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Fishing Report: Friday, Aug. 19

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Decent winds but choppy seas await Southern Oregon ocean anglers this morning, with slightly better conditions coming Saturday and more winds Sunday for inlanders looking to escape this weekend's heat with some ocean fishing. Today's forecast starts with five-knot winds  and six-foot swells, followed Saturday by winds of five knots and swells up to five feet. Sunday calls for 15-knot winds but just five-foot wind waves.

Rockfish anglers 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, 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 in the mornings, with continued 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 is closed off Southern Oregon and will reopen for Labor Day weekend.

The halibut season out of Brookings is open south of Humbug Mountain. Catches have been light, so anglers still have 81 percent of their South Coast quota remaining.

The past week has been a no-go for tuna anglers because of winds and rough seas. When they have been able to get out, tuna had been running 30 to 50 miles out of Charleston, and anglers were coming back with four to six tuna each.

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 still closed south of the Siuslaw River because of domoic acid levels, and razors are off limits through September 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.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake was listed Thursday at 42 percent full, and anglers are losing 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, and the lake is dropping fast. However, some anglers are catching rainbows 8- to 16-plus inches by trolling deep higher in the reservoir. Bass fishing is best off points and near submerged trees. The lake was listed at 43 feet shy of full Thursday.

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, especially during hot weather. Another 300,000 fingerlings were stocked recently and should be avoided until they are of legal eight-inch size. Be careful when releasing tiger trout, which can't be kept.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 47 percent full and dropping. Trout fishing has slowed dramatically, with a mix of warmwater species taking up the slack. Fish crankbaits, plastic worms or grubs very slowly and deep around structure on cloudy days. Fishing plastic worms, jigs or grubs is very good in and around submerged willows in the Emigrant Arm and around Songer Butte.

FISH: The lake was 44 percent full Thursday and is dropping 3 percent a week. A recent algae bloom has cut visibility and slowed the trout bite significantly from what it was just a few weeks ago. 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: Fishing is slowing down as it normally does in midsummer. Morning fishing is best. Holdover trout in the 16- to 19-inch range are being caught, but rainbows eclipsing 20 inches are still being caught in deeper water. The lake has dropped slightly to 55 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 50 percent full.

LOST CREEK: The lake is dropping faster, but conditions remain decent for trout and bass anglers. Fishing is fair to good for 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. 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 more than 39 feet below full pool, down four feet from 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 got 1,000 legal-sized trout in June, and that was the last stocking for this summer.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue remains a mix of steelhead-only fishing upstream of Dodge Bridge and a steelhead-chinook show downstream of Dodge, but the heat wave will make prime evening floats rough. Summer steelhead fishing is somewhat slow in the Grants Pass area, and the fall chinook are starting to move into the Galice area now that flows out of Lost Creek Lake are up to get the chinook moving. The lower Rogue saw a lull in catches last week, but things heated up in the lower section of the bay for chinook and summer steelhead that got stuck in the bay because of extremely warm temperatures in the lower Rogue.

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. However, with temperatures forecast in the 100s this weekend, morning floats and wading will be best.

In the upper Rogue, the demarcation is Dodge Bridge. Upstream, a mix of roe, plugs and flies are enticing summer steelhead, with hot days not as productive. Downstream of Dodge, anglers fishing roe or plugs are finding a mix of summer steelhead and late-run spring chinook. Wild springers can be kept downstream of Dodge Bridge as part of the two-fish daily limit. Not all are in great shape, but fish are around. 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 a steelhead. Back-bouncing roe and sandshrimp is also a good bet.

The early summer steelhead run is slowing down. The 61 new steelhead collected Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery pushed the total so far to 1,312 fish, and that doesn't include 779 steelhead recycled back downstream to the Modoc Unit at Denman Widlife Area so far this season. The 10-year running average for this week in the run to Cole Rivers is 861 steelhead.

Flows in the upper Rogue out of Lost Creek are up to 2,200 cfs this weekend, and the rest of the river is up accordingly. Flows at Dodge Bridge are just over 2,400 cfs, 2,300 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site and 2,150 cfs at Grants Pass. Flows at Agness will be down to just over 2,475 cfs for the first time this summer. However, the temperatures at Agness have eclipsed 75 degrees every day this past week, and that's too warm for chinook.

In the lower Rogue, the bay has been good for fall chinook for bank and boat anglers, with lots of 20-plus-pound chinook being caught daily by trollers and bank anglers. Trolling smallish anchovies with a Rogue blade rig is best. With such hot water, all of the action has been from the Jot's Resort boat ramp down to the mouth. 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. Bank casters also are starting to pick up summer steelhead.

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 continue weekly through Labor Day.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing. All wild trout must be released unharmed. No fin-clipped rainbows are stocked there.

CHETCO: The river is open to trout fishing. Look for some sea-run cutthroat and wash-in fall chinook in tidewater and far upper tributaries.