COASTWIDE: This will be another weekend when it's better to be looking at the roaring surf instead of playing in it. Today's forecast calls for 15-knot winds and 12-foot swells, followed by 10-knot winds and seven-foot swells Saturday and Sunday.
Rockfish anglers have new bag limits for 2017. Canary rockfish are part of the seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish as part of that seven-fish aggregate limit. Also, there's a new, combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are off-limits to anglers.
Rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device and use it when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper to increase survival rates for released fish in deep water. Anglers can venture past the 20-fathom line.
Domoic acid continues to impact Dungeness crabs, triggering a closure from Coos Bay's north jetty north to Heceta Head. That closure is indefinite and includes Winchester Bay. However, Coos Bay and the ocean and bays south to the California line remain open, as are the bays and ocean north of Heceta Head.
Razor clamming remains closed along the coast because of domoic acid, as well. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are open coastwide. No minus tides are predicted this week. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake was listed Thursday at 96 percent full. There has been little angling interest of late, and water turbidity is poor. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows likely will slow again next week as another storm front moves in and starts moving water levels up and down. Inflows were more than 7,200 cfs and rising Thursday. The lake surface level was right at 1,926 feet above sea level Thursday, up 26 feet in a week. Later next week, those who go can look for some decent trolling for trout with Wedding Ring lures spiced with half a worm. The French Gulch ramp is the only usable ramp at the lake.
DIAMOND: The ice is about six inches thick, and ice fishing has been good for rainbows with worms or PowerBait. Vary your depths. Anglers using portable fish-finders are marking good numbers of trout. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 67 percent full, and the county boat ramp is usable again, but fishing is very slow amid cold and very turbid water.
FISH: The lake was holding steady at 51 percent full Thursday, and ice fishing has been very good for a mix of rainbows and tiger trout. Tigers must be released unharmed. A mix of worms, PowerBait and ice flies have been good.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The water is freezing, but the ice is not thick enough for ice fishing. When it is, holdover trout are in the 14- to 19-inch range. The lake was listed Wednesday at 53 percent full.
HYATT: Ice is forming, but anglers are still staying away. The lake is 57 percent full.
LOST CREEK: Rapidly increasing inflows hit the reservoir Thursday, and that will disrupt trout fishing into the weekend. Inflows were up to 4,900 cfs and rising. Look for catches to remain best for those trolling near the dam. Upstream of Peyton Bridge likely will be somewhat turbid in the coming days. The outflows were up to 3,100 cfs and likely to rise more early next week. The lake was listed Thursday at 1,833 feet above sea level, which up about 80 feet in the past week. Midwinter is often a good time for trolling near the dam with a red or green Wedding Ring lure with a worm. Warmer days are best. Fishing above Peyton Bridge should improve daily until the next rains come.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice-fishing conditions are excellent, and anglers primarily are catching perch with worms near the resort. Few trout or kokanee have showed up in the catch. For them, try deeper water. The resort is open on weekends.
WILLOW: Trout fishing has been a bust lately because anglers are staying away and waiting for ice to develop.
EXPO: The pond at the amphitheater still has some of the 1,500 one-pound trout stocked at Thanksgiving. Catch them with bobbers and worms or PowerBait. Access the pond through Gate 1.5 off Peninger Road. No boats or float tubes are allowed.
ROGUE: The Rogue was up and out of shape everywhere but the Hatchery Hole as another rain-on-snow event has mucked up the river in the midst of the winter steelhead season.
Too bad, because the winter steelhead are river-wide and fishing would be good in all sections of the Rogue.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were at 6,137 cfs and rising Friday, but forecasts are for it to drop quickly, and it likely will be fishable by Sunday. The wildcard is how much water the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases from Lost Creek Lake in the post-storm drafting of the reservoir down to its normal level for this time.
Twenty-two more winter steelhead were counted Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery this week. Flows at the former Gold Ray dam site were at 7,500 cfs and rising Thursday, with forecasts likely making it fishable there Monday. The caveat will be how dirty Bear Creek flows remain. Fishing might be out below Bear Creek until Tuesday.
Flows at Grants Pass Thursday were at 12,670 cfs, and rising. Flows are forecast to drop into fishable shape Monday or Tuesday. When it does, conditions should be good for plunkers and side-drifters once the turbidity drops below 14 NTUs. Catches have been decent this season for a mix of smallish adult steelhead and halfpounders for boaters and bankies fishing with Mag Lip 3.5 and 3.0 lures in gold and black or pink and blue.
In the lower Rogue, plunkers and side-planers were out of business again as flows at Agness were at 41,000 cfs and rising Thursday. Flows are expected to peak this afternoon about a foot above flood stage, which has been pretty common all winter. Conditions should be OK for plunkers next Wednesday for winter steelhead on plugs or No. 4-sized Spin-Glo's.
APPLEGATE: The river is open for steelhead fishing, but conditions were blown river-wide Thursday. Flows out of the dam were up to 2,500 cfs Thursday, and that is far too much for winter steelhead fishing. When it drops, look for winter steelhead river-wide. Casting spoons or spinners for steelhead will be best, along with worms and watermelon corkies. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.
CHETCO: The river was flowing at 31,000 cfs and way out of shape Thursday for winter steelhead fishing. It might start fishing Monday, depending on how much more rain comes and whether slides cause undue turbidity to the river.
ELK: Flows were at more than 11 feet at the hatchery Thursday, meaning the river might fish for winter steelhead Sunday.