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Fishing Report: Friday, July 24

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers can expect decent seas to go along with much improved chinook salmon fishing through the weekend. Forecasts call for 10-knot winds and 4-foot swells today, then 10-knot winds and 5- to 6-foot swells through the rest of the weekend. Morning will be more doable than afternoons, based on typical wind patterns for midsummer.

Near-shore jigging for black rockfish and lingcod remains excellent close to shore. Anglers must stay within the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing through September. Cooler ocean currents have brought chinook and coho closer to shore, triggering nice catches of both recently. All wild coho must be released unharmed.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, but only three can be blue rockfish, and all china, quillback and copper rockfish must be released. Anglers are allowed to keep one canary rockfish a day under the seven-fish marine aggregate limit under new marine rules. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate. One cabezon can be kept as part of the aggregate limit.

Halibut fishing remains slow out of Brookings. Winds have blown tuna anglers back to port much of the week, but tuna have been reported as close as 15 miles offshore from Charleston. Look for 58-degree water currents.

The highest recorded levels of domoic acid along the Oregon Coast in 17 years have closed razor clamming statewide, but bay clams and butter clams are fine south of Tillamook Head. Also, mussel harvest is open only from the mouth of the Rogue River down to the California border. Call the state shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates before digging. Some excellent early-morning minus tides start Wednesday and remain through the week.

Dungeness catches are picking up in the ocean and in larger estuaries such as Coos and Winchester bays. The crab sizes and catch rates seem to be improving weekly.

COOS BAY: Black rockfish catches are decent between the jetties, and pile perch are being caught under the McCullough Bridge. Fishing is best around slack tides. Lingcod fishing outside of Charleston has been very good when anglers can get out. Chinook and coho fishing has been very good of late for those trolling large anchovies with spinner blades. Excellent early-morning clamming tides for bay and butter clams start Wednesday and get better through the weekend. 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.

Tuna are lingering offshore but stiff winds kept anglers from reaching tuna grounds, where the water is 58 degrees or warmer.

BROOKINGS: The offshore chinook season has finally kicked in with cooler water finally close to shore. Lots of coho in the mix for trollers using large anchovies and spinner blades, with wild coho dominating the catch. Only fin-clipped coho can be kept as part of the two-fish daily limit. Decent chinook numbers are also reported, with lots of fish in the 24-pound range. Lingcod and rockfish catches have waned largely because most anglers switched over to salmon this past week.

The South Coast halibut season is open, and catches have been slow so far.

GOLD BEACH: Trolling for early fall chinook salmon has been excellent in the bay, where fresh fish are washing in with every tide and precious few are moving upstream thanks to extremely warm river water. Troll large anchovies with the Rogue Blade set-up, with gold or gold-chartreuse blades. Not much action offshore thanks to typical mid-summer winds. Surfperch fishing is holding on along most open beaches. Try Berkley Gulp sandshrimp or sandworms because they stay on the hooks better than sand shrimp or prawns.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is down to 51 percent full and dropping faster now than it has all season. The water is murky, but warmwater fish catches have been decent. Fishing is best early and late in the day. Slowly fishing purple and other dark, plastic worms should get anglers into bass off points. The boat ramp is usable. No trout stockings are planned. Lake access closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing best for bass off points and rocky outcroppings, with trout fishing slowed as the water continues to drop quickly despite relatively low releases to the Applegate River. Troll for freshly stocked and holdover trout up to 16 inches. The surface level is down another 4 feet to 1,932 feet above sea level. Bass fishing has been very good off points with crankbaits and plastic worms.

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: Fishing has remained slow to fair from boats with worms under bobbers or PowerBait, but the trout population appears to be down and the bite has been slow. Catches have been better on the lake's northern half. The shrimp beds and the Cheese Hole are kicking out fish for those using PowerBait and worms, but daily limits are rare. Most of the trout are 12 to 15 inches long, with an occasional 4- or 5-pounder. About 300,000 fingerling were stocked in late May, and they should be large enough to contribute to the fishery in late August or early September. If you find yourself catching the fingerlings, pull up and move to let them survive their early stages.

EMIGRANT: The lake is clearing, but very warm water has slowed trout fishing. Bass and perch fishing is good around submerged willows. The lake is down significantly this past week and was at 51 percent full Thursday and dropping rather quickly as recharge from Hyatt and Howard Prairie lakes is dropping off.

