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Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 18

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers will see decent winds and seas through the weekend that will allow for bottomfishing trips for those doing some near-shore jigging. Ten-knot winds and four-foot swells are forecast for today, followed by winds up to 20 knots but just four-foot wind waves Saturday. Sunday will see winds of 10 to 15 knots and four-foot wind waves.

Near-shore jigging for black rockfish and lingcod remains very good. Anglers must stay within the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing through September. With the offshore salmon season over, everyone's after lingcod and black rockfish, while a decent contingent in Brookings continues to target Pacific halibut. A few Pacific mackerel have showed up in the catch this past week, as well.

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, as well as one cabezon. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

Tuna anglers are struggling amid relatively poor ocean weather and schools constantly on the move. Look for 58-degree and warmer water currents.

Razor clamming is closed statewide, but bay clams and butter clams are fine coastwide. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. No new minus tides are coming in the next week. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates.

Dungeness crab catches have been very good in South Coast estuaries and in the ocean, with good sizes and meat fill. The ocean has been more productive than estuaries, particularly the smaller ones. Deeper ports like Coos Bay have been best.

COOS BAY: Good catches of chinook have been reported this past week during high-slack tides between the Highway 101 bridge and the airport for those trolling cut-plug herring. 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: The offshore chinook season is over and that has pushed salmon anglers inside the Chetco estuary.  The ocean-salmon season doesn't restart until Oct. 1 for the short bubble fishery just off the Chetco mouth. Lingcod and black rockfish catches remain very good.

GOLD BEACH: Trolling for fall chinook salmon has slowed a bit after a pretty good flurry, and the coho aren't really showing up in the bay yet. For chinook, troll large anchovies with a Rogue Blade set-up, with gold or gold-chartreuse blades. Surfperch fishing is consistently very good along most open beaches. Try Berkley Gulp sandshrimp or sandworms. Crabbing is excellent near the river mouth and in the ocean.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is down to 2 percent full and dropping, and fishing pressure has been nonexistent. Slowly fishing purple and other dark, plastic worms should get anglers into bass off points. The boat ramp is no longer usable. No trout stockings are planned. Lake access closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing best for smallmouth bass off points and rocky outcroppings. Trout fishing has slowed. 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 four feet to 1,897 feet above sea level. Small boats can launch at French Gulch and others at Copper. 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: Trout catches remain slow but are best at the lake's south end and near the resort, with PowerBait and pheasant-tail flies working best. Worms five feet under a bobber also are a good choice. Most of the trout are 12 to 17 inches long, with an occasional larger fish. About 300,000 fingerling were stocked in late May, and they should be large enough to contribute to the fishery at the end of this month.

EMIGRANT: The lake is still very low and murky, which has pushed most angling effort away. Bass and perch fishing will be best around any submerged vegetation or rock croppings or ridges in the lake bottom. The lake has dropped even farther and is 17 percent full, down 3 percent this past week. One of the county boat ramps remains usable, but it's not getting much attention.

FISH: The lake is down under the water gauge, and boat launches are a no-go at all the ramps, though kayakers and float-tubers are doing well on the lake. Those getting on the water are doing well with PowerBait despite murky conditions. Focus on fishing near the springs, which are more apparent 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 dropping fast and is down to 15 percent full. But those anglers hitting the water are finding trout trolling the old creek channel on the lake's east side. Fish in the 15- to 17-inch range are still 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 outcroppings and stumps. The gravel ramp off Doe Point is open, and that's where 1,250 legal-sized trout were stocked recently. The marina remains dry, so no boat rentals are available.

HYATT: Rainbow trout fishing has been good with PowerBait near the dam for those who manage to hike down to the water line. The lake is now down under the measurement gauge. Access is poor.

LOST CREEK: Wind-drifting worms and slowly trolling Wedding Ring lures spiked with worms is working well upstream of Peyton Bridge, but remember it's a no-wake zone. The lake's elevation was at 1,785 feet above sea level Thursday and falling much slower now the outflows have dropped to about 900 cubic feet per second, which is close to the in-flows. The ramp at Stewart State Park is closed to trailered boats but the Takelma ramp is usable and will be open 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 call in your results.

WILLOW: Trout fishing is very slow with little effort.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: In the upper Rogue, the flies-only season has slowed a bit for driftboaters not wanting to test the very low flows, but fishing is good for those wading and casting streamers in riffles at least 3 feet deep. The middle Rogue has slowed for fall chinook this past week, likely as much because of the low flows and cold weather as it is the movement of fall chinook from the mainstem Rogue into the Applegate River. The lower Rogue Bay has slowed but is still a player for fall chinook trollers, while the lower Rogue from Agness down is starting to heat up for summer steelhead and halfpounders that are easily found with flies these days in extremely low water.

That makes the lower Rogue for steelhead and halfpounders the best bet. These fish will eat anything from streamer flies and Panther Martin lures to worms and eggs. Most of the halfpounders are wild and must be released unharmed, but anglers can keep up to five halfpounders a day as part of their trout limit without impacting the steelhead catch. Riffles and the heads of pools are best.

In the bay, a mix of adult and jack chinook and a few coho salmon are in the works for anglers. Despite low water levels, chinook are moving daily out of the bay but fresh fish continue to move in. Troll large anchovies with the Rogue blade set-up while varying speeds. Stay right off the bottom for chinook.

In the middle and upper Rogue, the story this week is the drop in flows from Lost Creek Lake. Flows out of the lake are down to 900 cfs, leaving the river a whimpy 1,088 cfs at Grants Pass. That has slowed effort for chinook salmon, but fish are getting caught daily by driftboaters. Steelhead effort remains light, but those casting worms or Panther Martin lures (black with yellow spots are the river's gold standard) are picking up fish most evenings.

In the upper Rogue, it's flies-only through October, and anglers are doing better now swinging streamer flies than those nymphing. Flows are an issue for driftboaters, with the water running 1,064 cfs at Dodge Bridge and 1,207 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site. Those with spinning rods can cast flies and bobbers, but they are allowed no added weights or attachments. Even swivels are banned now.

APPLEGATE: The river is open for trout fishing but not for adult steelhead, with catch and effort light. There is no angling for fall chinook.

CHETCO: The river is open to trout fishing, and look for sea-run cutthroat trout in tidewater. The fall gear restrictions are in place.

COOS: Fall chinook fishing has been good in tidewater for those trolling cut-plug herring during the high slack tide.

COQUILLE: Trolling cut-plug herring with flashers has worked well for fall chinook from tidewater to the Rocky Point ramp.