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Fishing Report: Friday, July 29

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Small-craft and hazardous seas advisories are in effect for the Southern Oregon coast through Sunday, with 30-knot winds and nine-foot seas forecast. That will but a lid on salmon, bottomfish and tuna angling and discourage clammers looking to take advantage of some upcoming minus tides.

When anglers do return to the ocean, they must stay inside the 20-fathom line while fishing for rockfish to reduce pressure on yelloweyes. The change is at least through September and possibly for the rest of the season to avoid a mid-season shutdown of bottomfishing. It does not impact salmon, tuna or halibut fishing during those seasons, but anglers can't venture past the 20-fathom curve if they have rockfish on board.

The ocean was pretty rough for anglers much of this past week, but good bottomfishing was reported early in the week, with strong catches of ling cod and black rockfish common out of Coos Bay and Brookings. Jigging just off kelp beds and on rock humps is good along the South Coast. Anglers can keep one cabezon a day.

Fishing for chinook salmon and fin-clipped coho has been somewhat slow coastwide. Wild coho have dominated the catch and must be released unharmed. The chinook are deeper in the water column than coho, and they are more prevalent from Brookings south to the California border. Be careful not to stray into California waters. The fin-clipped coho season ends Aug. 7 but resumes during the Labor Day weekend.

The halibut season out of Brookings is open south of Humbug Mountain. Catches in water around 200 feet deep and due west of the Thomas Creek bridge have been good for anglers using big jigs or large sardines bumped off the bottom. Catches have been light, so anglers still have 88 percent of their South Coast quota remaining.

Tuna fishing was good early this past week before the winds picked up. Anglers were running 30 to 50 miles out of Charleston and coming back with four to six tuna per angler. Currents are shifting daily.

The ocean and bays are open to crabbing coastwide. Crab quality has improved after the recent molt and their shells are starting to firm up.

Razor clamming is closed south of the Siuslaw River because of domoic acid levels, and razors are now off limits on the North Coast for the annual conservation closure. Bay clams, butter clams and mussels are available coastwide. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474. Some excellent minus tides are forecast for the South Coast beginning Monday. 

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake was listed Thursday at 58 percent full and dropping quickly, with anglers starting to lose interest. Fishing is fair at best for a mix of bass, crappie and perch, but mostly perch around submerged willows. Smallmouth are near the dam. No trout stockings are planned this year. No gas motors are allowed, but electric trolling motors are fine.

APPLEGATE: Fishing is slowing down for anglers after a good showing into mid-summer for trout eight to 16-plus inches. The lake hasn't received any new trout since 8,000 legal-sized trout were released in early June. That hasn't deterred anglers, particularly off points high in the reservoir. All the boat ramps are open and operational. Trollers and still-fishers off the bank high up in the reservoir are doing best. The lake was listed at 27 feet shy of full Thursday, and that takes away Seattle Bar. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to release 325 cfs of water, and that led to another four-foot drop this past week.

DIAMOND: The lake is fishing fairly well for rainbows, with PowerBait and worms out-fishing trolling. Fly-fishing chironomid patterns with long leaders is working well, especially on cloudy days. Use long leaders. The rainbows are spread out. Mornings are more productive, but fishing has been decent all day on cloudy days. Another 300,000 fingerlings were stocked recently and should be avoided until they are of legal eight-inch size. Also be careful when releasing tiger trout, all of which must be released unharmed.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 63 percent full. Trout fishing has slowed dramatically, with a mix of warmwater species taking up the slack. Fish crankbaits, plastic worms or grubs very slowly around structure on cloudy days. Fishing plastic worms, jigs or grubs is very good in and around submerged willows in the Emigrant Arm.

