COASTWIDE - Stiff winds and choppy seas have the South Coast locked into a small-craft advisory through tonight, and 5-foot wind waves are forecast for Saturday, but things should start to settle down a little Sunday. That likely will keep anglers off the ocean through the weekend.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, and no cabezon may be kept until July. Retention of cabezon is allowed July 1 through Sept. 30. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
The ocean is open to sport and commercial crabbers. Dungeness catches have been good again in bays, and look for very good winter crabbing conditions into early next week because no significant rains are forecast. Charleston has the best public crabbing off docks.
Mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River to Cape Arago in Coos County, but a closure is in effect from Cape Arago to the California border because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. All other shellfish harvesting is open from the Columbia River to the California border.
Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended, however. Coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.
GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing turned on at Nesika Beach this past week, with surf anglers casting sand shrimp, fake crayfish and clam necks for some nice redtails. Fish both sides of the high tide, with the last hour of the incoming tide often best. Keep your eyes open for sneaker waves.
AGATE - Trout-fishing effort has slowed dramatically because of murky water conditions from recent inflows. Some of October's stocking of 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout are still available. Bass fishing is very slow. Catching trout will be best still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake is 85 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.
APPLEGATE - Reservoir levels are starting to climb as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins filling the reservoir, which is already about 10 feet above its normal depth for the first week in February. Trout fishing has been slow, with little effort, and the water is cold. A few anglers are targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed. French Gulch is open.
DIAMOND - The lake is open for ice fishing, with most of the action near the resort because that area has the best access. Try fishing worms just below the ice or PowerBait near the bottom. Some anglers are doing well with white or pink jigs. Last summer's fingerlings are now longer than 8 inches, while most of the catch are rainbows 12 to 16 inches long. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.
EMIGRANT - The lake was infused Thursday with 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery. They are legally considered rainbow trout, so anglers can keep just one over 20 inches long per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The water is murky, and the lake is almost two-thirds full. The lake is open year-round.
A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
EXPO - Fishing and interest have waned dramatically since anglers picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. Catch what's left of them on worms under bobbers or small Panther Martin lures. The limit is five trout per day. The pond is open year-round.
FISH - Ice fishing near the resort and off the Forest Service boat ramp has been good with jigs, worms and PowerBait. The ice is firm. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake was listed Thursday at 62 percent full. The lake is open year-round.
HOWARD PRAIRIE, HYATT and LEMOLO - Fishing is closed until April.
LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is reported to be slow. Try jigs, worms and PowerBait for trout near the resort.
LOST CREEK - A prolonged blue-green algae advisory has been lifted, which has created a little flurry of trout fishing off the bank and from boats. Anglers putting in their time are catching limits of rainbows 12 to 15 inches long, as well as some smaller spring chinook stocked there. They remain undersized and should be handled as little as possible. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait, while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern. The surface elevation is up to 1,831 feet above sea level, or 4 feet higher than last week.
ROGUE - The Rogue is forecast to bump up a bit today, triggering a jumpstart to a winter steelhead fishery that already has spread riverwide. But the best bet remains the lower Rogue, where anglers from the bank and boats are running into a few steelhead a day despite water that is lower and colder than ideal.
Bankies have fared best plunking at traditional hot spots, such as Huntley Park and Canfield Riffle, with large Spin-Glo's and Hot Shots working best.
Stay in water about 4 feet deep or less. Boat anglers fishing Kwikfish plugs or side-drifting roe have fared well from the Lobster Creek area on down, but action above Quosatana Creek has been slow.
Flows at Agness were up to about 6,700 feet per second Thursday and forecast to dart up about 1,000 cfs. That's not a lot, but it will add a little color to the river and get steelhead moving again.
In the middle Rogue, anglers have been seeing nice winter steelhead from the mouth of the Applegate on down, but the Galice area has been best for plug anglers and driftboaters side-drifting roe and corkies.
Flows at Grants Pass were down at 3,000 cfs Thursday but are forecast to shoot up a bit before dropping again Saturday. Like in the lower Rogue, the change certainly will help the bite. Focus on all the traditional middle-Rogue holes and riffles, but not so much on the high-water holes that produced fish earlier this week.
In the upper Rogue, anglers are finally running into some fresh winter steelhead. The first eight winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery collection ponds Wednesday, meaning they are distributed throughout the river. A few upper Rogue driftboaters have been catching a winter or two a day in the Shady Cove area, and a couple of winter steelhead were caught by bank anglers at the Hatchery Hole earlier this week before steelhead were found in the trap.
With only 1,030 cfs being released from Lost Creek Lake and little tributary flow right now, the flows at Dodge Bridge were a skinny 1,930 cfs Thursday and set to rise slightly. Flows at the old Gold Ray site were about 2,600 cfs Thursday, thanks largely to the influence of Little Butte and Bear creeks.
The river opens to the harvest of wild steelhead riverwide today, with anglers allowed to keep one wild steelhead per day longer than 24 inches, and no more than five a year.
CHETCO - The river was down to 2,262 cfs Thursday and that has slowed the winter steelhead bite. Fish are well distributed, but anglers need the water to gain a little more color for a good bite to return. Anglers fishing with very small clusters of roe from driftboats are still finding a fish or two a day, but conditions need to improve.
APPLEGATE - Early-run winter steelhead are spread throughout the Applegate, with fishing best now in the upper section of the river rather than on the lower. Flows out of Applegate Lake dropped Thursday as the Army Corps of Engineers started filling the reservoir. Flows at Applegate were less than 700 cfs Thursday and just 949 cfs at Wilderville. Spoons, small clusters of roe, yarn balls and watermelon corkies with worms are all excellent choices. No fishing from a floating device is allowed.
ElK/SIXES - Flows are low and clear but could improve Thursday with rain.
ILLINOIS - Winter steelhead are spread throughout the system, and the bite is starting to drop off as water flows get low and clear. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Anglers fishing above Klondike Creek can keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches long per day and five per year. The mainstem Illinois and its tributaries are closed upstream of Pomeroy Dam.
UMPQUA - Flows in the mainstem Umpqua have increased and were at 9,323 cfs Thursday at Elkton. The South Umpqua was at 4,700 cfs at Roseburg, and flows need to drop for winter steelhead fishing to improve.