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MailTribune.com
  • Fishing Report: Dec. 13, 2013

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  • COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for winds up to 15 knots and somewhat rough seas through the weekend, likely grounding the bottomfishing fleet along the Southern Oregon coast.
    For clammers, two good afternoon minus tides are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, likely to prompt some clamming in the Charleston and Bandon areas. Mussel harvest remains closed from Cape Arago south to the California border, while razor clam digging is open along the entire coast.
    The halibut season for all of Oregon is now closed.
    Chinook salmon fishing is now closed coastwide after the Nov. 30 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 have closed 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 remained steady in the Coquille and Coos bays because the good salinity levels have held steady. Recreational ocean crabbing is open, but effort since the Dec. 1 opening has been light. Commercial crabbing is scheduled to start Dec. 16.
    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. Surfperch fishing is slow.
    AGATE - The lake still has a few holdovers from the fall stocking of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, and anglers have caught a few of them wind-drifting worms or casting spinners. Trolling is slow. Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow and will remain slow through winter, particularly during the current cold snap. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked OK for crappie, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows on warm afternoons, but those don't appear to be coming in the near future. A few bass are biting plastic worms and grubs. The lake is holding steady at 13 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
    APPLEGATE - The lake's boat ramps are all exposed and unusable because of extremely low water conditions. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep and wind waves are creating muddy shores. Look for fishing to improve after the reservoir rises about 7 feet so the French Gulch ramp can be usable.
    DIAMOND - The lake now sports about 5 inches of ice, based on a test hole dug this week about 100 yards out from Diamond Lake Resort. No one's been ice-fishing yet, but the first auger-haulers should be showing up there this weekend. Worms dangled a few feet below the ice is a good place to start, then work your way down until you find the depth. PowerBait off the bottom works well, but it's tough to keep it from tangling in your leader. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are longer than 10 inches. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. The lake is now open year-round.
    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 steadied at 23 percent full, which is just below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered and effort has been nearly nonexistent during the current cold snap.
    A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
    EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout has been slow with little effort despite the recent influx of legal-sized trout. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies.
    FISH - The lake is iced over, but it most likely is not thick enough yet to venture out on the lake for ice fishing. Another week or two of cold weather should get the ice thick enough for safe fishing. When it does, look for a good mix of rainbow trout, predatory tiger trout and land-locked chinook salmon. The chinook are legally considered trout and are part of the five-trout daily limit. The tiger trout must be released unharmed.
    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 waiting for the ice to thicken enough to support ice fishing. When they get out there, they'll catch13- to 15-inch kokanee jigging small spoons or still-fishing worms. 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 hovering about 2 feet below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has dipped to 43 degrees. It can't get too much lower than that.
    WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing, but it's getting little use.
    ROGUE - The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead and the occasional coho salmon for driftboaters floating during bankers' hours, but effort is really down thanks to relatively dark fish and extremely cold temperatures.
    The middle Rogue remains spotty at best for steelhead and coho, with few anglers targeting the coho moving through. The lower Rogue is seeing a few winter steelhead caught by bankies, but the very low and extremely cold conditions have stalled the start of a promising winter steelhead season.
    That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but only for those who think summer steelhead fishing should be done in snow suits.
    The brutally cold weather has slowed fishermen and halted steelhead migration after a short burst during Monday's rain. At Cole Rivers Hatchery, 30 fresh steelhead reached the collection pond in the past week — less than half of the previous week.
    Upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, the river is open to the use of bait, which has steelhead anglers there using a variety of tactics. Most are fishing small clusters of roe or side-drifting scented yarn balls.
    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 such as 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 hovering at 1,340 cubic feet per second this week. Flows were also up slightly to 1,650 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Both flow levels are a tad higher than last week's readings, but not enough to notice. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 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, a few optimistic 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 pushed 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 when the water levels are low. Flows at Agness were below 1,900 cfs, which is ideal for swinging streamer flies for halfpounders and adult steelhead. That level is almost unheard-of for mid-December. The frigid air and water temperatures have kept most anglers away.
    Trolling season for chinook and coho is over in the lower Rogue bay. A few winter steelhead have been caught over the past week by bankies using small Spin-Glo's with small chunks of roe, but that's only a handful a week and most anglers are waiting for rain to start plunking.
    CHETCO - Water conditions are extremely low and cold, with a slight uptick from 609 cfs Thursday to around 1,000 cfs Saturday before it drops again. That's enough to get some fall chinook and winter steelhead moving in the lower river for a bit, but not for long. 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 were being caught before the extremely cold air and water conditions hit. Anglers are allowed to keep only one wild chinook a day as a conservation measure as part of the two-chinook daily limit. They can keep one wild steelhead per day.
    ELK - Low and cold water conditions have slowed fall chinook fishing effort to next to nothing. The water was gin clear Thursday and 40 degrees at Elk River Hatchery. The river can't get much colder than that. When the rains resume, look for that good mid-December slug of fresh fall chinook to light things up riverwide for those back-bouncing plugs, bobber fishing with roe and sandshrimp or back-bouncing roe.
    SIXES - The river was super low and super clear and super poor for fall chinook fishing.
    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 - A few winter steelhead were being caught around Coquille before the extremely cold conditions hit.
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