Fishing Report: Friday, Oct. 17
COASTWIDE: A hazardous seas warning and small-craft advisory are in effect today, and ocean conditions aren't forecast to get much better through the weekend. Saturday will bring 15-knot winds and 7-foot swells, followed Sunday by 20-knot winds and swells growing to 11 feet. Not a good weekend for bottomfishing or clamming, because big swells also bring sneaker waves that make digging on the sand hazardous. Besides, there are no minus tides this week. Still, daytime clammers will be working Clatsop County beaches as well as the sands around Charleston in Coos Bay.
Anglers can venture past the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing, but few will bother, as near-shore fishing is good for black rockfish and the occasional lingcod, which have moved farther offshore. 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 chinook bubble season is now done.
Crabbers have been doing very well for legal-sized males in most Oregon estuaries, with boat crabbers landing limits or close to them in Coos Bay and other spots. 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. Open fishing is allowed because of carryover from other quotas in Oregon from seasons closed before their quotas were reached.
COOS BAY: Fishing for chinook salmon is slowing down for anglers trolling cut-plug herring in the bay from the Highway 101 bridge upstream to the mouth of the Millicoma River. Still, decent fish are getting caught daily all the way up to the top of tidewater. Bottomfishing is very good to excellent when anglers can get out, but don't expect to cross the bar this weekend. 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 bubble fishery off the mouth of the Chetco has closed after an excellent season. Heavy rains this week are drawing fresh fall chinook upstream for the bobber-and-egg fishery now going on. Heavy winds and big swells are forecast through the weekend, likely meaning no over-the-bar boat traffic.
GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay turned hot for coho and is still holding well for chinook. The best action is for those trolling larger anchovies with Rogue rigs. Surfperch fishing has held on, and rockfish catches have been excellent when anglers have been able to cross the bar.
AGATE: The lake has bottomed out at 3 percent full, and it's so murky that it's unfishable. The gate to the day-use park closes at 8 p.m.
APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing fairly well 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. Bass fishing is good with crankbaits and grubs. The lake was down to 80 feet from full, dropping about 3 feet this past week.
Applegate Lake 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 and the fish have fanned 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. The lake is 9 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. Driving on the lake bed is illegal.
FISH: The lake has inched up to 17 percent full after being below the water-gauge level most of last month. No boat ramps are usable, however. A few people fishing on float tubes 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. Fishing effort is very light. The lake is listed at 27 percent full and holding steady. Bank fishing is slow but float-tube fishing for fly-fishers using streamers and sinking lines is good.
HYATT: The lake is holding steady at 6 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. The bass fishing has been excellent with red lures, streamer flies or worms near the dam.
LOST CREEK: Fishing for trout is best upstream of Peyton Bridge, though 60-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. At 1,809 feet above sea level, the water level is past the bottom of the marina boat ramp, but the Taklema ramp is usable.
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. Water levels remain very good. 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 last month, adding to the holdover lunker trout from earlier fall 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. Boat traffic and fishing effort remains very light. The lake was 43 percent full Thursday.
ROGUE: The upper Rogue is slowing down for those swinging flies now that water flows out of Lost Creek Lake are a chilly 44 degrees, while the middle Rogue has really turned on for summer steelhead behind spawning salmon or near spawning-creek mouths. The lower Rogue is seeing coho salmon moving upstream, and the Agness area is still solid for a mix of halfpounders and adult steelhead with flies or bait.
That makes the best bet the middle Rogue for summer steelhead. Fishing is very good everywhere from Valley of the Rogue State Park on through Ennis Riffle, which was alive with big adult steelhead much of this week. Flows at Grants Pass remained a skinny 1,359 cubic feet per second Thursday, which means swinging streamer flies like red ants and green-butt skunks is a good bet. Worms with beads or black-and-yellow Panther Martin lures are also good choice.
In the lower Rogue, this week's big rains coaxed schools of coho to move upstream. Fishing for them is always best from Quosatana Creek on down, with red or purple lures and roe the best offerings. The rain also drew fresh coho and some chinook into the bay, which saw good fishing Wednesday and Thursday for those trolling anchovies with Rogue bait rigs.
Summer steelhead fishing remains steady and is best in the Agness area, where the flows were listed Thursday at 1,811 cfs. That's up a hair but still in fly-fishers' wheelhouse. Swinging streamer flies with sink-tip lines has been very good for fly-fishers. Spinning-rod anglers are doing best with small Panther Martin lures.
In the upper Rogue, it's flies-only for summer steelhead and closed for chinook upstream of the Fisher's Ferry ramp. Fly-fishing with streamers is slowing down with the cold water releases from Lost Creek Lake. Nymphing with egg patterns along tailouts below spawning chinook is the ticket for October. The flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,200 cfs, with the flows at the old Gold Ray Dam up to 1,329 cfs thanks to increased flows from Little Butte and Bear creeks. Fishing near creek mouths is best.