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MailTribune.com
  • Fishing Report: Dec. 6, 2013

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  • COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for winds up to 15 knots but fishable seas today and Sunday. Saturday will see a bump in winds to about 20 knots, making for a pretty sketchy day on the water off the Southern Oregon coast.
    For clammers, tonight's 1-foot minus tide would be perfect, except the bottom low is at 8:23 p.m. Clamming isn't recommended after dark because of the danger of sneaker waves. Mussel harvest remains closed from Cape Arago south to the California border, while razor clam digging is open along the entire coast.
    Chinook salmon fishing is now closed coastwide after Sunday's closure off the Elk and Sixes river mouths.
    The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The cabezon season has been extended because close to half of the quota went unfilled in the regular season, which was supposed to close Sept. 30. The limit remains one per day at least 15 inches long, and it counts against the seven-fish marine aggregate limit. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
    Bay crabbing has been good in the Coquille and Coos bays, and saltwater content remains high.
    BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing is closed. Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good when anglers have been able to sneak outside of the estuary. This weekend looks promising for hitting near-shore reefs today and Sunday. Lingcod catches have been good despite it being late fall. The halibut season is closed.
    GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is over.
    AGATE - The lake was stocked a month ago with legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, and anglers fishing nice days are catching them wind-drifting worms or casting spinners. Trolling for the fresh planters is slow. Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow and will remain slow through winter. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked OK for crappie, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows on warm afternoons. The lake is holding steady at 13 percent full despite this week's rains. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
    APPLEGATE - The lake's boat ramps are all exposed and unusable thanks to extremely low water conditions. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep and wind waves are creating muddy shores. Look for fishing to continue once the reservoir rises about 7 feet so the French Gulch ramp can be usable.
    DIAMOND - Fishing has paused for now because the cold weather has formed a light sheet of ice on the lake. The ice is far from thick enough to venture on, so ice fishing is not yet recommended. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.
    EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been slow and the prognosis looks very poor amid low and cold water conditions. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake has dropped a hair to 23 percent full, which is just below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered.
    EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout has improved with the recent influx of legal-sized trout. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies.
    FISH - Fishing for rainbow trout has been fair to good on nice days recently. The Forest Service boat ramp is open and the lake continues to rise. This week's cold weather likely will keep anglers away. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm behind a Ford Fender has worked well, as have Little Cleo's. Some of last year's tiger trout are as long as 12 inches now, but they must be released unharmed. Some larger chinook salmon are also showing up in the catch. They can be kept as part of the legal trout limit.
    HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.
    HYATT - The lake is closed.
    LEMOLO - Lemolo is open through Dec. 31 with a daily limit of five trout. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, all brown trout must be released. People are catching 13- to 15-inch kokanee, with some up to 20 inches, by trolling deeper water with a small spoon and single hook. The boat ramps are open at East Lemolo and Poole Creek Campgrounds.
    LOST CREEK - The lake remains under a voluntary advisory against water contact because of blue-green algae. Most anglers are shying away from the lake, but a few trollers are catching trout near the dam and directly across from the marina. The lake is back up slightly to almost 1 foot below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has dipped even more to 46 degrees. Look for that to continue dropping, but slower.
    WILLOW - Trolling for trout has been fair after last month's stocking of legal-sized and larger rainbows from the boat ramp. Still-fishing is good with worms or PowerBait.
    ROGUE - The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead and the occasional coho salmon for driftboaters floating during bankers' hours, largely because the mornings have been brutally cold of late. The middle Rogue remains spotty for steelhead and coho, with few anglers targeting the coho moving through. The lower Rogue is seeing the first of its winter steelhead catches by bankies. The Agness area is fair for steelhead and halfpounders despite excellent fly-fishing conditions.
    That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but only for those who think it's not a misnomer to fish for summer steelhead when air temperatures won't reach 40 degrees.
    The brutally cold weather has slowed fishermen and halted steelhead migration after a short burst during Monday's rain. At Cole Rivers Hatchery, 75 fresh steelhead reached the collection pond in the past week, with almost all of them around Monday's light freshet.
    Water upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp is open to the use of bait. Most steelhead anglers there are fishing small clusters of roe or side-drifting scented yarn balls. Fishing crowds really have tapered off here, but the first few boats get the majority of the steelhead.
    Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, anglers are relegated to artificial flies and lures only, with plugs, egg flies and most plastic eggs popular now. Anglers can side-drift egg flies, and that will dominate the action down to Fishers Ferry. Downstream of Fishers Ferry, bait is legal for summer steelhead.
    Some plug action has worked well in this stretch, too, with crayfish and smaller Kwikfish patterns working best. A few coho are getting caught at places like the mouth of Bear Creek, Casey State Park and the Sand Bottom Hole.
    Flows have dropped thanks to another stretch of no rain and no stepped-up water releases from Lost Creek Lake. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down again to 1,320 cubic feet per second this week. Flows were down to 1,618 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Both flow levels are a tad lower than even last week's readings. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however, plans to hold its releases at 1,150 cfs into next week.
    All wild steelhead and wild coho must be released unharmed riverwide.
    In the middle Rogue, steelheaders are using a mix of flies, bait, Panther Martin lures and crayfish plugs to catch an occasional summer steelhead, but action is light. Start targeting fish around spawning tributaries, but the vast majority of steelhead caught in the middle Rogue are wild and must be released.
    The Agness area has slowed again after the schools of coho moved through. A hodgepodge of halfpounders and adult summer steelhead are in most riffles and tailouts, where they can be caught side-drifting worms or swinging flies. Crayfish lures are deadly in the Agness area as long as the water levels are low. Flows at Agness were down below 2,100 cfs, which is ideal for swinging streamer flies for halfpounders and adult steelhead. However, water and air temperatures are cold.
    The lower Rogue bay has seen the end of the bay trolling season for chinook and coho. A few winter steelhead have been caught over the past two weeks by bankies using small Spin-Glo's with small chunks of roe.
    CHETCO - Water conditions are low and cold and are forecast to continue dropping into next week. The first significant spike in water is forecast for Dec. 14, when flows are expected to eclipse 3,000 cfs before dropping quickly. Fall chinook are present riverwide, with a few catches in the deepest holes. When flows increase, look for good catches of fall chinook on plugs in migration lanes. A few fresh winter steelhead are getting caught weekly. Anglers are allowed to keep only one wild chinook a day as a conservation measure as part of the two-chinook daily limit.
    ELK - Low and cold water conditions have slowed fall chinook action to a crawl. Estuary fishing has been spotty largely because rough surf has kept most of the chinook offshore. Some good tidal surges next week should draw fresh chinook into the estuary, where they will remain until the next rain.
    SIXES - The river was dropping and clearing itself out of fishing shape since a slight boost in flows Monday
    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.
    COQUILLE - Trolling large spinners for fall chinook has slowed for late-season fall chinook anglers upstream of the city of Coquille, where most of the fish are becoming dark.
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