River Outlook

River Outlook

ROGUE — Summer steelhead fishing is starting to ramp up in the upper Rogue while chinook salmon fishing in the lower Rogue remains startlingly slow for chinook and just starting to improve for summer steelhead

That makes the upper Rogue the best bet, with chinook fishing in the morning and summer steelhead fishing in the evenings. Starting with chinook, the only action is for fin-clipped hatchery chinook upstream of the Rogue Elk Boat Ramp. Downstream of the ramp remains closed to all chinook fishing because of a dismal showing of wild spring chinook. Through July 18, only 9,765 chinook have crossed Gold Ray Dam. The Hatchery Hole remains the best game in town for bank anglers working the earliest daylight.

For steelhead, the game is driftboat fishing at dusk. With 1,609 steelhead over Gold Ray Dam, the count is a bit off from recent years. But these fish are often big and aggressive, so low numbers shouldn't deter effort. Through August, they can be caught on flies, roe, sandshrimp, worms, plugs and spoons.

Upper Rogue flows are holding steady thanks to 1,704 cubic feet of water coming out of Lost Creek Lake, but the temperatures have dropped to 49 degrees. The change could harm the steelhead bite until they acclimate.

In the lower Rogue, wild chinook are legal to be part of the daily bag limit, but bay trollers are faring poorly in any of their catches this week. There has been about one fish for every 10 boats earlier this week, and that's discouraging — especially when you take into account the fact that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife seiners caught more than 60 fish in a net Monday for their counting. Those fishing should try anchovies with green-on-green blades in front of them. The in-coming and high-slack tide is best, with the morning tide out-producing the afternoon tide. Wild chinook can be kept from the mouth of Whiskey Creek downstream to the river mouth.

The lower Rogue is improving for summer steelhead and halfpounders, with everything from worms to Panther Martin lures to streamer flies working. Focus on the Lobster Creek to Quosatana Creek stretch. Also, decent numbers of sea-run cutthroat trout remain in the lower stretches just above tidewater.

The middle Rogue remains fair at best for summer steelhead caught in the occasional riffle during evenings fishing with roe, worms or streamer flies. All wild steelhead must be released river-wide.

For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.

UMPQUA — The South Umpqua remains hot for smallmouth bass throughout the system, particularly in the lower section. Spinners and jigs work well all day, while topwater popper flies are dynamite now, especially during dusk. Sturgeon fishing in the estuary is slow, but a few decent green sturgeon have been taken recently in the Big Bend area. Salmon and steelhead fishing has been slow in the North Umpqua. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

COOS — A few striped bass have moved into the estuary, with fishing best after dark.

COQUILLE — Striped bass are available in the Coquille estuary, anglers usually do better fishing after dark. Sand shrimp and large plugs that imitate small fish can be effective with most fishing taking place up to Arago.

Lake Outlook

HOWARD PRAIRIE — Morning fishing for smallmouth bass has been very good in the shallows, the various points and near the dam. Red or green lures are working best. Trout fishing has slowed amid the hot weather, driving fish deep where they are a bit listless at this time of year.

HYATT — Smallmouth are in great numbers around tree snags and in coves along the southwestern end of the lake. Most of the smallmouth are small but they are easy to catch on spinners, worms and flies. Red or green lures work best. Trout fishing remains fair to occasionally good for trollers working the old creek channel at dusk.

LOST CREEK — The public-health advisory for toxic algae has been lifted, and bass fishermen are again hitting the lake in the evenings. The lake has continued to drop a tad faster than expected as a little extra water is getting spilled daily to help late-run spring chinook migrate through the lower Rogue River. The lake is down 28 feet from full. Fishing off points and structure is good with grubs or crankbaits for smallmouth. Trout trollers have slowed down and are fishing deeper now, with the waters near the dam and around the marina good in the morning and evenings.

EMIGRANT — Trout fishing has slowed but bass, crappie and the omnipresent yellow perch are active mornings and evenings around submerged willows and points. Bullhead catfish are around and available for anglers fishing the mud floats around Songer Wayside and in the Emigrant Creek arm. Evenings are best.

