FISHING AND HUNTING REPORT
River Outlook ROGUE ' Fall chinook salmon fishing remains excellent throughout the lower and middle Rogue as cool fall temperatures and lots of salmon have combined for great catches. The upper Rogue is starting to pick up for steelhead as well, and summer steelhead also are showing up in the Grants Pass area. Even the halfpounder run is starting to pick up in the lower Rogue.
The best bet for the week is a pick-your-pleasure recommendation because anything open now is good.
The middle Rogue is getting most of the interest now because there are hordes of fresh fall chinook. There are plenty of salmon in the 40-pound class and fish more than 50 pounds have been caught and verified. Kwikfish with sardine wraps are working best, while others using spoons and roe are also finding salmon. Back-bouncing roe also is working and the squawfish are less active in the cooling water. The water temperature has hovered around 61 degrees at Grants Pass. About half the fish are dark and of poor eating quality.
Bank angling has been very good at Finley Bend as well as the waters just downstream from the mouth of the Applegate River. Rainie Falls continues to be excellent for bank anglers as well. However, disrespectful anglers are getting into fist-fights and leaving garbage at some of these areas, and the federal Bureau of Land Management is encouraging anglers to behave themselves and pack out their trash.
The Gold Hill area has been good for fall chinook on roe, but some of the fish are getting pretty dark and of poor eating quality. Roe is out-producing Kwikfish.
— On the lower Rogue, trolling the bay remains very good for a mixture of chinook and coho, but the chinook remain the top catch. Early morning is best, and the early part of the outgoing tide is very good as well. Troll anchovies with spinners in tidewater.
Salmon fishing also is good in Agness on downstream, with roe outproducing Kwikfish. The Agness area also is good for halfpounders and adult summer steelhead. A 16-pound hatchery summer steelhead was caught this week at Lobster Creek.
In the upper Rogue, summer steelhead angling is fair to good for fly-fishermen either swinging flies while using sink-tip lines or fishing dark flies under bobbers. There were more than 9,000 summer steelhead counted over Gold Ray Dam as of three weeks ago. That's a huge amount of steelhead for the early-run component. Look for fish to start moving over the dam again soon, and continue in through December. For streamer flies, use tiger paws, green-butt skunks and red ants. Those nymph fishing are doing best on princes, but look for the single salmon eggs to get good as chinook spawning starts to heat up in the upper Rogue.
Salmon fishing is banned in the upper Rogue through October. Intentional catch-and-release salmon fishing is not allowed.
Water releases from Lost Creek Lake are down to 900 cubic feet per second to corral fall chinook into the river's main channels for spawning. The flows are expected to hold into October.
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 salmon in the river are off limits to all angling year-round.
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 ' Summer steelhead fishing is getting good in the North Umpqua, where cooler water temperatures have the fish more active. Fishing is good in both the flies-only and bait sections. Chinook salmon fishing remains good in the main-stem Umpqua, and smallmouth bass fishing is slowing down in the South 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 ' Trolling remains good for rainbow trout. Fishing out of boats remains the best way to fish the lake, with the best success coming for those trolling 20 to 35 feet deep.
The morning bite is still the most productive and most popular, with the best luck coming with worms behind flashers or Tasmanian Devils.
This year's planted fish are ranging up around 6 to 9 inches and the older fish from 13 inches to 19 inches. The smaller fish make up the lion's share of the catch.
Fly-fishing is improving. Dusk is best with Brown Baileys and brown woolly buggers the best bet.
Bass fishing continues to be good, with worms and jigs best.
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 less than half-full, but cooler water has brought some good late-season trout fishing days. Needlefish remain the top producers for trollers, but still-fishing with PowerBait is best just off the weed lines and near stumps along the lake's shore. Catches are best at dawn and dusk by anglers using rainbow PowerBait in 15-18 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 are also 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 is starting to improve again as the trout are getting more active in the cooler water while the chubs are getting less active. Most of the action remains at the lake's south end, and water conditions are excellent. Most catches are coming on PowerBait fished off the bottom, and trolling is less effective. For trollers, use flashers and a worm as well as Needlefish or silver-bodied Rapalas.
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 are picking up rainbow trout in the lower section of the lake, while bait fishing is best in the far upper end above Peyton Bridge.
Wedding Rings with worms as well as Triple Teasers are the trollers' weapons of choice. The lake remains right at elevation 1,812, which is minimum pool. The Lost Creek Lake Marina boat ramp remains operational.
The hot spell has caused the lake's surface level to increase to 67 degrees Wednesday. That will push the trout deeper in the water column.
Trout fishing upstream of Peyton Bridge is 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. 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 ' Evening fishing for bullhead catfish is good with bait, while warmwater fishing is good. Perch, bluegill and crappie catches are good in the areas with underwater structure or near-shore willows, with worms and small spinners accounting for much of the catch. For bass, worms and grubs have been effective.
Trout fishing has slowed now that the hot weather and a 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 less than 30 percent full Wednesday.
KLAMATH/AGENCY ' Fishing for rainbows near the springs has been good for fly-fishers and early-morning trollers. Large trout are also 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 season is closed off Southern Oregon until Wednesday, when chinook fishing resumes in close to shore off Brookings. Jigging for bottomfish remains very good when the weather dictates.
Razor clamming is closed statewide due to domoic acid. The toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking, freezing, adding baking soda or any other method. Ocean beaches and the entrance to bays north of Cape Blanco (at Port Orford) are closed to the harvest of all clam species. South of Cape Blanco, non-razor clams may be harvested from ocean beaches. Coast-wide, bays are open for the harvest of non-razor clams, and all areas are open for mussels. For more information, call the Oregon Department of Agriculture's shellfish line (503-986-4728).
Hunting Outlook ROGUE ' Recent hot weather has returned the crunchy sound to the woods, making the stalking of deer difficult now for archers. Early morning hunting off tree stands along migration routes are a good choice now. Deer and elk remain at higher elevations and the migration of these animals should be starting soon. For archers, concentrate on the 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 is over.
Black bear hunting should improve as bears start heading toward the valley floor in search of food. Bear tags remain on sale through Oct. 3.
The Denman Wildlife Area is hosting a free youth hunt for waterfowl and upland game birds Saturday and Sunday in White City. The hunts are limited to 85 kids at a time, but stand-by hunters will be allowed on the wildlife area as space is made available. For more information, call 826-8774.
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.
SUMMER LAKE ' Viewing opportunities remain very good because of the increased activity of fall migrants and post-breeding dispersal. Waterfowl are staging in good numbers now, but are difficult to identify due to being in the eclipse plumage. The molt into the breeding plumage is occurring and some drakes are becoming very colorful. Canada geese are dispersed throughout the wildlife area, and their use of recently hayed and re-flooded meadows will afford excellent viewing opportunities along Highway 31.
Greater white-fronted geese have returned to the area from Alaskan breeding areas and are increasing in numbers. Migrant ducks are congregating on larger open water areas, many are molting, and others are flighted young and birds staging for fall migration. Last Wednesday's count found more than 30,100 ducks in the wildlife area. Weekly counts are scheduled for the remainder of the year.