ROGUE — Fall chinook fishing has stayed steady but still somewhat slow in the middle Rogue, while the lower Rogue bay has started to sport a mix of coho and fall chinook despite a light showing of anglers. The Agness area is a mix of a few fall chinook and summer steelhead as decent numbers of fresh steelhead are moving in and the upper Rogue still a little slow for summer steelhead during the flies-only season.
That makes the best bet the lower Rogue for one more weekend, for no other reason than what could be. About 50 boats are plying the bay daily, catching about 35 chinook a day and a handful of coho. The coho showed up Tuesday, and they could get thick any day now. Trolling anchovies with a brass blade has been popular on overcast days, while the green blade remains the top choice on sunny days.
No chinook bound for the Indian Creek Hatchery on the lower Rogue have shown up yet.
The middle Rogue has been rather sluggish for fall chinook, but the fish seem to be moving in late this year. Boat anglers are using Kwikfish wrapped with sardines to target chinook, with bait fishing so far a distant second. Chinook have been moving and holding throughout the area. Taylor Creek Canyon and Indian Mary Park are popular spots now, as is Griffin Park and Finley Bend. Bank anglers are finding a few chinook at Finley Bend as well.
In the Agness area, catches remain slow for a mix of summer steelhead, fall chinook and halfpounders. Fall chinook are starting to move through the lower Rogue into the Agness area in bigger schools now. Fishing for fin-clipped coho remains slow.
The upper Rogue has been in its flies-only season since Sept. 1, to little fan-fare. There are 3,788 summer steelhead across Gold Ray Dam as of Sept. 15. That's less than a dozen fish a day at times, certainly not worth a vacation day. Swinging flies is quickly falling out of favor because water released from Lost Creek Lake is down to 52 degrees from 53.5 degrees next week. That slows the fish down and leaves them less likely to rise to a streamer or a skated fly. Start thinking nymphing with Ugly Bugs and Prince Nymph or single salmon-egg flies as point flies.
Water releases from Lost Creek Lake have dropped about 300 cubic feet per second over the past week to 1,528 cfs.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed river-wide.
The entire upper Rogue upstream of Gold Ray Dam remains closed to chinook fishing through October.
For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.
UMPQUA — Fall chinook fishing remains slow throughout the main-stem river, with the chinook well spread out. Smallmouth fishing remains very good in the South Umpqua, but look for catches to taper off as cooler nights are putting a little chill on the river. Rubber worms, crayfish plugs and crayfish-like flies all working best.
The North Umpqua has remained fair for summer steelhead, which are spread out throughout the bait and flies-only waters. Fall chinook are appearing over Winchester Dam, but fish numbers remain low.
COOS — A few striped bass remain in the estuary, with fishing best after dark.
ILLINOIS — Summer steelhead and halfpounders have dropped down into the lower section of the river. Catch them on spinners and flies.
COQUILLE — Fall chinook fishing remains good for trollers working large spinners or large herring around the Rock Point boat ramp. area. Striped bass are available in the Coquille estuary where anglers usually do better after dark. Sand shrimp and large plugs that imitate small fish can be effective with most fishing taking place up to Arago. The dike at Johnson Mill Pond can be a good place to catch stripers. Searun cutthroat trout have entered the basin, and should be in upper tidewater at this time. Purple lures and flies are a favorite for searuns.
HOWARD PRAIRIE — Cooler weather has brought the combination fishing trips back to Howard Prairie. Mornings and evenings are best trolling for trout near the jetty or around Doe Point, while mid-day hours are good for smallmouth bass around any underwater structure.
HYATT — Smallmouth remain an active presence 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 hold-over trout.
LOST CREEK — The public-health advisory for toxic algae has been lifted. The lake is fishing still fishing well for smallmouth bass, especially in the evenings. The lake is down to about 55 feet from full. Trout are thick upstream of Peyton Bridge, and they can be caught wind-drifting night crawlers off the bottom. Trolling for trout near the dam and around the marina cove also is good in the evenings.
EMIGRANT — The lake continues to provide a mixed-bag of good fishing for bass, trout and panfish. Fishing is best in the mornings and evenings, and anglers can do well for largemouth on buzz baits around submerged willows. Also, some anglers have reported good catches of topwater lures around dusk, but use crankbaits and spinnerbaits in deep water during the day.
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 mornings and evenings continuing to provide the best fishing. Find sunken or overhanging trees to catch fish on Sinkos and small jigs. Pressure at Applegate has been light. 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 picked up this week with the fresh stocking of 8,000 rainbow trout. The fingerlings stocked earlier this year are reaching 12 inches, and anglers are reporting that these trout are spread out across the lake. Still-fishing with PowerBait is best, while wind-drifting worms off the bottom also is good.
WILLOW — The lake is fishing good enough on 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 netted for tui chubs this week and fishing activity has been light.
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.
KLAMATH/ AGENCY LAKES — Angling for wild redband trout has been good. Redband trout are beginning to move out of the spring areas as water quality improves in Upper Klamath Lake. Flyfishing and lure fishing can be productive as redband trout begin to feed actively on minnows. Expect to fish about 10 hours for one trout.
The ocean outside of Brookings has been kicking up this week and marine forecasters are expecting heavy winds and rough surf possibly through the weekend. Salmon seasons are closed until a near-shore chinook fishery opens off the mouth of the Chetco Oct. 1-14.
JACKSON — Bow hunting should improve with the down-turn in recent weather that has taken a little of the crunch out of the forest. Elk hunters remain at high-elevation areas, mainly in search of wallows and timber stands on north-facing slopes. Deer numbers are scattered.
Grouse and quail hunters are back to the woods. Hunters can expect to encounter a few more blue grouse this year, and ruffed grouse production is also up this year throughout western Oregon.
Surveys also indicate mountain quail and California quail populations are also higher this year. Mourning dove numbers appear slightly down from last year but are still above the recent five-year average.
DOUGLAS — Black-tailed deer populations are similar to last year, with low levels at higher elevations and higher population levels on the Umpqua Valley floor. Most low-elevation lands are privately owned so hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on those lands.
CURRY — Early season bear hunting is best around orchards and berry patches where 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 are very visible along the coastline and in bays. Many of these birds can be seen in local bays diving on bait fish. Information about brown pelicans can be found on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Web site, www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/Data/BrownPelican/default.asp.
JACKSON — Sunflower fields are in full growth at the Denman Wildlife Area in White City. They are bringing in large flocks of songbirds that are visible in the morning and evening. Young ospreys have fledged and are easily viewed over Whetstone Pond. Songbirds and raptors are beginning to show up in the area and should increase in abundance into September. The area provides a covered viewing station with a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. For more information, visit the wildlife area's Web page at www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlifearea/denman.htm. Nearby, both Lower and Upper Table Rocks have trail systems on them that provide great opportunities to see raptors and buzzards flying high in the skies. Watch for a wide variety of reptiles along the path. Table Rocks are north of Medford and just south of Highway 234.