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Fishing Report: Friday, July 31

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers can expect a little wind but decent seas for chinook salmon and bottomfishing through the weekend. Forecasts call for 15-knot winds and 3-foot swells today, then 5-knot winds and 3-foot swells Saturday and winds back up to 15 knots Sunday. Mornings will be better than afternoons, as usual.

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 decent 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 10-15 miles offshore from Charleston. Look for 58-degree and warmer 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 now closed from Cape Arago down to to the California border. Call the state shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates before digging. Some excellent morning minus tides are going on now through Monday for bay clam diggers.

Dungeness sizes and catch rates are slowly picking up in larger estuaries such as Coos and Winchester bays. The low freshwater flows are making for good salinity levels and that has helped crabs move around higher in estuaries.

COOS BAY: Black rockfish catches are decent between the jetties and very good in the ocean when weather permits, but the lingcod catch has started to cool off. Pile perch are being caught under the McCullough Bridge. Fishing is best around slack tides. 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 today through Monday. 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 reported 10-15 miles offshore, where the water is 58 degrees or warmer.

BROOKINGS: The offshore chinook season is decent since north winds brought better currents closer to shore. Most anglers are starting off trolling for chinook and fin-clipped coho, then switching over the lingcod and bottomfish as the day goes on. Bottomfishing is better north of the harbor, while chinook anglers are working closer to the California border with large anchovies and spinner blades. Only fin-clipped coho can be kept as part of the two-fish daily limit. Decent chinook numbers are being reported, with lots of fish in the 24-pound range. The South Coast halibut season has been somewhat slow compared to previous years. Large herring dragged along the bottom is the best tactic.

GOLD BEACH: Trolling for early fall chinook salmon has been consistently good in the bay, where fresh fish are washing in with every tide and very few are moving upstream due to extremely warm river water. Troll large anchovies with a Rogue Blade set-up, with gold or gold-chartreuse blades. Not much action offshore thanks to typical mid-summer winds. Surfperch fishing is consistently very good along most open beaches. Try Berkley Gulp sandshrimp or sandworms.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is down to 45 percent full and dropping faster than it has all season. Warmwater fish catches have been decent. Effort is light. 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. Trout fishing has slowed as the water drops quickly despite relatively low releases to the Applegate River. Troll for trout up to 16 inches with Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm and small flashers. The surface level is down another 4 feet to 1,928 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 been slow to fair from boats. 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 still somewhat murky and sporting very warm water that has slowed trout fishing. Bass and perch fishing is good around submerged willows. The lake was at 45 percent full Thursday and dropping quickly.

FISH: The lake is down to 32 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 recently 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. Recent chinook catches shows the fish are a plump 16 inches or better now. Chinook are legally considered trout here and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. Tiger trout must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is warming 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 25 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 23 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 56 feet shy of full and dropping relatively fast because inflows are less than half of the 1,500 cfs outflow. The ramp at Stewart State Park should be usable for another week for larger boats. The Takelma ramp will be usable throughout the season.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: A mix of rainbows, kokanee and perch are being caught on PowerBait or small spinners near the resort. The lake recently received a mix of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, some of which sport a tag on their backs. If you catch a tagged fish, check the kiosk for information about how to 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: Trout fishing is very slow with little effort.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue closed to spring chinook salmon fishing this evening, but the waters from Dodge Bridge down to Fishers Ferry remain open for wild and hatchery chinook, so that's where the activity will be. The middle Rogue is dead for summer steelhead and not yet kicking for fall chinook, so the 2 p.m. fishing closure from Fishers Ferry to the head of tidewater is not really impacting anyone yet.

That makes the lower Rogue Bay the place to be right now, largely because hot river water has created a thermal barrier stopping fall chinook from heading upstream. Don't expect much movement through the weekend as triple-digit air temperatures cook the lower Rogue around 80 degrees.

The bay is defined as water downstream from the Ferry Hole boat ramp at river mile 4.5. 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 downstream of Dodge Bridge will be best with roe and sand shrimp, with Kwikfish and 3.5 Mag Lip lures good secondary choices. Summer steelhead catches have been spotty, 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.