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Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 12

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Weekend forecasts call for 5-knot winds and pretty calm seas through Sunday, and that should bode well for bottomfishers heading after black rockfish or the last of the halibut quota for the South Coast.

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 to clamming, 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, and catches have been very good. Bottomfishing is very good to excellent, and the near-shore halibut fishery remains open. Tuna fishing is good, with reports of tuna slightly more than 20 miles offshore.  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: Good bottomfishing and some nice halibut have been caught of late as anglers wait for the Oct. 1 start of the chinook bubble fishery off the Chetco River mouth. Less than one-fifth of the Southern Oregon halibut quota remains. The season will run through October if the quota goes unfilled, but that quota could disappear this weekend.

GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay is fishing best in the morning, primarily for chinook, but the first of the coho have started to show up. Chinook are moving upstream, with boat and bank anglers getting into chinook around Indian Creek and at the old mill site. Boat anglers are trolling anchovies with Rogue blades. Surfperch fishing has been very good, and rockfish and halibut catches have been excellent when anglers have been able to cross the bar.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is down to 3 percent full and the boat ramp is no longer usable. What's left of the warmwater fish are corralled in about 130 acre-feet of water near the dam and the spillway. Crappie, bass and bluegill are very active 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 still fishing well for for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long. Trollers are finding fish with Wedding Ring lures spiced with worms between 40 and 60 feet deep. Hart-Tish Park and its boat ramp are closed, but the Copper and French Gulch ramps are useable.  Most of the action and effort has been directly across from the Copper boat ramp. Bass fishing is good with crankbaits and grubs. The lake was down to 61 feet from full Wednesday.

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 has improved as the water has cooled, but most of the action continues to be 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 improving as trout start to fan out into deeper water. 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 are unusable, as the lake has dropped to 14 percent full. There is some bank fishing where Emigrant Creek hits what's left of the lake and near the rowing boathouse, but not much action is going on. A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

EXPO: Anglers are catching bass, perch and the occasional crappie.

FISH: No boat ramps are now usable and the water gauge has stopped measuring how much water is left in the lake. 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 31 percent full and dropping. Bank fishing is slow.

HYATT: The lake is down to 8 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 for 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 58 feet shy of full, leaving it this week at 2 feet short of its normal October low.

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. Trollers could try Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers, or wind-drift worms in the afternoon. The lake was 59 percent full Thursday and dropping quickly.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue is in the second week of the two-month flies-only season, and water levels are dropping, making evening wading and swinging streamers good options throughout the upper Rogue. The middle Rogue has turned on for fall chinook salmon, while the lower Rogue is a mix of decent chinook catches and very good fly-fishing for steelhead in the Agness area.

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 and at Finley Bend. Boat anglers are fishing K-15 Kwikfish let out farther than normal from driftboats or powerboats. This "long lining" is most effective now. Flows at Grants Pass were down Wednesday to 1,800 cfs, and look for those to drop even more. Water releases from Lost Creek Lake will be sliced today to 1,100 cfs.

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 plenty of attention from the mouth of the Illinois River on up into the Wild and Scenic Section. Catch these on anything from streamer flies to Panther Martin lures to worms. Flows Wednesday at Agness were 2,070 cfs, which is good for fly-fishing.

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.

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