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Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 5

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory is expected to be lifted this morning on the Southern Oregon Coast, with 25-knot winds and 8-foot swells forecast for today. Winds are forecast to drop to 5 knots Saturday and kick back up to 15 knots Sunday, but with swells in the 5-foot range.

Bottomfishers must stay within the 30-fathom line to protect yelloweye rockfish. Near-shore jigging should be very good for lingcod and black rockfish when anglers can get back out to sea. Black, white or red jigs are always good bets.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate. Anglers can keep one cabezon as part of that limit.

The ocean is open for coho salmon north of Port Orford and for chinook through Sunday south of Humbug Mountain near Port Orford. Southern Oregon ports have slowed somewhat for chinook, but the catch rates at Brookings remain better than almost any other Oregon port.

Crabbers have been doing very well for legal-sized males in most Oregon estuaries, with boat crabbers landing close to limits. Clammers have no morning minus tides this week. Clatsop County beaches are closed, but the Coos County sands around Charleston and Empire are good. The entire Oregon Coast is open to recreational mussel harvest, and all other recreational shellfish harvesting is open, except for the Clatsop closure.

The near-shore halibut fishery off the Central and Northern Oregon Coast is open but effort remains light. The near-shore fishery south of Humbug Mountain inside 40 fathoms remains open, with about one-fifth of the halibut quota remaining.

COOS BAY: The coho fishery is wide open, with anglers averaging more than a fish per trip. Tuna fishing remains sporadic. Anglers have had trouble with weather, and the fish are as far as 35 miles out. Lots of 30-pound tuna this year. Look for water 58 degrees or warmer. Bottomfish catches have been very good when anglers have gotten out. The chinook season is closed. Many red rock crabs in the Charleston area have been tagged as part of a study. Anyone who catches one is urged to call state fish biologists at 541-888-5515.

BROOKINGS: The last weekend of chinook salmon fishing for the current season should see some good effort Saturday and Sunday, with catches likely to be good off Brookings. The next season to open is the bubble fishery in early October. Rockfishing has been excellent when anglers have been able to get out. About one-fifth of the Southern Oregon halibut quota remains, with recent catches picking up as anglers take their last crack at halibut for the summer. The halibut season will run through October if the quota goes unfilled.

GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay is fishing best in the morning, with more than 50 chinook salmon caught in the first three hours of fishing Thursday. Chinook are moving upstream, with boat and bank anglers getting into chinook around Indian Creek as well as the old mill site. Boat anglers are trolling anchovies with Rogue blades. Surfperch fishing has been very good, and rockfish catches have been excellent when anglers have been able to cross the bar.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is down to 7 percent full and still dropping quickly. The boat ramp is barely useable, with mud just at the end of the concrete. Crappie, bass and bluegill are very active around submerged willows and along the dam, mostly early in the morning and in the evening. Fish worms, small spinners or crankbaits. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The gate to the day-use park closes at 9 p.m.

APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing fair to decent for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long, with trollers finding fish with Wedding Ring lures spiced with worms between 40 and 60 feet deep. Most of the action, and effort, has been directly across from the Copper boat ramp. Bass fishing is good with crankbaits and grubs. All of the boat ramps are open. The lake was down to 56 feet from full Thursday but dropping slower now that the inflow is about half the out-flow of 250 cfs.

Applegate Lake now has a standing advisory against eating too many portions of warmwater fish caught in the lake due to elevated mercury levels found in the bass and crappie.

DIAMOND: Fishing for trout is best early in the morning and then it tapers off quite a bit during the day. Catches have picked up near the mouths of Short Creek and Silent Creek, where the mid-summer fish were stocked. These fish are not leaving the area because they prefer the creek's water temperatures. The rest of the lake is barely getting fished. Most of the action is still-fishing PowerBait or with worms under bobbers. Vary your depths. Trolling is slow. The limit is eight trout per day longer than 8 inches, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT: The county park boat ramps remain useable despite the lake being only 18 percent full. Plastic worms and grubs are working best around structure early and late in the day for bass, with pink and purple crappie jigs finding crappie in the Songer Wayside area. Trout fishing is very slow, but it’s best at creek mouths where cooler water can be found.  A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

EXPO: With hot weather, anglers are catching bass, perch and the occasional crappie.

