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Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 26

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Weekend forecasts call for small-craft and high-winds through this morning, then 5-knot winds and subsiding seas later today. Decent weekend weather should provide good opportunities out of South Coast ports.

Beginning Monday, anglers can venture past the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing. Near-shore jigging should be very good for lingcod and black rockfish. 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 coho season is now closed. Brookings and Gold Beach are closed for ocean chinook salmon fishing, but the Chetco River bubble fishery opens Wednesday off the mouth of the Chetco, and catches should be very good if the weather cooperates.

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 open to razor clamming Wednesday, but razor clamming is closed from the California border to Heceta Head near Florence because of elevated bacteria levels.

The near-shore halibut fishery south of Humbug Mountain inside 40 fathoms remains open, even though the South Coast quota has been reached. The open fishing is allowed because of carryover from other quotas in Oregon from seasons closed before their quotas were reached.

COOS BAY: Trolling for chinook salmon is very good with cut-plug herring in the bay from the Highway 101 bridge upstream to the mouth of the Millicoma River. Bottomfishing is very good to excellent, and the near-shore halibut fishery remains open. Tuna fishing is good, with reports of tuna as close as 16 miles offshore. The average tuna landings this past week were 6 fish per angler. Look for water 58 degrees or warmer. Bottomfish catches have been very good. 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 Wednesday's start of the chinook bubble fishery off the Chetco River mouth. Catches should be very good for chinook from near the mouth and along Sporthaven Beach. Troll slowly with large anchovies or herring off the bottom.

GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay has picked up with a good mid-morning bite that has lasted until early afternoon, with chinook still dominating the catch. Lots of 20- and 30-pounders in the mix for those trolling larger anchovies with Rogue rigs. 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 has bottomed out at 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 8 p.m.

APPLEGATE: The lake is 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, and the ramp at Copper is no longer usable. That leaves only the French Gulch ramp for launching, with most of the effort off that cove. Bass fishing is good with crankbaits and grubs. The lake was down to 70 feet from full but up slightly after Wednesday's rains.

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 even more this past week to 8 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 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 28 percent full and dropping. Bank fishing is slow but float-tube fishing for fly-fishers using streamers and sinking lines is good.

HYATT: The lake is down to 5 percent full, rendering the BLM boat ramp unusable. Some bank anglers and those fishing out of float tubes have done well of late for both rainbow trout and bass.

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. Fishing is best upstream of Peyton Bridge, though 64-degree surface temperatures should start getting the trout spread out more. Some 15-inch trout have been taken there recently. Bass fishing is very good with a mix of crankbaits and plastics. The water is almost at the bottom of the marina boat ramp.

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 load of legal-sized trout were stocked two weeks ago, adding to the hold-over lunker trout from the pre-Labor Day stocking. Trolling deep gets a mix of trout and kokanee, while still-fishing near the resort with PowerBait is good.

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 51 percent full Thursday and dropping quickly.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue is in the midst of the two-month flies-only season, and water levels have inched up a bit from Wednesday's rain to help jump-start some migration. The bump in flows have middle Rogue anglers hoping it will bring more fall chinook into the Taylor Creek Canyon area to offset the largely dark chinook now there. The lower Rogue is very good for fall chinook and very good for summer steelhead amid seriously low flows at Agness.

That makes the lower Rogue this week’s best bet, based largely on the potpourri of opportunity. Trollers in the bay have had a very good week for chinook and increased numbers of coho, and the slight increase in flows will get some fish moving upstream. Summer steelhead fishing remains stready and is best in the Agness area, where the flows were listed Thursday at 1,734 cubic feet per second. Look for that to peak today and drop through the weekend.

In the middle Rogue, fall chinook fishing has slowed, as most of the fish are dark. Catches have been consistent from Lathrop's Landing on down, with the mouth of the Applegate River best for bankies. Lots of smoke in the area from the Onion fire, so rowers should take notice of the bad air days. Most early chinook destined for the Applegate have made it in, and water releases to the Applegate were holding at 125 cfs. Boat anglers are fishing K-15 Kwikfish let out farther than normal from driftboats or powerboats. Even try some K-13s and K-14s in the slower water, with weed guards a must. Flows at Grants Pass were up Thursday to 2,070 cfs, and that's pretty darn low for September. The season closes Tuesday.

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.

Illustration by Paul Bunch