COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for the ocean to remain quite disagreeable into at least Monday as the next wave of storms roll into Southern Oregon. Today forecasters are calling for 25-knot winds and 10-foot wind waves, and that's the good day. Saturday will see gusts up to 40 knots at Brookings, and Sunday calls for winds of 25 knots with 15-foot swells. Monday will be even worse with 30-knot winds and 16-foot swells. Ocean fishing is, therefore, officially a bust.
Clammers won't see any decent tides for at least a week, and with the waves associated with these storms, digging would be a poor decision right now.
All shellfish fishing is open along the entire Oregon Coast.
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. Anglers are no longer relegated to within the 40-fathom line for rockfish.
COOS BAY - Crabbing will be very poor as high freshwater content in the bay will push Dungeness out to the ocean, where conditions will not allow for sport crabbers to get at them. Clamming will be slow until the storms subside. Don't expect any jetty fishing for a while.
BROOKINGS - 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. That won't happen for at least several days. The Chetco is forecast to crest at about 38,000 cubic feet per second Saturday, which could trigger some local flooding.
GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is over. Surfperch fishing will not be good until at least a few days after the waters subside.
AGATE - The lake has risen quickly recently to 31percent of full, but the turbidity leaves fishing there a bust. When the clarity returns, try wind-drifting for holdover trout with worms. Some fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill can be had on nice days. 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 still about 30 feet shy of normal low pool and virtually inaccessible. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep, and wind waves are creating muddy shores.
DIAMOND - Rain and snow has made the surface of Diamond Lake a slushy mess that freezes overnight. There is still about 10 inches of ice on the lake, and fishing has been fair to good, with most of the activity straight out from the Diamond Lake Resort marina. The trout are biting lightly, so anglers report they're missing more fish than they catch. Worms dangled a few feet below the ice is a good place to start, as is PowerBait rigged in a drop-shot fashion (the weight on the bottom and the bait on a hook a few feet up the line) then work your way down until you find the right depth. 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 rising and turbid water. Trout fishing will remain nonexistent to slow while the rising inflow dirties the lake. When some clarity returns, try small spinners, worms and streamer flies for holdover trout. The lake has edged up slightly to 32 percent full, which is still below the normal low pool.
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 - Ice fishing for trout and chinook salmon is fair to good with worms under the ice near the Forest Service ramp and the resort. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit.
LOST CREEK - Inflows into the reservoir were up to 4,600 cfs Thursday afternoon, the first significant inflows of the winter. That leaves the top of the reservoir dirty, but most of the action in mid-winter is along the face of the dam. The few anglers hitting the reservoir say there is good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam's face, with the fish anywhere from 30 to 50 feet down. Flashers help. The lake has risen quite a bit in the past week and the surface was listed Thursday at 1,821 feet elevation. That's still below the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' filling schedule, but an improvement nonetheless.
LAKE of the WOODS - Ice fishing is very good with worms straight out from the resort. 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 first heavy rains of the season means the issue for the weekend likely won't be where or even if to fish, but when to fish the Rogue during some high and turbid conditions.
That leaves the best bet this weekend as the only bet. That would be the water from the Hatchery Hole down to the Highway 62 bridge. After that, the roiling and turbid waters of Big Butte Creek mix in and turn a fishing trip into a driftboat float. There should be a mix of old summer steelhead and some fresh winter steelhead from the New Bridge Hole all the way to the Hatchery Hole. The vast majority of action in that short stretch will be from the bank, and access should be good because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped the outflows at Lost Creek Dam to about 860 cfs. Expect those conditions to remain fairly constant as the Corps has some serious catching up to do on reservoir storage.
The winter steelhead show that should be in full gear now ought to be hopping once the flows and turbidity allow for angling. But when that will be is a crapshoot now, based on flow forecasts by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NRCS has been overestimating peak flows with virtually every weather system so far this winter, but regardless, the numbers are pretty impressive.
Flows at Dodge Bridge have been about 1,300 cfs for much of the winter and they were up to 3,200 cfs Thursday afternoon. The big flow comes tonight when the flows are forecast to peak at just under 11,000 cfs. That's well under the bank-full flow of 20,000 cfs. But expect it to put a lot of leaves and other debris in the water because many of the leaf piles left by upper Rogue landowners along the shoreline have not been inundated yet. Flows at Dodge are forecast to drop to about 3,500 cfs mid-Monday, and that's certainly doable for winter steelhead angling ... provided turbidity greatly improves. It was quite turbid at 3,200 cfs Thursday, so it's hit-and-miss as to whether it will clear up Monday before the flows shoot up again Tuesday.
Same story, different numbers, in the Grants Pass area. Flows there Thursday afternoon were a manageable 4,545 cfs, but the mud kept anglers off the water. Flows are forecast to peak at 18,000 cfs Saturday, then drop like a stone to about 5,000 cfs Monday. After it bottoms out, it'll shoot back up again. Chances of enough clarity Monday to fish for winter steelhead are slim and next-to-none based on that forecast. When winter steelheading resumes after all this, expect to see fish pretty well spread out from Rogue River down to Grave Creek, and they'll be on the move as the water continues to drop. That will make fishing plugs in migration lanes the best bet, followed by side-planers and kite anglers fishing near shore on river turns at places like Rainbow, Carpenter's Island and Griffin Park.
In the lower Rogue, plunkers will be anxiously awaiting a serious drop in water that might not come for close to a week. Flows at Agness on Thursday were an impressive 11,755 cfs, but the forecast is for flows to peak Sunday at about 38,000 cfs. That's short of flooding but definitely putting winter steelhead fishing on the back burner for a while.
When fishing life returns to normal, anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day river-wide.
CHETCO - The river was way up and out of shape for winter steelhead fishing Thursday afternoon, with flows of more than 13,000 cfs and rising. The forecast is for flows to peak this weekend at more than 38,000 cfs, which is expected to trigger some local flooding.
ELK - Water conditions were very high and muddy and clearly out of shape for angling this weekend. The river was at 7.7 feet and falling Thursday at the gauge at the Elk River Hatchery gauge and the flows were brown. Things will get worse before they get better, but locals might be able to squeeze in some winter steelhead fishing Monday or Tuesday as the river starts to drop quickly between storms. There should be winter steelhead everywhere, if the clarity allows for that short window of fishing.
APPLEGATE - The releases out of Applegate Lake remain at 80 cfs and that should help the river drop and clear rather quickly this weekend. Sunday might bring fishable conditions in the river for winter steelhead, which should be pulled into the entire system by then. The higher you go, the clearer the water will be. Fish migration lanes and stay patient. Steelhead will be moving through every now and again, so if you find a decent lane, just work it hard.