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Fishing Report: Friday, Dec. 4

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers will see more of the high winds and rough surf of the past few days through at least the weekend, with 15-knot winds and 12-foot swells forecast for today. By Sunday, expect 25-knot winds and swells to 19 feet off the South Coast. That not only will keep everyone at bay, it also likely will curb the numbers of late-run chinook salmon and early-run winter steelhead hitting coastal streams this weekend.

The ocean is closed to crabbing from Heceta Head near Yahats down to the California border because of high domoic acid levels in crabs. The bays also are closed to crabbing until further notice, and that closure will be in place at least until early early next week while domoic acid testing continues.

Near-shore jigging for black rockfish and lingcod has been good when anglers can get out, but that has been rare lately.

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.

The ocean off the mouth of the Elk River is now closed to chinook fishing, meaning the entire ocean salmon fishing for the year is over.

Razor clamming is closed statewide and will possibly remain closed for the rest of the year, but bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide. Mussels are open north of Yahats but closed on the South Coast. No minus tides are forecast in the next week. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates.

COOS BAY: Rockfish catches have been fair inside the jetties, but rockfish schools have tapered off after recent rains. The first winter steelhead are starting to show up in the Coos and Millicoma rivers, where fishing with roe and sandshrimp will be best. Crabbing is closed. Trolling for wild coho is now closed for the year.

BROOKINGS: The ocean salmon season is over, and estuary fishing for chinook has been light as more anglers are focused on the upstream regions of the Chetco.

GOLD BEACH: The bay is a bust for fishing other than surfperch off the sand spit. Crabbing remains closed in the bay.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is holding steady at 3 percent full, and fishing pressure has been nonexistent. Slowly fishing purple and other dark, plastic worms should get anglers into bass off the rock dam, but cold water has them very lethargic. The boat ramp is no longer usable. No trout stockings are planned. The lake closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing poorly for smallmouth bass thanks to cold water. Trout fishing has slowed and effort remains extremely light despite being one of the only accessible water-bodies around. 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 three feet to 1,868 feet above sea level. The Forest Service has improved conditions at the French Gulch ramp, adding gravel to make the ramp usable for small boats. However, the approach can get slippery so four-wheel-drive vehicles are encouraged. The Copper ramp also is usable. 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 fishing has been very slow, and what effort exists is at the lake's south end and near the resort, with PowerBait or worms about 5 feet under bobbers. The lake is still ice-free and is open year-round. The fingerlings stocked in spring are starting to reach legal size, but anglers should release them so they can hit the 14-inch range by next spring.

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, rock outcroppings or ridges in the lake bottom. The lake has held steady this week at 10 percent full.

FISH: The lake is up a hair to 25 percent full and is ice-free. Small-draft boats can launch at either the Forest Service ramp or the resort ramp when the resort is open. Effort has been very light. Chinook are legally considered trout here and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. Tiger trout must be released unharmed, but recent reports have tigers over 14 inches long. A sno-park permit is required to park at the Forest Service ramp.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is closed until Jan. 1, when it opens to year-round fishing.

HYATT: The lake is closed until Jan. 1, when it opens to year-round fishing.

LOST CREEK: Wind-drifting worms and slowly trolling green Wedding Ring lures spiked with worms is working fairly well upstream of Peyton Bridge in the no-wake zone and down around the dam near the Takelma ramp, which is the lake's only boat access right now. The lake was rising slowly this week as inflows remain above the 840 cubic feet per second outflows. The Stewart State Park ramps remain closed. The lake's elevation is still listed at 1,786 feet above sea level.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: A mix of rainbows, kokanee and perch are being caught on PowerBait or small spinners near the resort. Some trout sport a tag on their backs. If you catch a tagged fish, check the kiosk for information about how to call in your results. Effort remains extremely light.

WILLOW: Trout fishing is very slow with little effort. The boat ramp remains usable and the lake is open year-round.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Summer steelhead are still on the move in the upper Rogue amid yo-yoing flows, while steelhead fishing in the middle Rogue should improve as water temperatures rise from recent rains. Early winter steelhead continue to move into the lower Rogue, but it's still not enough to make the drive.

That makes the upper Rogue still the best bet. Waters upstream of the Shady Cove ramp are wide open for summer steelhead, with roe or roe-soaked egg flies the top offering for those side-drifting from boats or casting from the bank. Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp is far less crowded for those casting fake eggs or using plugs for summer steelhead. Big leeches will still work occasionally for those swinging flies, but that's more on warm afternoons. Plugs such as the MagLip 3.0 in pink and blue are working great, as are side-drifted, scented egg flies and even small, pink, plastic worms. The fish remain in good shape for early December but they're starting to darken up.

On Wednesday, another 128 fresh summer steelhead and 42 retread steelhead were captured in the Cole Rivers Hatchery pen. That's a pretty fair haul for the first week in December and shows the steelhead are still moving. When they're moving, they bite better.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were down from the end of last week to 948 cubic feet per second and are forecast to start rising some today. Don't look for much help in flows from Lost Creek Lake, where the outflow of 860 cfs is slightly up from last week but still low as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to fill lost storage in the reservoir.

Waters downstream of TouVelle State Park are fishing well for summer steelhead, but effort there remains quite light. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down around 1,300 cfs this week and forecast to increase and warm slightly through the weekend. That's good for steelheaders.

In the middle Rogue, flows at Grants Pass were down from earlier this week to less than 1,200 cfs but are forecast to rise. That's good for those casting bait, flies and spinners for steelhead, most of which are wild and must be released unharmed.

The Agness area is fair for halfpounders, with a mix of slightly increasing water flows and not many fresh fish. These fish will hit 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 fin-clipped halfpounders a day as part of their trout limit without impacting the steelhead catch. Riffles and the heads of pools are best. Flows at Agness were down to 1,638 cfs.

Fly-fishing is still a good option in the lower Rogue, with flows under 1,500 cfs at Agness. Fly-fishing typically is best when flows are below 2,000 cfs, so that's a good thing. Fishing is still best around Lobster Creek.

Early winter steelhead anglers continue to run into a few fish in the Lobster Creek area side-drifting roe from boats. Bait and plugs will work best for them, depending upon water conditions. Now, it's side-drifting roe or worms with watermelon corkies.

CHETCO: New storms should turn the river from a chinook salmon fishery to a winter steelhead fishery. Flows are forecast to peak late tonight around 5,000 cfs and start to drop pretty quickly. If water clarity remains good, look for high-water steelhead fishing from Ice Box on down with a mix of roe as well as larger, rattling plugs. A few fall chinook will be in the mix, but most of them will be dark.

ELK: The river should be peaking this evening and starting to drop, likely bringing in a mix of late-run fall chinook and early winter steelhead.