COASTWIDE: Stiff winds and big swells are in the offing this weekend, starting today with 10-knot winds and swells up to 14 feet off Southern Oregon beaches. Things don't get much better Saturday with winds up to 25 knots and swells to 13 feet. Sunday looks best, with 15-knot winds and 10-foot swells. A small-craft advisory that was in effect through Thursday evening could be extended.
Rockfish anglers can venture past the 20-fathom line, but there is not much need to because lingcod and rockfish catches have been good close in when anglers can get out. Anglers can keep one cabezon a day as part of their seven-fish aggregate limit. Look for that aggregate limit to change for 2017.
Halibut fishing is over across the Oregon Coast, with 95 percent of the recreational quota taken collectively in the various Oregon fisheries. A few pounds of the quota were left on the table this year because of weather and effort.
The ocean and all coastal bays are closed to crabbing due to elevated domoic acid levels. Razor clamming is also closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid levels. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, but mussels are off limits coastwide because of domoic acid. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake was listed Wednesday at 23 percent full, though there's been little angling interest of late. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch. No trout stockings are planned this year. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK.
APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows has been good when the wind is down. Fish stocked earlier this year are putting on some size. Anglers are catching rainbows up to 18 inches by trolling higher in the water column. Last week's outflows went down dramatically but were walked up a hair Wednesday to 550 cubic feet per second as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reached its regular mid-November level for flood control. Bass fishing has slowed. The Copper, Hart-Tish and French Gulch ramps are usable. While the Hart-Tish ramp remains open, the campground is closed.
DIAMOND: The lake is fishing well between rainstorms. PowerBait and worms are out-fishing trolling, but trollers using small lures such as Triple Teasers are doing well. Rainbows are spread out. The 300,000 fingerlings stocked last spring have reached legal size. All tiger trout must be released.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 20 percent full and the county boat ramp is usable again, but fishing is a bust. Trout and bass are in the deeper sections of what's left of the lake.
FISH: The lake was up to 38 percent full Wednesday and rising, with the water cloudy from algae. Fishing is pretty good for what's left of the 900 trophy trout stocked at the boat ramp in late September. The ramp is usable for most trailered boats. The resort is closed. Watch for stumps in the water. Fish worms under bobbers or use PowerBait. Tiger trout as big as 18 inches have been caught, but they must be released unharmed.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: Fishing is fair to good, but there has been little activity. The resort is closed, but other ramps are open. Holdover trout in the 14- to 19-inch range are being caught by trollers. Morning trolling is best. The lake was stocked last month with 7-inch and 5-inch rainbows that should be 8- to 10-inchers by spring. The lake was listed Wednesday at 48 percent full. Look for snow this weekend.
HYATT: Trout fishing has slowed, and bass fishing has tapered off. The lake is 43 percent full. Expect snow this weekend.
LOST CREEK: The lake has fished very well for rainbows by trolling Wedding Ring lures with small pieces of worm near the dam or upstream of Peyton Bridge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held the releases steady at 1,750 cubic feet per second this week. It was listed Thursday as a hair above the normal low-pool level of 1,812 feet above sea level that is targeted to reach Dec. 1. Trolling is best near the dam. Landlocked salmon have been holding deeper than the trout. Bass fishing is slow.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is fishing fair to good for a mix of rainbows, brown trout and perch near the resort for anglers using worms under bobbers or PowerBait off the bottom. Fishing is best at dawn and dusk.
WILLOW: Trout fishing improved after 450 one-pound trout were released at the county boat ramp late last month. The lake remains low, but fishing is best with worms under bobbers or PowerBait directly out past the ramp.
EXPO: The pond at the amphitheater received about 1,500 one-pound rainbow trout for Free Fishing Weekend that starts today and ends Saturday night. Catch them with bobbers and worms or PowerBait. Access the pond through Gate 1.5 off Peninger Road.
ROGUE: The upper Rogue has been decent for a mix of summer steelhead and coho salmon in both bait and plug waters. The middle Rogue has been spotty for summer steelhead, and the lower Rogue has seen some chinook in the bay around Indian Creek, but not much other action.
However, flows are projected to be up this weekend if the Friday rains materialize, so that makes the best bet the highest up the Rogue you can go. That would be the run from Cole Rivers Hatchery to Casey State Park and perhaps as far down as Elk Creek. That stretch is part of the current bait water open down to the Shady Cove boat ramp. Below that is all artificial lures only.
Upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp is open for all things steelhead, with side-drifting roe most popular and effective since the flies-only season ended Nov. 1. Catches have been best with roe or roe-soaked yarn balls side-drifted from driftboats. Those fishing plugs such as Mag Lip 3.0 or crayfish plugs were also running into some nice steelhead and even some surprisingly bright hatchery coho salmon. Wild coho and chinook must be released unharmed.
Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp is open for artificial lures but not bait. Effort there has been lighter than upstream of Shady Cove, and there definitely are fewer steelhead down lower than higher up. Fishing deeper, somewhat slower runs has been most effective. Fall chinook are no longer spawning, so it's not as simple as fishing below spawners. Plastic egg flies or juiced-up egg balls are also working well for side-drifters.
The issue, however, is flows. Though 1,750 cfs of water was coming out of Lost Creek Lake, rains forecast for Thursday and Friday will see the flows at Dodge Bridge spike from 2,475 cfs Wednesday to more than 4,000 cfs Friday night before dropping a bit. Grants Pass flows are forecast to jump from 3,100 cfs Wednesday to more than 6,500 cfs Friday evening. The flows at Agness were at 10,000 cfs Wednesday and forecast to peak Saturday at 21,000 cfs.
In the middle Rogue, summer steelhead fishing is spotty but best around creek mouths and behind fall chinook redds. Steelhead are still keying on loose eggs floating out of redds, and they are receptive to single-egg fly patterns. Worm fishing with watermelon corkies will work during and right after rain, particularly off creek mouths. Plug fishing is a bit slow, but some nice coho are hitting purple plugs fished far below driftboats in slower, deeper water. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 2,040 cfs Thursday and forecast to bump up Monday and Tuesday before dropping again.