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Fishing report: Jan. 2, 2015

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: The new year is forecast to come in a bit more quiet than it has the past month on the South Coast, with 5-knot winds and manageable swells meaning some anglers can start the new year bottomfishing for black rockfish and winter lingcod.

The ocean crabbing season is open and Dungeness catches off bay mouths should be very good when weather allows, such as this weekend. This week's high water pushed Dungeness out of most estuaries, especially the smaller ones.

The South Coast halibut fishery is closed until spring.

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

The bay crabbing season so far has seen light catches but great meat and size conditions for the Dungeness this year. This week's rains will make for poor bay crabbing because the high freshwater content in bays will push the Dungeness out to sea where conditions are rough.

Razor clamming is closed from the California border to Heceta Head near Florence because of elevated bacteria levels. There are no afternoon minus tides this week, but some decent afternoon low tides that should provide fairly good crabbing conditions. Mussels are open along the entire Oregon Coast. Call the state shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates before digging.

COOS BAY: Black rockfish catches were poor this week amid high and murky estuary conditions that likely won't improve until next week. Crabbing slowed with the high freshwater levels in the bay. 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.

Decent afternoon low tides make for good conditions for digging cockles, gapers and razor clams in places like Charleston through Wednesday.

BROOKINGS: Look for some near-shore action for black and blue rockfish as well as early lingcod. Some of the best lingcod fishing can come on calm winter days with larger jigs.

GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay has turned off for chinook and coho salmon. Surf perch fishing will be poor until the bar conditions improve.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is up to 29 percent full, but it's still so murky that it's unfishable, although the boat ramp is now usable. Also, the Jackson County Parks Department closes access at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake has slowed for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long amid a quick rise in the reservoir from this week's rains. Effort is light Trollers could find fish with Wedding Ring lures spiced with worms between 30 and 45 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 slow thanks to colder water.

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

DIAMOND: Fishing for trout has been decent but not spectacular and the lack of effort continues to reinforce this. Most of the action is still-fishing with PowerBait or with meal worms under bobbers. Vary your depths. The North Ramp near the resort remains open and warm rains this week mean no ice accumulations. The limit is eight trout longer than 8 inches per day, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. Diamond Lake remains open year-round.

EMIGRANT: The county park boat ramps are unusable. The lake has increased to 23 percent full with the recent rains, and levels are rising daily. Effort is light. Driving on the lake bed is illegal.

FISH: The lake has inched up to 41 percent full, and the cold weather should get the lake to start icing up. The mud around the lake is starting to crust so bank anglers can now venture to the water's edge. Still wear good mud boots. 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 lake is closed to angling until April 25.

HYATT: The lake is closed to angling until April 25.

LOST CREEK: The lake remains under a voluntary public advisory against water contact due to a new bloom of blue-green algae that has chased anglers off the lake. When the public-health advisory is lifted, look for good trolling for hold-over trout upstream of Peyton Bridge and near the spillway access area. The lake has dropped to elevation to 1,824 feet above sea level Wednesday. That leaves the marina boat ramp usable again for trailered boats.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Fishing effort is very light, but trolling with green or black Wedding Rings should work OK for rainbow trout, while pink ones should knock the kokanee well for those bothering to try. Water levels remain very good but not yet iced up. Still-fishing with PowerBait from the bank has been decent for trout, especially early.

LEMOLO: Fishing effort is very light. Brown trout can now be kept.  Trollers can expect a mix of trout and kokanee, while still-fishing near the resort with PowerBait could be good.

WILLOW: Fishing from the bank with PowerBait or worms has been fair around the resort and directly across from the county boat ramp, but there is very little effort. The lake is up over half-full, the highest of any irrigation reservoirs in Jackson County.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: After the Rogue blew out river-wide during last week's storms, the ensuing cold weather should help to drop the flows into fishable conditions for winter steelhead that ought to be present from Grants Pass on down. The upper Rogue will clear first but expect flows to remain artificially high after the rains because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will look to purge at several feet of depth from Lost Creek Lake to get it back to its regular filling schedule after this past storm.

Flows Wednesday at Dodge Bridge remained at 5,700 cfs Wednesday, buoyed largely by the 4,782 cfs coming out of Lost Creek Lake. Out-flows were forecast to drop to about 4,050 cfs Thursday, and that should open fishing on the upper Rogue, which is all open to bait, flies and lures now that the special regulations ended for the season Thursday.

The middle Rogue should see a good early winter steelhead bite now as water levels drop and clear. Flows at Grants Pass were at 6,650 cfs Wednesday and forecast to drop to around 4,500 cfs and hold steady into next week. That should give the river plenty of time to clear up for winter steelheaders fishing from driftboats or the bank from the mouth of the Applegate on down. Canyon fishing from Hellgate on down should be very good with roe, large plugs or pink rubber worms. Plunking with large Spin-Glo's from hot-spots like Chair and Rainbow riffles as the water recedes.

In the lower Rogue, plunkers could see great winter steelhead through the weekend on Cop Car Hot Shots and chartreuse and flame Spin-Glo's at Dunkelberger Bar, Huntley Park and Canfield Riffle. Flows are forecast to be about 20,000 cfs and dropping slowly today, with turbidity the big enemy for next week.

CHETCO: The river was down to 2,150 cfs Wednesday and forecast to steadily drop and clear, which will slow down the winter steelhead bite until the next freshet. Fish are well distributed.

COOS: The wild coho season is closed in the basin.

ELK/SIXES: The Elk was at 3.5 feet and dropping slowly Wednesday, with the water cold and clear. It doesn't appear as if the winter steelhead conditions will improve on either river amid cold, rainless forecasts. Telephone 1-541-332-0405 for updated conditions before traveling to the Elk. After freshets, the Sixes generally pulls into shape shortly after the Elk does.