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  • Fishing Report: Friday, March 7, 2014

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  • COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for a slightly surly ocean Friday, with 10-knot winds and 9-foot swells. Over the weekend, morning forecasts look possible for bottomfishers, but winds will increase Sunday to 25 knots with big seas.
    Near-shore jigging should be very good for lingcod and black rockfish when conditions allow. Lingcod are moving into the shallows in force for the spring spawn, and this is the best time to catch them. Black, white or red jigs are always good bets, but lings are so aggressive now that color doesn't matter.
    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.
    All shellfish fishing is open along the entire Oregon Coast, but clammers will see no minus tides today through the weekend.
    The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed, and chinook salmon fishing is closed coastwide.
    COOS BAY - Crabbing is slow following heavy runoff from this week's storms. Weekend clammers aren't getting any love from the tides, with no minus tides all week. Jetty fishing will improve when the bay settles down some. Fish high slack and low slack tides for best results.
    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. The Chetco River was running over 13,000 cubic feet per second Thursday, blowing out action in the estuary.
    GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing is starting to improve.
    AGATE - The lake is up to 70 percent full and fairly turbid, keeping most anglers away. Warming water should get the crappie, bass and bluegill active around submerged willows and along the dam. Fish with worms or small spinners. When the clarity returns some, try wind-drifting for holdover trout with worms. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
    APPLEGATE - The lake is catching up to its filling curve, and the French Gulch low-water boat ramp is open, inviting trout trollers and bass anglers to the lake. Bass fishing should improve now that the water levels are higher and the water warmer. Bank fishing has been poor because the banks are steep and wind waves create muddy shores.
    DIAMOND - Recent rains have turned the top of the lake's ice slushy, and the Diamond Lake Resort is reporting that resort staff do not consider the ice safe for angling. A few cold days should get the ice back into shape for ice anglers, but that isn't likely this weekend, as more warm rains are forecast for the region. If it does refreeze, most of the activity will be straight out from the Diamond Lake Resort marina. The trout have been biting lightly. Dangle worms a few feet below the ice to start, or rig PowerBait 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 longer than 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. The lake is open year-round.
    EMIGRANT - Bass fishing will start to improve now that the lake is close to half full and the water is warming. The water has good color to it now. Trout fishing will remain poor while the rising inflow dirties the lake. When some clarity returns, try small spinners, worms and streamer flies for holdover trout. The Talent Irrigation District is transferring some water into the lake from Hyatt Lake, so look for the surface level to rise.
    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. 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.
    HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.
    HYATT - The lake is closed.
    LEMOLO - The lake is closed to fishing until April.
    LOST CREEK - Inflows into the reservoir were way back up and that has pushed the lake's elevation to 18 feet short of full. The outflows were back to 2,300 cfs Thursday afternoon, leaving the upper end of the reservoir dirty, but most of the water was a nice, green color. Most of the action in mid-winter is along the face of the dam. Anglers say there has been good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam, with the fish anywhere from 30 to 50 feet down. Flashers help.
    LAKE of the WOODS - The ice is unsafe for fishing.
    WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing but it's getting little use. The reservoir was listed Thursday at three-fourths full.
    ROGUE - Winter steelhead fishing is about to take a big turn one way or the other in the Rogue as the second significant storm front of the winter steelhead season moves through the region.
    That makes the best bet the upper Rogue, because it will have some fishable water through the weekend, and it will also be the first stretch to clear up. For now, it's steelhead fishing from the mouth of Big Butte Creek on up to the Hatchery Hole, the only water likely clear enough to fish this weekend. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were increased to 2,600 cfs and it likely won't increase until the flows peak later today. Fish this area for winter steelhead with worms and corkies, yarn balls and large corkies in slow water near banks.
    Flows at Dodge Bridge were about 4,000 cfs Thursday and forecast to hit at least 4,500 cfs today, then drop but bounce up to about 7,500 cfs Monday before slowly dropping. That will leave most driftboat fishing a bust and get some side-planer action going in a few spots. When it drops, look for plenty of new winter steelhead throughout the stretch. Another 75 winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery over the past week, bumping the early run numbers to 357 fish. That's the second-highest total to date in the past decade. A few winter steelhead have been getting caught, but anglers primarily have been running into spawned-out summer steelhead heading back downstream. These wild fish should be released unharmed. Their meat isn't edible.
    Flows in the Grants Pass area were down to good fishable conditions much of the week, but not a lot of fresh winter steelhead have been caught. Anglers recently have caught more spawned-out kelts headed downstream than fresh winters, though the most bona fide winters have been caught from the mouth of the Applegate on down by driftboaters side-drifting yarn balls, roe, worms and corkies or pink rubber worms.
    Flows Thursday were at 6,000 cfs of pretty decent-colored water at 9 NTUs. That made for some good side-planing in slow-water turns with plugs. Flows were forecast to hit about 7,000 cfs today before dropping some and then increasing to 12,000 cfs Monday. That's a blowout, and the forecast is for a gradual reduction in flows that could keep the river up and out of shape much of next week.
    Bank angling has been good with side-planers, but lately it's been casting and side-drifting roe and corkies. Steelhead up to 12 pounds have been caught recently, but most are running 6 to 8 pounds.
    The lower Rogue has been OK for plunkers fishing No. 4 Spin-Glo's in about 2 feet of water, but the main action has been for spring chinook salmon. Nine confirmed springers have been caught in the past 10 days, and that has Gold Beach abuzz. Also, about half of the confirmed catches have been fin-clipped hatchery fish that anglers can keep. Wild springers must be released unharmed.
    Anglers are anchoring and walking anchovies out of the back of the boat, waiting for a migrating chinook to bite. The first few miles upstream of the head of tide has been best. But catches could taper off this week as high flows hit.
    Anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day riverwide. Only fin-clipped hatchery spring chinook can be kept.
    CHETCO - The river was way up and way out of shape for winter steelhead fishing, with flows at 13,400 cfs Thursday. Flows are forecast to drop to around 5,000 cfs Sunday before shooting back up again. That could mean bank anglers fishing slow water for winter steelhead could do well Sunday if the water clears up, but most driftboat traffic will be sidelined until flows drop some time next week. Winter steelhead catches had been good when conditions allowed for fishing.
    ELK - Water conditions were excellent for winter steelhead fishing earlier this week, with the flow level just under 5 feet and milky green — excellent conditions for winter steelhead fishing. But expect those flows to jump up today and then drop pretty quickly Saturday, which could make for excellent fishing. Catches have been good with bright jigs under bobbers, as well as with yarn flies and roe. Plugs have taken a backseat to drift fishing now.
    APPLEGATE - Another 55 winter steelhead were captured Wednesday at the fish trap at the base of Applegate Dam, upping the collection so far to 104 fish. Winter steelhead are throughout the river, with catches best on spinners, spoons and yarn balls. There is no angling from a boat, and all wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
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