COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for decent conditions this morning with the rest of the weekend seeing 8- to 9-foot swells, which are high enough to keep most late-season bottomfishers off the water.
For clammers, no minus tides are in the forecast for at least a week. 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 now is open off the Oregon coast.
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 9 feet so the French Gulch ramp can be usable.
DIAMOND - The lake now sports about 5 inches of ice and the ice-fishing season has begun, with most of the activity straight off the Diamond Lake Resort marina. 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 most anglers are heading to Lake of the Woods until Fish Lake's ice improved in thickness. 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 catch 13- 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, but that advisory could be lifted as early as today. If so, the Takelma boat ramp near the dam is open and accessible, but the water level is too low for effective use of the marina ramps. The lake is hovering about 2.5-feet below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has stayed at 43 degrees — that's about as cold as it can get. When anglers return to the lake, look for good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam's face, near the intake tower and directly across from the marina. Vary your depths.
WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing but it's getting little use.
ROGUE - The upper Rogue River continues to reward those who brave the cold with a few summer steelhead and the occasional coho salmon, but the runs are petering out, and most of the fish are dark.
The middle Rogue remains spotty at best for steelhead and coho, with few anglers targeting the coho moving through. The lower Rogue is seeing the a few winter steelhead caught by bankies, but the very low and extremely cold conditions have lagged the start of a promising winter steelhead season.
That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but only for those who enjoy the irony of starting a day of summer steelhead fishing with four layers of clothing on.
The brutally cold weather has slowed fishermen and halted steelhead migration after a short burst during Monday's rain. At Cole Rivers Hatchery, 10 fresh steelhead reached the collection pond in the past week — less than half of the previous week. That's the worst showing since June.
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, but most are wild and virtually all unedible.
Flows have dropped thanks to another stretch of no rain and no stepped-up water releases from Lost Creek Lake. Flows at Dodge Bridge have dropped slightly this past week to 1,320 cubic feet per second Thursday. Flows were down slightly to 1,575 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. 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. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 1,650 cfs Thursday.
The Agness area has remained slow for halfpounders, despite low-flow conditions that usually help halfpounder catches. Flows at Agness were up a sliver to 1,901 cfs, which is ideal for swinging streamer flies for halfpounders and adult steelhead. That level is almost unheard of for late 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. Rain is seriously needed.
CHETCO - Water conditions are extremely low and cold, with a rading of 509 cfs Thursday. Flows are expected to rise slightly Sunday, but they'll still hover well below 1,000 cfs then continue to slide down into 2014. Winter steelhead are around in the lower river, but the clear and cold water has made it tough fishing for bankies and boat anglers.
ELK - Very low and cold water conditions have slowed early winter steelhead and late-fall chinook fishing effort to virtually 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 winter steelhead to be well spread out and late fall chinook fishing over for the season.
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.