Fishing Report: Friday, Feb. 6
COASTWIDE: There is no promising news in the forecast for anyone looking to fish the ocean through the weekend. Today's gale-force winds warning will give way Saturday to a hazardous seas warning, with the nicest day coming Sunday when 30-knot winds and 15-foot swells are predicted.
The ocean crabbing season is open, and Dungeness catches will be better than inside bays later this week, where heavy inflows of fresh water will push crabs out of bays for a few days at least.
Anglers can venture past the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing, but few will bother when conditions improve because near-shore fishing will be good for black rockfish and the occasional lingcod.
A new marine aggregate limit in Oregon is 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.
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 fallen off amid the ongoing rains. Look for catches to improve later next week off and near the jetties. 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: Offshore fishing is a complete bust this weekend out of Brookings, with 15-foot seas and 30-knot winds forecast through the weekend.
GOLD BEACH: Surfperch fishing is a bust again thanks to near-flood flows in the lower Rogue forecast through the weekend. Look for surfperch to pick up in a few weeks once the freshwater influences have died down.
AGATE: The lake is up to 55 percent full and filling fast this weekend during the heavy rains that are hitting the region. The boat ramp is now usable, but the lake likely won't fish well until it is stocked with rainbows next month. The Jackson County Parks Department closes access at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing poorly for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long. The water level had risen to a surface level of 1,904 feet above sea level Thursday. Look for water levels to rise dramatically this weekend, with peak inflows forecast for 6,550 cubic feet per second late Saturday or early Sunday. When conditions settle down, 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 but the French Gulch ramp is open 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 largely ice-free, and some bait fishing is possible along the shores near the resort. The limit is eight trout longer than 8 inches per day, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. There is no snow along the banks.
EMIGRANT: The county park boat ramps are usable. The lake is up slightly to 37 percent full. Effort is very light. Driving on the lake bed is illegal.
FISH: The lake has inched up to 48 percent full, and the lake remains ice-free, 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 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 blue-green algae advisory 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 two feet to 1,832 feet above sea level Thursday, and look for a surge this weekend when inflows will peak at 7,500 cfs. The spike will break up and distribute a large debris raft near Peyton Bridge, which will make high-speed driving on the lake hazardous. Outflows are scheduled to remain about 2,000 cfs through the weekend.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice has melted, and some fishing is going on in open-water near the resort with PowerBait. 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: The heavy and warm rains pounding Western Oregon have left the Rogue River a bust for winter steelhead fishing through the weekend, with flows forecast to be up and out of angling range into next week. That leaves the best bet as the only bet ... the roughly mile of water from Cole Rivers Hatchery to the mouth of Big Butte Creek, which will be spitting out carmel-like water into next week.
In this stretch, anglers can prospect for early winter steelhead with pink worms, plugs, roe, egg flies or worms and watermelon corkies. All of those will work if any fresh winter steelhead are in that stretch. The New Bridge Hole will be good and likely crowded. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are forecast to be at 2,000 cfs through the weekend, and that's a very manageable flow for bank anglers. Flows at Dodge Bridge were at 3,800 cfs and forecast to hit 10,000 cfs Saturday.
Wild winter steelhead are well distributed throughout the Rogue, fishing should be very good in the middle and lower Rogue stretches when fishable conditions return. But that could be a while. The flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were at 4,700 cfs Thursday and forecast to hit 17,000 cfs Saturday. The lower down in the system, the higher the flows will be. Flows at Grants Pass were at 5,100 cfs Thursday and forecast to eclipse 20,000 cfs Saturday. At Agness, the flows are forecast to top out two feet under flood stage.
APPLEGATE — Winter steelhead fishing should pick up next week as the ongoing storm raises river flows and draws more fresh winter steelhead from the Rogue into the Applegate. Flows out of the reservoir were up to 700 cfs Thursday, and the river should remain too high and dirty for steelhead fishing into next week.
CHETCO — The river is blown out for steelhead fishing and is likely to remain that way into early next week at the earliest. Heavy flows are forecast through the weekend.
UMPQUA — The mainstem and South Umpqua were both up and out of shape for winter steelhead fishing.
ELK/SIXES — The Elk and Sixes were both in good fishing shape Thursday for winter steelhead, but that could change dramatically soon with heavy rains in the forecast for the coast. 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.