COASTWIDE: Ocean conditions are much better than they've been most weekends so far this spring. Winds are forecast to be 10 knots today with 7- to 8-foot swells, followed Saturday by 10-knot winds and 5- to 6-foot swells. Sunday is forecast for 5-knot winds and wind waves up to 3 feet.
Good lingcod catches have occurred recently out of Brookings when the weather has allowed. Black and blue rockfish catches have been good to very good.
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.
Rockfish anglers must carry at least one descending device and use it when releasing any fish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper, but that currently does not effect rockfish anglers, who must stay inside the 30-fathom line.
Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast. Bay crabbing has been poor because of heavy freshwater flows. Ocean crabbers are averaging just under three crabs per day.
Razor clamming is closed along the entire coast because of domoic acid. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are closed south of Cape Arago near Charleston. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake was listed as full Thursday. Spring fishing has been pretty good for crappie, yellow perch and the occasional bass. A carp was caught revently, indicating yet another illegally stocked fish in the lake. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows will pick up next week when 10,000 legal-sized rainbows and 800 trophy trout will be stocked, split evenly between the Hart-Tish Park and the Copper ramps. The lake's water level was up to 1,969 feet above sea level, putting it 18 feet from full. Bank fishing with worms under bobbers near the release sites will be a good idea. Trollers might try a Wedding Ring lure spiced with half a worm. Fishing off the bank higher up in the reservoir has been good at times for those using PowerBait or worms under bobbers with varying leader lengths. The French Gulch ramp also is open.
DIAMOND: The ice is melting rather rapidly amid rain and warm weather, so it's not an ideal destination this weekend. When decent pieces of open water show, fish PowerBait or worms for trout cruising the shallows in search of warmer water and bugs.
EMIGRANT: Another 1,000 legal-sized rainbows were released last week at the county boat ramp to go along with the 1,000 legals released there a month ago. That's brought some interest from trollers and bank anglers. The lake was listed Thursday at 97 percent full. Spring bass fishing is picking up for those casting plastic worms or slowly worked crankbaits in the shallower water around willows and other structure.
FISH: The lake was up a hair this week to 64 percent full, and most of the ice has melted off. Catches from shore have been mostly holdover rainbows and the rare tiger trout. Tigers must be released unharmed. Worms and PowerBait have been the best baits.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The ice melted off three weeks ago, and the Willow Point boat ramp is open for early-season anglers, some of whom have been catching some large, over-wintering rainbows by slowly trolling Tasmanian Devils and other lures. Some big rainbows were also caught the past few days by bank anglers fishing with PowerBait. The lake was listed Wednesday at 97 percent full.
HYATT: Ice is starting to melt and break up quickly, yet most anglers are staying away in favor of Howard Prairie because there are more holdover trout there. The lake is 63 percent full.
LOST CREEK: The lake got about 11,600 rainbow trout Thursday at the Takelma ramp, and 3,600 legals are scheduled to be stocked next week at the marina ramp. Also, 800 trophy trout will be split next week between the Takelma and marina ramps. The first 20,000 legal-sized rainbows of the year were released two weeks ago, split between the marina and Takelma boat ramps. Outflows dropped to 3,100 cfs earlier this week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grapples with inflows of close to that amount. That has pushed anglers back down to the dam area, where trolling has been decent with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice-fishing conditions are sketchy at best as rain and warm weather have warmed the lake.
WILLOW: The lake got 4,000 legal-sized rainbows two weeks ago at the county boat ramp. Catch them early on PowerBait or worms near the ramp before they disperse.
EXPO: The pond received 1,500 legal-sized trout last week to go with the same number released last month. That has anglers interested in the new-look Expo Pond. Fishing is best with worms and bobbers or Panther Martin lures. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. A $4 day-use or $30 year-long parking fees are now in effect.
ROGUE: Water flows continue to fluctuate river-wide, but steelhead fishing has improved in the middle and upper Rogue, while anglers are catching more early spring chinook in the lower Rogue. That makes the middle Rogue the best bet this weekend, largely because a large slug of late-run winter steelhead showed up amid improved fishing conditions this week.
Winter steelhead were caught Wednesday by driftboaters and side-planers from Rogue River all the way to Robertson Bridge near Merlin. Driftboaters were hitting them on Mag Lip plugs, and side-drifters did well with watermelon corkies and worms. Flows at Grants Pass were up to 5,680 cfs Thursday afternoon, and they are forecast to go up to 6,400 cfs today before falling to 5,300 cfs by Sunday. That makes Saturday and Sunday good bets.
In the upper Rogue, the Corps of Engineers has kept the outflows from Lost Creek Lake steady at 3,100 cfs, so the flows have good clarity and are providing good migration conditions for winter steelhead that are on the move. Cole Rivers Hatchery technicians counted 291 new winter steelhead Wednesday in the hatchery trap, one short of what they collected last week. That kicks the count to date to 1,420 steelhead there, down 300 fish from the 10-year average of 1,719 steelhead to the hatchery by now.
Flows Thursday were bouncing around amid the rains, and the flow of 3,800 cfs at Dodge Bridge was the most fishing-friendly in several weeks. It's forecast to go up today to about 4,300 cfs, then fall through the weekend. That's perfect for winter steelheaders who escape Easter obligations. As the water drops, fish inside turns on gravel bars for migrating winter steelhead with yarn balls, eggs and plugs.
Still no springers have been reported in the upper Rogue, though there is an unconfirmed rumor of one caught at the Hatchery Hole. Also, none have been found in the hatchery trap. Also no summer steelhead.
In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing conditions have improved, and anglers are catching fish daily, primarily on cut-plug herring. Some are using anchovies. Most of the action is in the water just upstream of tidewater. Flows at Agness were about 11,200 cfs Thursday and forecast to drop gradually through the weekend.
Surfperch fishing off the Rogue sand spit has been great with Berkley Gulp sandshrimp.
APPLEGATE: The river is closed to all angling.
CHETCO: The river is closed to all angling.