ROGUE — Fall chinook fishing has finally started to turn on in the middle Rogue, while the lower Rogue bay is starting to see the first coho of the season and upper Rogue anglers are still chasing early-run summer steelhead with everything in their tackle boxes.
But the best bet now is the middle Rogue, where anglers last weekend started to find fall chinook spread out in Grants Pass and haunts downstream. Boat anglers are using Kwikfish wrapped with sardines to target chinook, with bait fishing so far a distant second. Chinook have been kegged up at Rainie Falls in recent weeks, but they're moving more now. Taylor Creek Canyon and Indian Mary Park are popular spots now, as is Griffin Park and Finley Bend.
In the lower Rogue, chinook fishing remains a bit slow but is improving slightly in the bay and in freshwater downstream of Agness. A few hatchery and wild cohos have showed up in the past week, improving the overall catch. Trolling anchovies with green blades remains the best offering of the season. Summer steelhead and halfpounder catches remain slow, but the steelhead that have shown up are big and bright — more like late June steelhead than late August steelhead for the lower Rogue.
The upper Rogue has 3,005 summer steelhead as of Aug. 15. That's not a great number for this time of year, but the fish are big and hot. Swinging flies remains good, although flows out of Lost Creek Lake have inched down a bit to 1,785 cubic feet per second. But the 56-degree water coming out of the reservoir is perfect to keep steelhead active and more than willing to move to a fly, worm or plug.
Roe, worms, yarn flies, plugs, Panther Martin spinners and even pink rubber worms all work for early-run summer steelhead, which are among the most aggressive biters in the Rogue. However, bait will bring lots of attention from smolts now moving through the upper Rogue, and their perpetual pecking at your baits can get irritating.
The entire upper Rogue remains closed to chinook fishing through October.
For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.
UMPQUA — The North Umpqua has improved for summer steelhead fishing amid overcast conditions. Fish numbers remain low, but the summer steelhead are starting to spread themselves out. The South Umpqua remains hot for smallmouth bass throughout the system, particularly in the lower section. Top-water baits are all right at dusk, with jigs and small spinners working well all day. 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.
COOS — A few striped bass have moved into the estuary, with fishing best after dark.
ILLINOIS — Summer steelhead and halfpounders have moved into the lower eight miles of the river in search of cooler water. Catch them on spinners and flies.
COQUILLE — Early fall chinook fishing has picked up for those trolling large spinners in the lower river. Striped bass are getting caught at nights with sandshrimp or large plugs that look like small trout or salmon smolts.
HOWARD PRAIRIE — Morning and evening 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 picked up a bit as cooler weather is starting to pull the trout out of their mid-summer doldrums. Trolling for trout at dusk is best.
HYATT — Smallmouth are in great numbers around tree snags and in coves along the southwestern end of the lake. Trout fishing is starting to improve again, with slow trolling of Triple Teasers at dusk leading to decent catches of larger holdover trout.
LOST CREEK — The public health advisory for toxic algae has been lifted. The lake is fishing very well in the evenings for smallmouth bass, which are in coves, off points and around shallow rock structures throughout the open lake. Plugs and rubber worms are working equally well. Anywhere upstream of Peyton Bridge also has worked well for bass.
The lake has dropped to 39 feet from full, but the 1,166 cubic feet of water flowing into the lake is good for this time of year.
Trolling for trout remains best in the early morning and at dusk. Focus either near the dam or far upstream of Peyton Bridge, where the cooler inflows have attracted the trout.
EMIGRANT — Buzz baits cast around underwater structures like rock points and willows has produced good bass catches recently. Trout fishing has slowed amid warm and turbid waters. Perch catches remain high, and crappie fishing is slow for those casting jigs under bobbers.
A health advisory has been issued about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
APPLEGATE — Bass fishing remains good in the early mornings and late evenings, with fish congregating around submerged Christmas trees and around rock structures. Sinkos and grubs have been best. 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 remains best now at the south end, with still-fishing best with worms or PowerBait. Fresh trout will be stocked in early fall. Until then, trolling with small spinners in the evening remains a decent bet for the remaining large trout stocked this spring.
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 again recently with legal-sized rainbow trout, so fishing around the Forest Service boat ramp near the resort should be very good with worms, small lures and flies.
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.
AGATE — Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie has been good, particularly near the willows.
KLAMATH/AGENCY LAKES — Fishing for large Klamath trout has been good around the springs at Rocky Point as well as the mouths of the Wood and Williamson rivers. Look for more trout to move into the lower sections of both rivers as algae levels increase in the main lake.
The ocean outside of Brookings turned sour this week because of windy weather, pushing the tuna further offshore and keeping most of the recreational fleet in port this week. Before the winds, a combination of chinook, coho and tuna were caught with decent regularity. Wait for the winds to die down before heading offshore. Redfin surfperch fishing is still holding on around the mouth of the Rogue and at the sand spit right at the river mouth. Shrimp flies or clam necks are good initial choices.
The ocean is open for chinook salmon and fin-clipped coho, but all wild coho must be released unharmed.
JACKSON — Bow season begins Saturday for blacktail bucks and bull elk, and cool weather this week could improve stalking conditions. Most of the animals remain at high elevations, except for deer hovering around the outskirts of most small towns.
Early season bear hunting is best around the orchards and berry patches that bears frequent at this time of year. Bears are more concentrated at higher elevations, but they are highly mobile in search of food.
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 and Wildlife Service Web site athttp://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/Data/BrownPelican/default.asp
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 viewpoints 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 http://www.co.douglas.or.us/countyinfo/elk.html.
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, the parents initiate another nest and continue this through the summer, sometimes bringing off more than one brood.