Fishing Report: April 4, 2014

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for a hazardous seas and small-craft advisory through this afternoon, and 15-knot winds with 7-foot seas Saturday. Things will calm down to 5 knot winds and low seas Sunday before creeping back up.

Bottomfishers must now stay within the 30-fathom line to protect yelloweye rockfish from overharvest.

Chinook salmon fishing is open north of Humbug Mountain, making Coos Bay or Bandon the closest ports to the Rogue Valley that will be open for salmon. Early-season fishing has been slow, in part because of poor fishing conditions and regular bar restrictions for smaller boats.

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.

Clammers will not see any minus tides this week, but a set of morning minus tides will start in mid-April.

Mussel harvest is closed from Cape Arago to the California border, but everything else is a go for shellfish on the Oregon Coast.

The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed.

COOS BAY - The chinook salmon season is open but the weather has been poor. When they can get out, anglers likely will stay somewhat close to shore and ply the water anywhere from 50 to 130 feet down. The chinook are scattered and tough to find in the early season.

Crabbing has been poor, as it normally is this time of year.

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. For this weekend, Sunday conditions look better than Friday or Saturday for bottomfishers.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has slowed off the sand spit thanks to windy conditions, but anglers are finding them when the surf lays down for a few days. Cast Berkley rubber crayfish or prawns or sandshrimp for them. Spring chinook salmon are moving through the bay, but the vast majority of the effort is in the first 15 miles above tidewater.


LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE - The lake is listed at 100 percent full and is fairly turbid. No fresh rainbow trout have been stocked yet. Warming water should get the crappie, bass and bluegill active around submerged willows and along the dam. Fish worms or small spinners. When the clarity returns, try wind-drifting for holdover trout with worms. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake is fishing well for rainbow trout. Trolling for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long has been good off points and in the lower section of the reservoir. All the boat ramps are open, inviting trout trollers and bass anglers to the lake. Bank fishing is poor and will remain slow until water levels rise enough to bring water and fish into the Seattle Bar area. The lake is 32 feet from full and rising, and the filling rate is just a half-foot off schedule.

DIAMOND - The ice is breaking up well in front of the marina. There is open water from the north ramp across to Thielsen Campground and along the northeast edge toward the Cheese Hole. Fishing should be good for holdover rainbows 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.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing will start to improve now that the lake is up to just under two-thirds full. The water has good color to it. Trout fishing improved after the first 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout of the season were released at the county boat ramps two weeks ago. Most of the early action will be in that cove. 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 continue rising.

EXPO - The pond recently was stocked with a mix of legal-sized and trophy trout, making for very good urban fishing opportunities. Small Panther Martin spinners, worms and PowerBait have all worked well for rainbows there. It's been getting steady attention from anglers.

FISH - The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well for a mix of trout and chinook salmon, mainly around the resort and the Forest Service boat ramp. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. A sno-park permit is needed to park at the boat ramp.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.

HYATT - The lake is closed.

LEMOLO - The lake is open to angling. Expect good fishing for rainbows and brown trout in exposed waters along the shoreline. All brown trout must be released unharmed until April 26.

LOST CREEK - The first 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout were stocked two weeks ago, split between the Taklema and Stewart boat ramps. That will entice anglers to work the lower section of the reservoir, mostly slowly trolling Wedding Ring or Triple Teaser lures behind flashers, anywhere from 20 to 60 feet down. The lake is rising slowly but steadily and is less than 8 feet from full. Bass fishing should pick up as the reservoir warms.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is starting to see open water around the edges for anglers to fish PowerBait for brown trout and rainbow trout as well as perch.

WILLOW - The reservoir was listed Thursday at 100 percent full, and the first stocking at the lake happened two weeks ago with 4,500 legal-sized rainbows. Fish from the bank with PowerBait, particularly in the cove near the boat ramp where the trout were released, troll Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers, or wind-drift worms in the afternoon.

SELMAC - The lake received 5,000 rainbow trout two weeks ago, and fishing for them should be good on bait from the bank.


RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE - Winter steelhead fishing has improved on the upper and middle Rogue, where water levels have dropped low enough to have stalled migration, and flows look to drop slightly but steadily into mid-week. A spring chinook salmon was hooked and lost this week in Grants Pass, and the lower Rogue has picked up for early springers, with close to double-digit catches for bankies and boat anglers.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue until the lower Rogue really turns on for springers.

In the upper Rogue, water flows out of Lost Creek Lake have held steady at 1,400 cubic feet per second. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a sparse 2,000 cfs Thursday afternoon, and flows will drop slightly each day until the Corps of Engineers increases its outflow at Lost Creek Lake when more inflow occurs and the lake gets closer to full.

Winter steelhead are sprinkled throughout the upper Rogue. Boat anglers doing best, with at least a few fish each day. It's not spectacular, but the peak of the upper Rogue run is right around the corner, which usually brings a good spate of fish and catches before the first springer gets upper Rogue anglers to switch over. Roe, yarn balls, plugs and even big streamer flies have tracked down fish, particularly in the lower water glides.

The middle Rogue has picked up for fresh winters, but there still are a high percentage of spawned-out kelts in the catches. A lot of fresh 8-pound steelhead are around as well, with fresh fish moving into the lower Applegate River. A few spring chinook have been caught this past week below Rainie Falls, and a steelheader hooked a bona fide springer in Grants Pass on a yarn ball, but it broke off. No other reports of springers have come in. Flows at Grants Pass were a paltry 2,620 cfs Thursday and not forecast to improve until late next week. The turbidity levels were hovering at 5 NTUs, which isn't bad considering how low the flows are.

In the lower Rogue, the best spring chinook salmon fishing has been from Quosatana Creek on down, with good catches between Elephant Rock and the Power Lines. Bankies continue to catch fish daily with Spin-Glo's spiced up with a little roe. Boaters are using anchovies with the Rogue Bait rig or the cut-plug lures scented with tuna oil. About 40 percent of the springers being caught are hatchery fish that can be kept. Wild fish must be released unharmed. Plenty of fish in the 18- to 25-pound range, but nothing big so far. A few steelhead are still coming over the bar, and fishing remains decent for winter steelhead in the Agness area.

CHETCO - The river is closed to angling.

APPLEGATE - The river is closed to angling.

UMPQUA - The first spring chinook salmon are showing up in the lower mainstem, and they are biting plugs fished in migration lanes.

SOUTH UMPQUA - Winter steelhead fishing remains good, especially for large hatchery fish. The South has seen very good hatchery returns this year. Side-drifting roe or scented yarn balls has been best. The river is open to steelhead angling through April.


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