Fishing Report: Friday, Jan. 23
COASTWIDE: Small-craft advisories have been issued through Saturday warning against heading over Southern Oregon bars, and 9-foot seas are predicted Sunday and Monday, so bottomfishing is a no-go for the next few days. When anglers were able to get out earlier this week, rockfish catches were very good out of most ports.
The ocean crabbing season is open, and Dungeness catches will be good again off estuary mouths once the wind and waves subside.
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 this time of year.
The new marine aggregate limit in Oregon is now in effect. It remains seven rockfish a day, but only three can be blue rockfish, and all china, quillback and copper rockfish must be released. Get a guide book or don't keep anything other than black or blue rockfish. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
The bay crabbing season has improved now that freshwater levels have ebbed.
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. Mussel harvest is 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 have improved off or near the jetties as freshwater levels in the bay are dropping. Crabbing is best near the jetties. 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: Don't expect much near-shore fishing for black rockfish and lingcod until midweek at the earliest due to high seas.
GOLD BEACH: Surfperch fishing is slow. Jigging for black rockfish was very good earlier in the week when some angers were able to venture over the bar. Not advised this weekend, however.
AGATE: The lake is up to 42 percent full, and the boat ramp is now usable, but it's still too murky for fishing. The Jackson County Parks Department closes access at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake has slowed for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long. The water level was up 11 feet to 1,899 feet above sea level Thursday thanks to last week's rains. Look for water levels to rise slowly as the filling season finally gets going here. Prospect for trout by trolling 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.
Applegate Lake has a standing advisory against eating too many portions of warmwater fish because of elevated mercury levels found in the bass and crappie.
DIAMOND: The lake is rimmed with about 10 feet of open water, so there is some bank fishing going on near the resort with worms or PowerBait. The limit is eight trout longer than 8 inches per day, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.
EMIGRANT: The county park boat ramps are usable. The lake is up to 32 percent full. Effort is very light. Driving on the lake bed is illegal.
FISH: The lake has inched up to 45 percent full, and the ice melted this week, allowing for some bank and boat fishing near the resort. Look for catches of rainbow trout and chinook with worms, PowerBait or jigs. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout here and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. The chinook are in 12- to 14-inch range. A sno-park pass is now required to park at the Forest Service lot near the ramp.
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 bloom of blue-green algae that has chased anglers off the lake. When the advisory is lifted, look for good trolling for holdover trout upstream of Peyton Bridge and near the spillway access area. The lake level had risen to 1,823 feet above sea level Thursday, with outflows holding steady at 1,500 cfs. That leaves the marina boat ramp usable again for trailered boats.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice remains too thin for safe fishing. When it hardens, look for a mix of rainbows, kokanee and perch near the resort.
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 over half-full, the highest of any irrigation reservoir in Jackson County.
ROGUE: After last week's relatively warm rains swelled most of the Rogue, the entire stretch was in good shape for winter steelhead fishing this week, and anglers were finding steelhead from the top of tidewater to the Hatchery Hole 157 miles inland.
The best bet, however, is the middle Rogue, where winter steelhead are now getting caught from the Grants Pass city limits down to Grave Creek, with boat and bank anglers feasting on success. The best action is from the mouth of the Applegate down. Side-drifting worms, roe and pink rubber worms have been best, but large plugs are also working well along seams and tailouts for driftboaters. Bank anglers are getting some success with sideplaners at places such as Rainbow and Argo with plugs, and expect that to hold true through the weekend before water levels drop and clear too much. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 2,800 cubic feet per second and dropping slowly Thursday.
The lower Rogue has been very good for winter steelhead anglers fishing off the bank and from boats. For plunkers, the No. 2-sized Spin-Glo's are the ticket, with pink/pearl, brown trout and tequila sunrise the top producers. The Cop Car Hot Shot is hot, as are gold-green combinations and Mag Lip 3.5 plugs with red heads.
In the upper Rogue, flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge were down to 2,200 cfs, thanks largely to a steady flow of 1,500 cfs out of Lost Creek Lake. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down to 2,800 cfs Thursday and dropping slowly. There is a little effort for winter steelhead in the upper Rogue, because it's still early to expect to catch winter steelhead there. But the upper Rogue does have fresh winter steelhead in it, with three dozen already having reached Cole Rivers Hatchery.
CHETCO — The river was fishing very well for winter steelhead all week, with the flows down Thursday to 2,970 cfs and dropping. Should be excellent through the weekend. Winter steelhead are well distributed.
UMPQUA — The mainstem and South Umpqua have been excellent for large winter steelhead, and fishing has been good this week after weekend high water.
ELK/SIXES — The Elk and Sixes were fishing well for winter steelhead, but the water is getting low and cold. Both rivers should fish well into Sunday, and no new storms are in the forecast. Call 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.