Fishing & Hunting Report
River Outlook ROGUE ' Fall chinook salmon fishing has picked up in the middle Rogue, while steelhead fishing has been sporadic for both boat and bank anglers in the upper Rogue. The lower Rogue, however, is starting to take off for big fall chinook headed into the bay, but spates of windy weather have blown boats off the river as recently as Wednesday.
The best bet this week is the lower Rogue, where now is the time to start stalking a 50-pound chinook. Several fish in the 50-64 pound range have been caught and verified recently, either by trollers in the bay or anglers fishing in the few miles just upstream of tidewater. Trolling anchovies and spinners for chinook has been very good for most of the past week, with good catches Tuesday. The high slack tide and the start of the outgoing tide is best, and reports of large chinook schools moving through the area are common. As many as 200 boats are congregating in the bay. Friday's morning high tide is 9 a.m., so look for a great morning bite if the winds stay away.
Fly-fishermen are congregating heavily at lower river spots like Clay Banks in search of another fly-fishing record like last year. Bank angling just downstream of Clay Banks has been very good for those casting corkies and yarn.
In the middle Rogue, fall chinook catches are starting to heat up for boat and bank anglers from Pierce Riffle near Rogue River downstream toward the Grants Pass area. Kwikfish are working best, but anglers fishing roe with divers also are doing well. Hydrilla continues to plague fishing opportunities, and you need to keep an eye on your lures to ensure they are grass-free.
In the upper Rogue, summer steelhead fishing with flies is the only game in town. The early run is strong, with 7,116 steelhead counted over Gold Ray Dam by Aug. 11, which is the last count available from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The bite has been surprisingly slow in some sections of the upper Rogue, with the current flies-only season started Monday and runs through Oct. 31.
— For upper Rogue fly-fishermen, swinging streamers with floating line or sink-tip line is as good now as it will be this year. With 1,900 cubic feet per second of 54-degree water released now from Lost Creek Lake, the steelhead are moving and aggressive in the riffles. Sometimes, though, they can be tough to find. Evenings are best, but some dawn fishing in shallow water is good as well. More catches are occurring downstream of Shady Cove than upstream.
Bank angling for summer steelhead is hit-and-miss now at the Hatchery Hole, where some days are good at dusk and some very slow. Pressure is light now that chinook fishing is banned upstream of Gold Ray Dam.
For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.
Anglers can no longer keep any wild steelhead as part of their two-fish bag limit. Wild spring chinook, however, are legal to keep as part of the two-fish limit.
APPLEGATE RIVER '
Angling for resident rainbow trout and large juvenile steelhead has slowed as most of the juveniles have moved to the lower end of the river or dropped into the main-stem Rogue. Water releases are holding steady at 270 cubic feet per second.
The river is open to angling downstream of the deadline below Applegate Dam. The limit is two adipose fin-clipped trout per day, 8 inch minimum length may be kept downstream from the Applegate Dam. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout and steelhead caught downstream of the dam must be released unharmed.
UMPQUA ' Continued hot weather has warmed the Umpqua and caused a slow-down in summer steelhead activity. The North Umpqua remains slow for steelhead anglers in the flies-only and bait sections.
In the South Umpqua, smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent, with surface lures or flies working very well. Also, smallmouth fishing remains very good in the upper end of the main-stem Umpqua.
WOOD/WILLIAMSON ' Trout fishing has been good in both streams for fly-fishermen, with good catches of large rainbows in the lower Wood and good brown trout angling in the upper Williamson. Access is limited.
Lake Outlook HOWARD PRAIRIE ' The fingerling trout planted in May are now about 6 inches long and are very aggressive eaters as they look to put on weight for the winter. That is allowing anglers to catch a couple dozen of these a day, but they all must be released unharmed until they are at least 8 inches long. But anglers are targeting them for catch-and-release fishing by using barbless hooks on flies and lures.
Those targeting the larger rainbows are bait-fishing in 30-35 feet of water, while trollers are working the waters 25 feet down with large-hooked lures to keep the smaller trout away.
For still fishing, think chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait with glitter, and for trolling use a Tasmanian Devil of at least 7 grams.
The lake was 54 percent full Wednesday, meaning it has barely dropped in the past week.
Fly fishing remains slow. Dusk is best with Brown Baileys and brown woolly buggers the best bet.
Excellent bass fishing continues, with plenty of fish around — pounds getting caught. The resort jetty and in front of the dam continue to be the best places. Flipping jigs and casting Panther Martins or Rooster Tails works.
The limit is five trout over 8 inches a day, with only one of them allowed to be more than 20 inches.
HYATT ' The lake is down to almost half-full and the water column is starting to turn over, which has allowed weeds and debris to surface in the churning water. That makes trolling a frustrating endeavor, so trout anglers need to anchor and fish bait off the bottom. Catches are best at dawn and dusk by anglers using rainbow PowerBait in about 18 feet of water off the weed lines.
