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Fishing Report: Friday, Jan. 1

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers will have a chance to reel in the new year with bottomfish thanks to marginal but fishable conditions. Today's forecast calls for 15-knot winds and seven-foot swells, followed Saturday with much of the same and then swells up to nine feet Sunday.

The ocean is open to crabbing coastwide now that concerns about high domoic acid levels in crabs has waned. The bays also are open to crabbing, and catches should be good until the next freshet comes.

Near-shore jigging for black rockfish and lingcod has been good when anglers can get out.

Razor clamming is closed statewide but bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide. Mussels are open north of Yachats but closed on the South Coast. No good afternoon minus tides for clamming are expected until Thursday. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake rose dramatically this past week and was listed Thursday at 55 percent full, but fishing pressure has been nonexistent due to very turbid water. The boat ramp is usable. No trout stockings are planned. Look for some midday bass fishing when a patch of warm days occur. The lake closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing poorly for smallmouth bass and trout as water levels are fluctuating regularly during freshets and post-storm water releases. The lake level was back down to 1,888 feet above sea level, and outflows of are down to 330 cubic feet per second as hydrologists have purged the reservoir of water captured during the latest storms. As conditions settle down, troll for trout up to 16 inches with Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm and small flashers. 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 is usable.

DIAMOND: A few ice fishermen hit the lake Thursday, but heavy snow on likely thin ice means anglers should be very cautious about venturing onto the lake. The resort is up to full operation now that downed trees have been cleared and power has been restored, but the access road is packed snow and ice. When the lake does get hard enough for ice fishing and access is possible, jigs and worms or even PowerBait fished five feet or so under the ice will work well. The lake's eight-trout limit ended Thursday. The new limit as of Jan. 1 is five trout per day. The fingerlings stocked in spring are eclipsing the 8-inch minimum size and should be around 12 inches or more by spring.

EMIGRANT: The lake is rising slightly but it remains very low and murky, which has pushed most angling effort away. The lake was only 20 percent full despite recent rains.

FISH: The lake is up a hair to 32 percent full and starting to ice over, but the ice remains unsafe for ice fishing, and fishing activity has been nonexistent. A sno-park permit is required to park at the Forest Service ramp.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake opens to angling today but it is covered with snow and ice that is likely too thin for safe fishing. The lake is a year-round destination now. The lake is up slightly to 17 percent full.

HYATT: The lake opens today to year-round angling but it is covered with snow and ice that is likely too thin for safe fishing. The best access likely will be near the dam because most areas won't be plowed for winter access. The reservoir was up to 12 percent full.

LOST CREEK: Rising inflows have dirtied the lake, and that has turned most anglers away, but conditions are improving. The reservoir is starting to settle and outflows have been reduced to 1,350 cubic feet per second today. The lake's surface level was back down to 1,813 feet above sea level and the Takelma boat ramp is open and usable.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is icing over but the thickness is unsafe for angling. When the ice hardens and thickens, look for good ice fishing with jigs and worms for trout and perch.

WILLOW: Trout fishing is very slow. The boat ramp remains usable, and the lake is open year-round. Water levels have improved.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Rogue anglers are chasing late-run summer steelhead in the upper Rogue and early-run winter steelhead in the middle and lower Rogue as bait-fishing returns today, and anglers can again keep a wild winter steelhead downstream of Hog Creek.

But the best bet remains the upper Rogue, in a very artificial way. Cole Rivers Hatchery workers on Wednesday trucked and released 1,785 excess "retread" summer steelhead to TouVelle and the Modoc Unit of the Denman Wildlife Area, and these fish should be biting well through the weekend amid lowering and cooling water. The cold water means they won't be moving too quickly upstream, so look to start pounding on these excess steelhead near the mouth of Little Butte Creek.

Worms and watermelon corkies and small egg clusters will be popular upper Rogue baits largely because they've been off limits since Aug. 31. But don't forget Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with purple and pink variations among the most popular. Water color is good and a little green thanks to a bit of turbidity still coming out of Lost Creek Lake. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were down to 1,310 cfs at noon today and forecast to hold there at least through the weekend.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 2,600 cfs and falling Thursday and 3,516 cfs and dropping slowly at the old Gold Ray Dam site.

In the middle Rogue, anglers are catching early winter steelhead and a few summer steelhead from Grants Pass on down despite very cold temperatures and dropping water. Flows at Grants Pass were just under 4,000 cfs and dropping amid good color for winter steelhead fishing.

In the lower Rogue, plunkers were hammering winter steelhead most of last week using pink-pearl Spin-Glo's fished right against the bank in 2 to 4 feet of water. Bank anglers using black and white Hot Shots also were starting to do well this week from Agness on down. Flows at Agness were at 8,141 cfs and dropping slowly Thursday, so look for improved conditions throughout the week.

The Rogue's new limit includes one wild steelhead over 24 inches long and five per year downstream of Hog Creek.

CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has started to taper off as water conditions drop and clear. Flows Thursday were at 2,340 cfs and dropping. Fishing with a mix of roe and puff balls and plugs has worked well all week. Anglers can keep one wild winter steelhead a day and five per season here.

ELK: The river measured at the hatchery was at 3.8 feet and dropping, with clear green water in the low 40s. That has winter steelhead fishing slowing down. Look for it to pick up with the next freshet, which is not forecast for at least another week. Side-drifting roe will be best.