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Fishing Report: Friday, Jan. 8

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: South Coast ocean anglers continue to battle rough conditions as they try to start the new year with bottomfish catches. Fifteen-knot winds and 15-foot swells are forecast for today, followed by 25-knot winds and 11-foot swells Saturday. Things will calm down a bit Sunday, with 10-knot winds and 10-foot swells.

The ocean is open to crabbing coastwide. The bays also are open to crabbing, and catches should be good until at least midweek when more rain is forecast for the coast. Until then, salinity levels are prime for bay crabbing.

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. Some decent afternoon minus tides run today through the weekend, but darkness and rough surf will trump the tides early next week. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake has steadied but remains pretty turbid and was listed Thursday at 57 percent full, but fishing pressure has been nonexistent. 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. The lake level has held steady at 1,888 feet above sea level because outflows are matching inflows. Applegate doesn't start filling until Feb. 1, so expect much of the same through January. Troll for trout up to 16 inches with Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm and small flashers, especially on warmer and cloudy days. 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 are venturing out onto the lake but they're battling lots of snow to get down to the ice. The resort is up to full operation now that downed trees have been cleared and power has been restored. Ice fishing is best with jigs, worms or even PowerBait fished five feet or so under the ice. The lake's new limit 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 at 22 percent full this week.

FISH: The lake is holding steady at 32 percent full and is cloaked in ice and deep snow. No real ice-fishing effort has occurred so far. A sno-park permit is required to park at the Forest Service ramp. The parking lot is plowed, but the ramp is closed. The resort is open on weekends.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake opens to angling today but it is covered with heavy snow and ice. The lake is holding steady at 17 percent full. The best access is near the dam.

HYATT: The lake is open but it is covered with snow and ice. The best access likely will be near the dam because most areas won't be plowed for winter access. The reservoir was up a hair to 13 percent full.

LOST CREEK: Water conditions are starting to settle down in the reservoir after a few weeks of unusually turbid water, but anglers continue to steer clear of the lake despite its reputation as a good winter trolling location. Outflows were down to about 1,200 cfs, and inflows continue to be slightly higher than that. The lake's surface level is still hovering just above 1,813 feet above sea level, and the Takelma boat ramp is open and usable.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is icing over and cloaked with snow. While a few people have ventured onto the lake, the ice likely isn't uniformly strong and thick enough for complete access. 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 River anglers are still chasing late-run summer steelhead in the upper Rogue and early-run winter steelhead in the middle Rogue. Bait-fishing has returned river-wide, but low and clear water has slowed winter steelhead fishing in the lower Rogue.

The best bet is now the middle Rogue, where the fish numbers may be lighter but they are brighter. Winter steelhead that were in the lower Rogue are now scattered from Rogue River on down to Grave Creek, with the Robertson Bridge run and the Hog Creek run the most popular for driftboaters fishing a mix of roe and corkies or plugs. Water conditions are good, with flows of about 3,000 cfs and dropping at Grants Pass. The water is cold, so fish the slower slots. Spawned-out summer steelhead heading back downstream are starting to show up in the Grants Pass area, and these fish should be released unharmed. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead 24 inches or longer per day now from Hog Creek on down.

In the upper Rogue, anglers are busying themselves with the 1,785 "retread" summer steelhead released last week at the TouVelle State Park boat ramp and the Modoc Unit of the Denman Wildlife Area. Many of these fish are dark and of poor quality, but they are biting roe, yarn balls and plugs. None of the released fish have returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery, so water from Shady Cove down to Dodge Bridge probably hold the majority of those fish now.

Worms and watermelon corkies and small egg clusters will be popular upper Rogue baits now. 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 1,200 cfs at noon today and forecast to hold there at least through the weekend.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 2,100 cfs and falling Thursday and 2,914 cfs and dropping slowly at the old Gold Ray Dam site.

In the lower Rogue, plunkers and boat anglers were still picking up winter steelhead this week but low and clear conditions coupled with a rough bar have made for very few fresh steelhead showing up in the mix. Bankies have done best using pink-pearl Spin-Glo's fished right against the bank in four to six 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 down to 5,800 cfs and dropping slowly Thursday.

CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has been good with a mix of roe, sand shrimp and even plugs all attracting fish. Flows Thursday were at about 3,000 cfs and dropping slightly, with steelhead well spread out from the forks on down. Anglers can keep one wild winter steelhead a day and five per season here.

ELK: The river was low, clear and cold Thursday and not likely to improve for winter steelhead through the weekend. 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.