FISH: Water levels continue to drop, and no ramps are useable. A few people carrying canoes or kayaks to the water are faring very well for a mix of trout and chinook salmon. Most of the fishing is with bait near the center of the lake or from the bank near the resort. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. The chinook are in 12- to 14-inch range.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The impromptu launch at Willow Point Campground is unusable now that the water has receded enough that the rock ledge used of late by boaters is exposed and fronted by mud. Fishing effort is very light. The lake is listed at 32 percent full and dropping. Bank fishing around Klum Landing and Grizzly is fair.

HYATT: The lake is down to 10 percent full, rendering the BLM boat ramp unusable. The lake is virtually unused, though anglers casting pumpkinseed plastic worms or dark crawdad patterns are hammering bass near the dam. Trout fishing is very slow.

LOST CREEK: Wildfires have crippled fishing opportunities, but the open water near the dam remains good for trout for boaters trolling deep with lures and worms. Water upstream of the marina is closed to make room water helicopters filling with water for fires in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area. Some 15-inch trout have been taken there recently. Bass fishing is very good with a mix of crankbaits and plastics. The lake is 53 feet shy of full.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Trolling with green or black Wedding Rings is working well for rainbow trout, while pink ones are knocking the kokanee well. Still-fishing with PowerBait from the bank has been good for trout, especially early. Bass are thick in the shallows, and night fishing for catfish is good. Water levels are excellent.

LEMOLO: Another 1,500 lunker trout were stocked for Labor Day weekend, and fishing for the holdovers should be very good with PowerBait near the resort.

WILLOW: Fishing from the bank with PowerBait or worms has been good around the resort and directly across from the county boat ramp. Ttrollers could try Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers, or wind-drift worms in the afternoon. The lake was 64 percent full Thursday and dropping quickly.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue has switched to the flies-only season for the next two weeks, and summer steelhead catches so far have been light and scattered, while the fall chinook season is improving daily in the middle Rogue. The lower Rogue is good for halfpounders and adult steelhead, primarily in the Agness area, and fall chinook on the move are getting caught downstream of the mouth of the Illinois River.

That makes the middle Rogue this week’s best bet. Fall chinook are getting caught consistently from Lathrop's Landing on down, with the mouth of the Applegate River one of the better places to fish. Most early chinook are destined for the Applegate, so that's the place to be. Bank anglers are doing best at the Applegate mouth as well as Finley Bend. Boat anglers are fishing K-15 Kwikfish let out farther than normal from driftboats or powerboats. This so-called "long lining" is most effective now. Flows at Grants Pass are just under 1,900 cubic feet per second and will drop next week as out-flows from Lost Creek Lake are toggled back to 1,600 cfs Wednesday.

Fall chinook are moving through the lower Rogue, and fishing for them should be good at heads of pools downstream from Quosatana. A mix of halfpounders and adult steelhead are getting some attention, chiefly in the Wild and Scenic Section. Catches have been very good but best in the mornings. Warm water conditions are stressing the steelhead, but cooler temps from recent rains will certainly help. Flows in Agness are holding steady at 2,110 cfs. Fly-fishing streamers for halfpounders and adults has been very good.

In the upper Rogue, it's flies-only for summer steelhead and closed for chinook upstream of the Fisher's Ferry ramp. Early season fly-fishing has been somewhat slow for those swinging streamers or nymphing, largely because the steelhead are spread out and not a lot of new fish are moving into the upper Rogue now. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were set at 1,850 cfs Thursday and set to drop early next week by 250 cfs. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,970 cfs.

From Fisher's Ferry on down, anglers can catch and keep hatchery and wild chinook through September.