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MailTribune.com
  • Fishing Report: Jan. 10, 2014

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  • COASTWIDE - Ocean fishing appears like it will be a bust through the weekend thanks to a small-craft advisory in effect through Monday. Storm fronts that are forecast to bring the first real rains of winter to Southern Oregon are headed in and will keep anglers at bay.
    For clammers, some nice evening minus tides are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday right around dusk.
    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 closed, and chinook salmon fishing is closed coastwide.
    The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate. No cabezon can be kept until July 1.
    COOS BAY - Crabbing has been very good from boats and off public docks, with good catches of legal-sized crabs. Recreational ocean crabbing is open but effort since the Dec. 1 opening has been light, largely because of rough seas. Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay.
    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, like they did last weekend. Poor conditions are expected this weekend.
    GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is over. Surfperch fishing has been 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 cold snaps. 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. The lake is about 23 feet shy of normal low pool. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep and wind waves are creating muddy shores.
    DIAMOND - The lake sports about 5 inches of ice, and ice-fishing has been good, with most of the activity straight out from 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 right 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 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 dropped to 22 percent full, which is just below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered and effort has been nearly nonexistent during recent cold weather.
    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, and fishing for trout and chinook salmon is fair to good with worms under the ice near the Forest Service ramp and the resort. A few tiger trout will get caught this winter and they must be released unharmed. The chinook are legally considered trout and are part of the five-trout daily limit.
    HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.
    HYATT - The lake is closed.
    LEMOLO - The lake is closed to fishing until spring.
    LOST CREEK - The lake is no longer under an algae advisory. The Takelma boat ramp near the dam is open and accessible, but the water is too low for effective use of the marina ramps. The lake is hovering about 4 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 gets. The few anglers hitting the reservoir says there is 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.
    LAKE of the WOODS - Ice fishing is very good with worms straight out from the resort. Light snow makes ice fishing access very good. Anglers have been catching rainbow trout, brown trout and perch.
    WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing, but it's getting little use.
    ROGUE - The rain anglers have been pining for the past two months has finally reached Southern Oregon, putting enough water in streams to perk up steelhead fishing — especially in the Rogue, where the winter steelhead season that wasn't finally will be.
    While good fishing likely won't occur until the river peaks and starts to drop Sunday, most eyes are on the middle Rogue, where the first winter steelhead of the season should show as early as Sunday.
    Flows in Grants Pass that were hovering around 1,550 cubic feet per second for weeks are forecast to peak at 5,300 cfs Sunday. That's a good water level for driftboaters to float anywhere from the mouth of the Applegate on down to Grave Creek. Most driftboaters will focus on the canyon water near Galice, as schools of winter steelhead should be moving through. The best ways to fish for these steelhead on the move is to drag roe through migration lanes or use plugs to fish the tops of runs or anywhere the fish might get pushed together. Flows in Grants Pass are expected to drop quickly and they will be back down to about 2,000 cfs around Wednesday. Bank anglers should do best around Ennis Riffle, with side-planers likely getting some action at Griffin Park.
    Anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp. That's another significant reason many anglers will be headed to that area once the river crests.
    The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead for driftboat anglers, but only the occasional one is bright. At least the fish have been on the move. Cole Rivers Hatchery collection ponds received 123 new fish. That's more than the entire past month. Some spawned-out fish already are showing up in the catches, as well. Also, the hatchery collected four legit winter steelhead this week, the first of the season. Anglers are allowed to fish with bait, flies and lures, with all three getting used with some regularity. Bank angling will be best downstream of the TouVelle State Park boat ramp, the riffle upstream of the Rogue Elk Park campground, the new Bridge Hole and the Hatchery Hole. The vast majority of the catches will be late-run summer steelhead, with perhaps a early-run winter steelhead somewhere in the mix.
    Flows at Dodge Bridge, which have been at 1,310 cfs for the past two weeks, are forecast to shoot up to 3,340 cfs early Sunday before dropping quickly. That makes a bankers-hours float a good bet.
    New Year's Day lifted the artificial flies and lures restriction for the upper Rogue downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, so bait fishing is now legal riverwide for steelhead.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped releases from Lost Creek Lake to 900 cfs today to take advantage of the extra natural runoff to keep the Rogue up enough while starting to fill the reservoir.
    All wild steelhead must be released unharmed upstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp.
    The Agness area has been decent for halfpounders, largely because of the very low flows. But the flows at Agness are forecast to peak at about 7,000 cfs Sunday. This will get the plunkers out in force for winter steelhead, using larger Spin-Glo's like the black-and-white Cop Car spiced with roe or live sand shrimp if they have them.
    CHETCO - The river came up slightly Wednesday but will rise steadily through early Sunday before peaking at 7,500 cfs at Ice Box. As the water drops, winter steelhead fishing should be excellent through mid-week before the fast-dropping conditions leave water levels rather low again. Side-drifting roe from driftboats will remain the method of choice, but those fishing farther upstream should also do well pulling plugs.
    ELK - Very low and cold water conditions should give way to excellent winter steelhead fishing conditions Sunday and into next week. Side-drifting roe from driftboats will take precedence over plugs, but both should do well into early next week before the water drops and clears again.
    SIXES - The river will drop into winter steelhead fishing conditions by Sunday, but look for the Elk to take the lion's share of the angling pressure.
    APPLEGATE - The river is now open for winter steelhead fishing, but the water releases from the very low Applegate Lake remain at 100 cfs. No winter steelhead have been reported in the stream so far this year, but the first fish could show up as early as next week. Catch-and-release is required on all wild fish, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
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