COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for 5-knot winds and 9-foot swells through the weekend, so bottomfishing is an option for those with decent sea legs and a Dramamine patch.
Chinook salmon fishing opens Saturday 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 can be somewhat slow.
Near-shore jigging should be very good for lingcod and black rockfish. 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. Anglers are no longer relegated to staying within the 40-fathom line for rockfish.
Clammers will see no minus tides today through the weekend, offering some evening digs amid relatively calm seas.
All shellfish fishing is open along the entire Oregon Coast.
The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed, and chinook salmon fishing is closed coastwide.
COOS BAY - The chinook salmon season opens Saturday. Anglers are likely to stay somewhat close to shore, plying the water anywhere from 50 to 130 feet down. The chinook will be scattered and tough to find in the early season.
Crabbing will improve slightly as salinity levels improve in the bay. Weekend clammers aren't getting any love from the tides, with no minus tides all week.
Jetty fishing will improve now that the bay has settled down some. Fish high slack and low slack tides for best results.
BROOKINGS - 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. The Chetco River was running over 4,500 cubic feet per second Thursday and dropping, keeping estuary action slow.
GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing is starting to improve.
AGATE - The lake is up to 92 percent full and still fairly turbid. Warming waters should get the crappie, bass and bluegill active around submerged willows and along the dam. Fish worms or small spinners. As the clarity improves, try wind-drifting for holdover trout with worms. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - The lake has risen dramatically in the past week and is now 35 feet from full and 7 feet above the normal filling curve for mid-March. The French Gulch low-water boat ramp is open, inviting trout trollers and bass anglers to the lake. Trolling for trout has been very good for those dragging Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm. Bass fishing should improve now that the water levels are higher and the water warmer.
DIAMOND - The ice is breaking up around the edges and getting soft. Resort managers are recommending that people stay off of it. Based on recent weather patterns, open water could be about a month away. Most of the rainbows are 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 half full and the water is warming. The water has good color to it now. Trout fishing will remain slow until spring stocking, but some holdover trout are hanging out near creek mouths. 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 rise.
EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout has been slow. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies.
FISH - The lake is melting rapidly, and fishing is good for trout and chinook salmon in open water near the resort and near the Forest Service 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 closed.
LOST CREEK - Inflows into the reservoir were way up and that has pushed the lake's elevation to less than 10 feet short of full. The outflows were up to 3,800 cfs most of this week, but the lake's water clarity looks good for fishing. Most of the action is along the face of the dam. Anglers say there has been good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam, with the fish anywhere from 30 to 50 feet down. Flashers help. Bass fishing should pick up as warmer days start warming the reservoir.
LAKE of the WOODS - The ice is unsafe for fishing.
WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing, but it's getting little use. The reservoir was listed Thursday at 77 percent full. Troll Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers for trout or wind-drift worms in the afternoon.
ROGUE - With water levels high and the prospects of excellent winter steelhead fishing riverwide, this week's best bet is to fish the closest stretch of the Rogue available, and that's rare.
In the upper Rogue, water flows continue to be high but with a nice green color at least down to Little Butte Creek. Most of the action has been higher in the river. Bank fishermen are casting watermelon corkies and worms or Spin Glo's and yarn balls for winter steelhead, focusing on deeper, slower water, such as at the New Bridge Hole. Some anglers were working the lower end of the Hatchery Hole for steelhead, with a few even targeting spring chinook salmon.
No spring chinook have been captured at Cole Rivers Hatchery so far this year, but the first one could show up in the next week thanks to water conditions that are very friendly for migration.
Driftboaters are side-drifting large corkies and scented yarn, working the banks as well as the inside lanes on gravel bars, where steelhead do most of their migration. Some driftboaters are hunkering down at good high-water spots, anchoring and setting out plugs to intercept the winter steelhead as they come over breaks.
The Corps of Engineers is releasing 3,800 cfs of clean water, and that's keeping conditions fishable. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a hefty 5,420 cfs Thursday, with flows up above 6,000 cfs at Gold Ray. A few side-planers are working the water upstream of the old dam site on both sides of the river.
Another 75 winter steelhead reached Cole Rivers Hatchery over the past week, bumping the early run numbers to 357 fish. That's the second-highest early run total to date in the past decade. A few of those fish have been getting caught, but anglers primarily have been running into spawned-out summer steelhead heading back downstream.
These wild fish should be released unharmed. Their meat isn't edible.
Flows in the Grants Pass area were still high Thursday at 7,620 cfs, but they were pulling into shape for what could be a very good weekend there from driftboats or the bank. The water turbidity Thursday was 15 NTUs, borderline dirty for most anglers. Look for that to drop under 13 for excellent conditions this weekend. Side-planing should be good today at Griffin Park and Rainbow, among other standard hotspots.
Focus on about 2 feet of water at first, then work out a little as the day progresses.
Anglers can keep one wild steelhead 24 inches or longer per day as part of their two-fish daily limit.
In the lower Rogue, winter steelhead fishing kicked into gear Thursday as the river finally slowed down a tad and started to clear enough for bank and boat fishing. Bankies were plunking large Spin Glo's and doing well at all their normal haunts, including Huntley Park and Dunkelberger Bar, while driftboaters hit fresh winter steelhead primarily with plugs.
Steelhead up to 12 pounds have been caught recently, but most are running 6 to 8 pounds. Spring chinook salmon fishing slowed when the water got big, but look for another flurry of catches of fresh springers this weekend.
CHETCO - The river was high Thursday at 4,500 cfs but it was dropping to where it could be decent today and very good for winter steelhead through the weekend. Side-drifting roe or corkies will out-perform plug anglers, but the steelhead are dispersed throughout the system.
APPLEGATE - Releases out of Applegate Lake were upped to 500 cfs this week, making the river high but fishable in slower tailouts and glides. Flows at Applegate were 713 cfs and just under 1,000 cfs at Wilderville. Go high in the system, because the winter steelhead are well spread out. There is no angling from a boat, and all wild steelhead must be released.