A health advisory has been issued about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

APPLEGATE — Smallmouth bass fishing remains quite good in the early mornings and late evenings, with fish congregating around submerged Christmas trees and around rock structures. Red and green baits, along with grubs, are working well for bass. Trolling for trout remains fair to good, with most of the catches coming to anglers slowly trolling lures and worms deep.

Anglers can keep up to five rainbow trout or stocked salmon a day, but only one fish can be more than 20 inches long. Also, no bass between 12 and 15 inches can be kept, and only one bass larger than 15 inches can be kept.

DIAMOND — Trout fishing has tapered a bit but catches remain good for planted trout. Most of the big 5-plus pounders have been caught already, with anglers now focusing more on trout in the 12-18 inch range. The trout are still spread out, with the western side and the mouth of Silent Creek still best. Still-fishing remains good, largely for still-fishermen using chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait colors.

WILLOW — The lake is fishing well for a mix of trout and bass. Bait-fishing with worms is the best way to target both species, with the trout cruising the shallows early in the morning and at dusk. The boat ramp and store are open.

FISH — The lake was stocked last month with legal-sized trout. Trolling or wind-drifting worms has been effective at times, with evenings best.

MEDCO POND — Trout fishing has slowed a bit while bass have become the dominant catch for those casting from shore. Slow trolling in the middle of the lake is best at dusk for trout.

LAKE of the woods — Angling for largemouth bass, crappie, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass and brown trout is fair to good. Angling for yellow perch and kokanee should be good.

SELMAC — Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and bullheads has been good. Trout fishing has slowed because of warm, stagnant summer water conditions.

KLAMATH/ AGENCY LAKES — Fishing for large Klamath trout has been good around the springs around Rocky Point as well as the mouths of the Wood and Williamson rivers. Look for more trout to move into the lower Wood and Williamson rivers as algae levels increase in the main lake.

Ocean Outlook

The ocean outside of Brookings was red-hot for tuna fishing last weekend, with boats finding tuna as close as 8 miles offshore. However, new winds from the north have made the seas too choppy for pleasure boats. The winds could die down as early as Friday or Saturday, but the heavy blow should push the tuna as far as 40 miles offshore. That will mean the Brookings fleet should re-focus on chinook and fin-clipped coho salmon, looking south and out about 5-8 miles for chinook. Rockfish angling remains very good, but the pressure has shifted to tuna.

The ocean off Brookings and Gold Beach is open for chinook salmon and fin-clipped coho, but all wild coho must be released unharmed. The coho remain a bit more spread out than earlier this month. Redfin surfperch fishing is holding on in the Gold Beach area, including the sand spit off the Rogue River mouth. Shrimp flies or clam necks are good initial choices.

Hunting Outlook

JACKSON — Most game bird and big game seasons are closed. An exception is the extended cougar-hunting season, designed to address high levels of damage complaints and damage-related cougar mortality, which is open in portions of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties and along the south coast. Visit the ODFW site via this abbreviated link — tinyurl.com/2bdzdy — for more information, including the latest report on cougar mortalities and any quotas reached.

Watchable Wildlife

SOUTHWEST — California brown pelican numbers are increasing along the coastline and in bays. This is the time of year that non-nesting adults begin to congregate in larger numbers. Information about the species can be found on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Web site via tinyurl.com/ytr3ty, an abbreviated link that will get you to the site.

Bait fish (herring, anchovies and sardines) are appearing close to shore and in bays along Coos and Curry counties. This attracts seabirds like gulls and pelicans that feed on the fish. Watching a group of pelicans dive on a school of bait fish can be spectacular. Good places to see this activity are any of the local bays or various view points along the coast line.

For good wildlife viewing, visit Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area located east of Reedsport on Highway 38 and Bandon National Wildlife Refuge near Bandon. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/ysnl98 online.

Band-tailed pigeons are now appearing in large numbers scattered around the Rogue Valley. They generally feed-noisily-on fruits, nuts and seeds of trees through the summer. They begin nesting early in the summer laying one or two eggs. Once these hatch they initiate another nest and continue this through the summer, sometimes bringing off more than one brood.