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Fishing Report: Friday, April 8


COASTWIDE: Ocean anglers enjoyed excellent bottomfishing success this past week, and conditions should be good enough to keep hitting the water in the morning for great mixes of lingcod and black rockfish, with the occasional vermilion tossed in for good measure.

Limits of lings and rockfish are coming in daily from Coos Bay and Brookings, with the occasional trip heading out of Gold Beach. Water conditions are forecast to be decent through the weekend, with five-knot winds and 4- to 6-foot swells forecast for today, followed by 10-knot winds and 5-foot swells Saturday with some rain. Sunday's swells are forecast to drop down to 4 feet. Mornings will be better, because the afternoon winds can put enough extra chop on the water to separate a man from his lunch.

Lingcod are spawning and aggressive. The ling limit is two fish, and jigging just off kelp beds is very good. Anglers can keep up to one canary rockfish as part of the seven-fish bottomfish aggregate limit, but anglers should release canaries to ensure the quota is not filled, which could close the bottomfishing season.

The ocean and bays are open to crabbing coastwide. Catches have been improving in bays and will remain good until the next significant rain.

Razor clamming remains closed south of Tillamook Head, while bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide. Mussels can be taken coastwide. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.


AGATE: The lake is full. It is still pretty murky, but some bass, crappie and perch have been caught with night crawlers or larger plastic worms fished very slowly around submerged structure. This week's warm weather will get the bass more active. The boat ramp is usable and closes at sunset. No trout stockings are planned this year.

APPLEGATE: The lake got 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago, and another 10,000 legals are headed there next week, but the best action has been on holdover trout near the mouth of Carberry Creek and other water sources on worms, PowerBait and small spinners. The lake is at 1,972 feet above sea level, up eight feet this past week and 15 feet shy of full. Trolling for trout is always a good choice with Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm and small flashers farther down in the reservoir and in the Seattle Bar area. Watch for floating debris.

DIAMOND: The lake is still frozen over, with poor ice and very little open water. However, the Forest Service may add a couple of stop-logs at the Lake Creek outflow to rise the lake level, and that will break up the ice rather quickly. Until then, it's a non-show.

EMIGRANT: The lake was 94 percent full Thursday. Bass are starting to bite thanks to warming water, and this week's summerlike conditions sure helped that. Fish plastic worms or grubs very slowly around structure. Look for an improved bite next week amid very warm afternoons. The lake received a shot of 1,000 legal-sized rainbows this week, and they'll be hanging in the lake's lower end for a few weeks.

FISH: The lake was up a bit to 55 percent full Thursday, and pockets of open water are forming. Soon anglers will be bait-fishing with worms or PowerBait for a mix of holdover rainbows, land-locked chinook and tiger trout, which must be released unharmed. When the water warms, start casting lures and flies that look like small chubs.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well from the bank near the dam for rainbow trout up to 19 inches. Worms under bobbers and PowerBait in the shallows are good bets, as the bigger fish will be patrolling the shallows for early-emerging insects. The Willow Point boat ramp is open and usable, but the other public ramps remain closed. The marina is closed, but water is floating the docks for the first time in about two years. The water is cold, and the trout are somewhat sluggish. The lake is up to 63 percent full and rising quickly.

HYATT: The lake is open, and the ice has melted, but no boat ramps are open, and there is little activity there. The lake is at 62 percent full, up 8 percent in the past week. The best access should be near the dam, but cold water has trout lethargic and bass inactive.

LOST CREEK: Inflows are ebbing and that makes the lake settle down, so it is starting to fish better for stocked rainbow trout. It will get even better next week after the planting of 10,000 more legal-sized trout and the first 800 trophy-sized rainbows for this year. They will be split between the two boat ramps. The best bank fishing remains near the Takelma ramp, and trollers are working the water around the dam's northwest edges. Trollers should start with green Wedding Ring lures with a piece of worm. Land-locked salmon remain in the mix and they've been holding deeper than the trout. The lake is on the rise and was listed Thursday at 1,865 feet above sea level, up four feet from last week and seven feet from full.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice has deteriorated and is not safe for ice-fishing. There is a little open water around the shore, but significantly more melting is needed before decent fishing can return. When more ice melts, look for bait fishing to start for trout and perch in the shallows near the resort. 

WILLOW: Trout fishing is improving now that another 4,000 legal-sized rainbows were stocked there this week to go with the 4,000 stocked there last month. Most of this weekend's catches will be around that ramp. The lake is almost full.


ROGUE: Early spring chinook salmon continue to trickle into Cole Rivers Hatchery, while the upper Rogue's winter steelhead run is starting to show up in decent but not spectacular numbers. The middle Rogue is seeing a late flurry of small hatchery winter steelhead, while the lower Rogue is seeing increased springer action for bankies and boat anglers.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue for winter steelhead, mainly by default. This is a "tweener" time in the Rogue as the steelhead run starts to peter out and the springers start dominating the interest of anglers. But don't overlook upper Rogue winter steelhead biting worms, pink plastic worms and plugs. Bring sunscreen.

In the upper Rogue, outflows from Lost Creek dam were increased Thursday from 2,000 cubic feet per second to 2,600 cfs to slow the filling rate of Lost Creek Lake. That boosted river flows to good conditions for winter fish. While it likely put off the bite Thursday, it should bode well for the weekend. Flows Thursday morning at Dodge Bridge were 2,634 cfs, but look for that to be about 3,100 cfs this weekend. Plugs are out-producing roe and worms. Pink and blue as well as gold are good winter steelhead plug colors for this time of year.

Almost 154 new winter steelhead were captured Thursday at Cole Rivers Hatchery, so the run is definitely moving. The count is up to 893 steelhead, which remains under average but not too bad.

Anglers riverwide can keep one wild winter steelhead 24 inches or longer per day and five per year through April. However, most of the wild fish are getting dark or have already spawned so they should be released unharmed.

In the lower Rogue, plunkers continue to find springers from Indian Creek to Huntley Park using a mix of lime-chartreuse and pearl-pink Spin Glo's in about 6 feet of water. Weights of up to 8 ounces have been used. A surprisingly decent showing of late-run and bright steelhead are getting caught by plunkers. Boat anglers this week have gotten into the mix as well, doing well with anchovies or chartreuse and silver Kwikfish in sizes K-9 and K-13. They're anchored in migration lanes from the Willows up to Canfield Riffle. Flows at Agness were at about 5,800 cfs and holding fairly steady. That's excellent conditions for lower river springers.

In the middle Rogue, the winter steelhead bite picked up this week for smaller hatchery steelhead from the mouth of the Applegate down to Galice. Worms and corkies were working well, as were Mag Lip 3.5 plugs. Bankies can use side-planers effectively at current flows and those forecast into next weekend. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 3,167 cfs and are forecast to climb thanks to the increased Lost Creek Lake outflows.

APPLEGATE: The river is closed for the season and will reopen in late May.

CHETCO: The river is closed for the season.

ELK: The river is closed for the season.