Bass fishing remains very good with plastic worms or grubs right along the weed lines and lily pads.
Fly-fishermen using dragonfly nymphs and woolly buggers also are catching a few trout in the evenings near the dam. But the moss and weeds that hamper trollers are also hurting fly-fishers.
The limit remains five trout more than 8 inches long, with only one of them allowed to be more than 20 inches long.
DIAMOND ' Trout fishing has remained good at the lake's south end for the 2,500 trophy trout planted in the lake last week as well as hold-overs from earlier plants. A 5-pounder was caught recently at the south end, and most anglers are using Chartreuse PowerBait in about 8 feet of water just off the weed lines. Trolling was fair to good over the weekend, with flashers and a worm as well as Needlefish and silver-bodied Rapalas the top choices.
The limit remains five trout more than 8 inches long, with only one of them allowed to be more than 20 inches long. No swimming, wading or water-quality contact restrictions are in place.
LOST CREEK '
Trollers working the Takelma Ramp area near the face of the dam are doing fair to good for trout when using worms and Wedding Rings at varying depths, often starting about 15 feet down and working lower each pass. Troll slowly.
The lake continues to drop quickly and is now more than 50 feet from full. But the lake actually remains 67 percent full, so there is plenty of water to recreate.
Despite hot weather, the lake's surface temperature remains at 72 degrees, which has kept the trout looking for cool-water pockets.
Trout fishing upstream of Peyton Bridge is fair to good, with anchoring near creek mouths and fishing worms, or wind-drifting worms, both good choices.
The daily limit is five trout at least 8 inches long, but only one trout over 20 inches. For bass, the limit is five a day with no more than three over 15 inches long, but most bass fishing is catch and release. Angling is open year-round.
APPLEGATE ' Fishing for rainbow trout and stocked coho has tapered off amid hot weather conditions. Trollers are doing best for coho off points and in deeper sections of the lake. When you hit one, work that water heavily because these fish tend to school in good numbers. Worms and Wedding Rings are good first choices.
For bass angling, smallmouth are biting well near the dam's face on anything from slowly retrieved worms to crankbaits, spoons and even bright streamer flies.
EMIGRANT ' Catches of perch, bluegill and crappie are very good in areas with clear water and underwater structure like willows. Catfish fishing at night has been good at the lake's west end with most kinds of bait left on the lake bottom. Trout fishing has slowed now that the hot weather and dropping lake level has sent the trout scurrying for deep holes or near creek mouths. Worms or Velveeta cheese remain good first choices.
The lake has continued to drop and was 40 percent full Wednesday, and the far upper end is muddy and poor for trout fishing.
KLAMATH/AGENCY ' Fishing for rainbows near the springs has been good for fly-fishers and early-morning trollers. Large trout also are congregating around the mouths of the Wood and Williamson rivers, and they can be caught on flies and lures.
LAKE of the WOODS '
Evening fishing for brown trout is good for those trolling lures or worms in deep water. Rainbow trout angling is fair to good in mornings and evenings.
The lake is open to night fishing as a way to target the brown trout.
WILLOW LAKE ' Bass fishing is good and trout fishing is fair to good near the weed lines. The campground, cabins and ramp at the Willow Lake Resort are open, but the restaurant remains closed.
Ocean Outlook Chinook salmon fishing remains good out of Brookings when the weather allows boats to get out, and recent catches have been about 11-12 miles offshore. However, persistent winds have caused anglers to stay in port often or shorten angling days to just a few hours after daylight. On Wednesday, a quickly developing storm thrust 35-knot winds that caused the Coast Guard to patrol the Brookings harbor as pleasure boats rushed for safe haven, and no problems were reported.
The chinook season for Southern Oregon is open daily and runs to Sept. 14, with a two-chinook daily limit and no weekly limit or mid-season closures. All wild and hatchery coho salmon must be released unharmed.
Hunting Outlook ROGUE ' Bow hunters have had poor early-season success amid hot and dry weather. Look for deer and elk at high elevations, particularly on north slopes near tree plantations and water sources.
Good hunting for quail is expected after a good hatch of upland game birds this year. The season opened Monday.
The September goose season opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 12 in Jackson and Josephine counties. Look for excellent opportunities along the Rogue River, but remember to keep away from houses and other boaters. Private ponds across both counties also sport excellent September goose hunting, but you must get permission first.
Black bear hunting has been slow. Most bears remain at high elevation or around streams, but they will be moving closer to the valley in search of food. Most of the bear damage on low-elevation lands starts to pick up in September, so figure on working the Cascades this month. Bear tags remain on sale through Oct. 3.
Watchable Wildlife ROGUE ' A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The structure was built by the Oregon Hunters Association and is accessed by a paved, wheelchair-accessible pathway. It is on Whetstone Pond, just north of the ODFW office.