. The area upstream of the bridge is a no-wake zone. Water-quality remains good, and smoke levels have improved greatly this past week. Smallmouth bass are hitting plastic worms and crankbaits off rocky points, primarily in the mornings and evenings off points. Some nice largemouth have been taken of late around submerged trees and logs, but they are far outnumbered by smallmouth. The lake is down to 40 feet from full, and the surface temperature is back up to 75 degrees, but look for that to fall.

WILLOW - Trolling for trout has been fair to good during early mornings and evenings. Crappie and other panfish are being caught consistently with worms under bobbers or jigs.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - Fall chinook salmon fishing has been very good in the Grants Pass area, while a mix of salmon and steelhead are creating good fishing in the upper Rogue — and it should continue to be good until the rules change there Sunday. The lower Rogue has been a major dud this past week thanks largely to warm water that has chinook holding offshore.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue until the flies-only season begins Sunday. Until then, it's a fine mix of chinook and steelhead fishing with a variety of baits and lures.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remain flat at 1,750 cubic feet per second, and that's helped both the steelhead and the chinook bite. For chinook, the open water extends from Dodge Bridge on down, with most of the driftboat action on the run from Dodge to TouVelle State Park, and for good reason. The bite has been good on both roe and Kwikfish, with some of the fish starting to get pretty dark and ready to spawn. Anglers can keep wild fish in that stretch now, as well.

Summer steelhead numbers reaching Cole Rivers Hatchery increased by more than 150 fresh fish this past week, inching the count there to 910 fish so far — pretty good, but still well off last year's pace. Still, there are plenty for anglers to target on evening or morning trips from the bank or boats. The fish are biting worms, lures, plugs and flies.

That all changes Sunday, when it is flies-only for summer steelhead and a full closure on chinook fishing from Fisher's Ferry upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery through Oct. 31. When the flies-only season begins, traditional casters can swing streamers through riffles and tailouts or fish nymphs at the heads of riffles and the inside turns of gravel bars. Spincasting is allowed with floats and flies, but no added weights or attachments such as weights or swivels are allowed.

The steelhead are mostly congregated in riffles 4 to 8 feet deep and deeper, so focus on good, churning water. Early steelhead are either first-time spawners 18 to 19 inches long or fatties 8 pounds and up. Few early-run fish are between those sizes. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

In the middle Rogue, the chinook bite has been strong in most canyon holes and deeper glides this past week from Grants Pass down to Galice. The Finley Bend area has been good for bank anglers, as well. For driftboaters, chartreuse and silver Kwikfish have been best for chinook, with roe and sandshrimp running a pretty distant second.

The lower Rogue bay abruptly turned off this week, with only a handful of fish getting caught in the bay. Higher water temperatures have chinook charging straight upstream.

In the far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Lake, the regular stocking schedule for the summer is in place, and anglers are catching legal-sized trout daily.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for trout fishing. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target steelhead when they reach the river during trout season.


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