FISH: The lake is down to 37 percent and fishing has been good thanks in part to the recent stocking of 3,000 legal-sized trout. Another 900 half-pound trout were stocked last week instead of their planned stocking as trophy trout in September because of the dwindling lake levels. Look for catches of rainbow trout and chinook on worms, PowerBait or by trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm. 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 the 12- to 14-inch range.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is warming up as water levels drop, but catches remain decent for boat anglers fishing early in the day and around dusk. Fish in the 15-inch range are prevalent. Trollers working deep with Triple Teasers and Tasmanian Devils are doing well, while still-fishers with PowerBait are doing best near the channel along the lake's far side. Bass fishing has been very good with crankbaits and plastic worms near rock croppings and stumps. The gravel ramp off Doe Point is open, and that's where another 1,250 legal-sized trout were stocked recently. The lake is down to 26 percent full. The marina remains dry, so no boat rentals are available.

HYATT: Rainbow trout fishing has been slow for those still-fishing with worms or PowerBait near the Mountain View ramp, which is open but barely. The lake is down slightly this week to 25 percent full. Access is poor. Bass fishing in the Orchard is very good for those tossing any lure or fly that's red.

LOST CREEK: The lake received another 20,000 legal-sized trout and 500 larger trout recently, split between the Takelma ramp and the ramp at Stewart State Park. Another 5,250 legal-sized trout were stocked three weeks ago. Look for good trolling for holdover trout upstream of Peyton Bridge and near the spillway access area. Bank fishing is best near the Takelma ramp. The lake was down to 53 feet shy of full but not dropping as fast, because outflows were holding steady at 1,500 cubic feet per second. Inflows, however, were a scant 909 cfs Thursday.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: A mix of rainbows, kokanee and perch are being caught on PowerBait or small spinners near the resort. The lake received a mix of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout last week, some of which sport a tag on their backs. If you catch a tagged fish, check the kiosk for information and phone in your results.

LEMOLO: Brown trout are legal to keep, and that is drawing a slew of anglers trolling small lures far behind their boats in the mornings and evenings.

WILLOW: The lake received another 3,000 legal-sized trout and 1,500 larger trout in May. Fishing from the bank with PowerBait or worms has been good around the ramp and near the campground, but there is very little effort. The lake is down slightly but still in good shape.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue is decent for spring chinook salmon fishing in the mornings and just fair for summer steelhead in the evenings, while the middle Rogue is a dead zone where fishing ends at 2 p.m. due to warm water, and the Rogue Bay is hot for fall chinook with solid catches for trollers all day. That makes the lower Rogue Bay the place to be right now.

But first, the rules. Fishing between Fishers Ferry and the head of tidewater closes at 2 p.m. daily as part of statewide closures to ease catch-and-release stress on salmon and steelhead due to extremely low and warm water conditions throughout Oregon. The bay is defined as water downstream from the Ferry Hole boat ramp at river mile 4.5. Upstream of Fishers Ferry is standard mid-summer regulations.

In the bay, trolling large anchovies with Rogue Blades has been consistently good for chinook, with guides hitting limits pretty regularly. Low tide is best around the jetties while high-slack catches are best from the power lines on down. Vary trolling speeds but stay close to the bottom.

In the upper Rogue, water releases from Lost Creek Lake remain level at 1,500 cubic feet per second and it will stay that way until flows are scheduled to increase Aug. 10. Chinook fishing is best upstream of Shady Cove with a mix of plugs or backbouncing roe and sand shrimp, and the grass problems that have been confounding anglers have improved. Summer steelhead catches have been spotty and not as good as past mid-July action, largely because there are not as many early-run steelhead in the mix as the past few years. Still, catch them on anything from pink plastic worms to Panther Martin lures to streamer flies, nymphs, crayfish plugs or worms. The fish are concentrated at heads of riffles and deep tailouts

APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing but not for adult steelhead, and anglers must be off the water by 2 p.m. due to high water temperatures stressing wild fish. Catch and effort are light.

CHETCO: The river is open to trout fishing, and look for sea-run cutthroat trout in tidewater. Waters above tidewater close at 2 p.m.