FISH: The lake was at 56 percent full Thursday and is dropping faster than it has all season. Another 3,000 legal-sized trout were released earlier this month. Fish PowerBait for a mix of holdover rainbows and landlocked chinook near the Forest Service boat ramp and near springs. Tiger trout as big as 18 inches have been caught, but they must be released unharmed. Fishing around the springs is best.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is slowing down for anglers as it normally does in midsummer, particularly with this current heat wave. Morning fishing is best either from anchored boats using rainbow or chartreuse PowerBait off the bottom near shore or trolling Triple Teasers, Tasmanian Devils and Wedding Ring lures in the old creek channel. Lots of holdover trout in the 16- to 19-inch range are being caught, but rainbows eclipsing 20 inches continue to be caught with regularity in deeper water. The lake has dropped a hair to 59 percent full.

HYATT: Trout fishing has slowed, and bass fishing has improved. Anything red works for bass, especially around the Orchard and in the bay near the BLM ramp. Not much size to the largemouth, though. The lake dropped this week to 57 percent full.

LOST CREEK: The lake is dropping more slowly now, which has stabilized conditions for trout and bass anglers. Fishing is fair to good for the 10,000 legal-sized trout and 1,075 trophy trout stocked there last month. That's the last trout stocking scheduled for Lost Creek until October. Fishing is good with worms in the area where the Rogue flows into the lake above Peyton Bridge. Trollers should start with green Wedding Ring lures with a piece of worm. Landlocked salmon have been holding deeper than the trout. Fish for largemouth in the submerged willows and for smallmouth off rocky points. The lake was listed Thursday at 30 feet below full pool, down about three feet lower than last week.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is fishing very well for a mix of rainbows, brown trout and perch near the resort with worms under bobbers and PowerBait off the bottom. 

WILLOW: Trout fishing improved after 3,225 legal-sized rainbows and 425 pounders were stocked last month at the county boat ramp. The lake is dropping but water clarity is good.

EXPO: The pond near the outdoor stage got 1,000 legal-sized trout last month, and that's the last stocking for this summer. Use worms under bobbers, PowerBait and small spoons slowly retrieved.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Despite the brutal afternoon heat, a mix of spring chinook and summer steelhead are showing up regularly in the mornings and evenings in the upper Rogue, while a few late springers and some early summer steelhead are being caught by middle Rogue anglers. The Rogue bay has been surprisingly good for early fall chinook trolling, but brutal winds and some changing tides have taken away the morning bite.

That makes the upper Rogue the best bet, particularly for those fishing downstream of Dodge Bridge, where they have their pick of wild and hatchery spring chinook and hatchery steelhead available to catch and keep.

More fish are upstream of Shady Cove, but it has largely been a wild-chinook show, with a higher percentage of fish getting released. Those fishing smaller Kwikfish or MagLip lures like 3.5 or even 2.5 will have the best bet for catching either a springer or an early-run summer. Back-bouncing roe and sandshrimp is also a good bet.

The early summer steelhead run is a good one. The 141 new steelhead collected Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery pushed the total so far to 927 fish, and that doesn't include the 176 steelhead recycled back downstream so far this season. That's the best early return since 2013 and well above the 10-year running average of 550 adults.

Flows in the upper Rogue are 1,600 cfs this week out of Lost Creek Lake as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reserves water to release once fall chinook start chugging upstream in about a month. Flows at Dodge Bridge are just under 1,800 cfs, 1,706 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site and 1,539 cfs at Grants Pass. Flows at Agness will be down to just above 2,000 cfs.

In the lower Rogue, the bay continues to be good for early fall chinook for bank and boat anglers, but shifting tides and brutal winds mean the morning bite has been off. Trolling smallish anchovies with the Rogue blade rig is best. Fishing is best near the mouth and around the bridge. There appear to be lots of jacks in the bay, as well. Bank anglers in the Indian Creek area are starting to get into the action, tossing pink RoosterTails or Little Cleo's for chinook. Most of the fish are in the 20-pound class, but there are plenty of 30-plus pounders in the mix.

Another 2,375 legal-sized trout were stocked this week in several locations in and around Union Creek along the far upper Rogue. These releases will continue weekly through Labor Day.