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Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 23


COASTWIDE: A fairly calm ocean with decent winds are headed to the South Coast this week, where rockfish catches have been good and halibut has been slow. Winds of 10 knots with three-foot swells are forecast for today, but that might include some rain. Saturday is expected to clear up, with winds up to 15 knots and swells up to six feet. Four-foot swells are forecast for Sunday.

Salmon anglers are gone with the season along the South Coast, but there is plenty of action in the Rogue and, to a lesser extent, Chetco estuaries. The Chetco bubble fishery opens Oct. 1-3 off the Chetco mouth.

Ocean trolling out of Coos and Winchester bays is good for coho but slow for chinook.

Rockfish anglers must stay inside the 20-fathom line while fishing for rockfish at least through September, and possibly for the rest of the season. 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. Anglers can keep one cabezon a day.

The Central Oregon all-depth halibut season likely will reopen next weekend, and a decision on an extension will be announced Friday. The South Coast halibut season will remain open through October, but catches this past week were very low. Creel checkers reported one in 10 halibut anglers last week caught a fish.

The tuna season appears to be over out of Coos Bay.

The ocean and bays are open to crabbing coastwide, and crabbing in Coos Bay has been very good. No new minus tides are in the offing this week for clammers.

Razor clamming is 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.


AGATE: The lake was listed Thursday at 20 percent full and fading fast. 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. Electric trolling motors are OK.

APPLEGATE: Trolling for rainbows has improved, and fish stocked earlier this year are putting on some size. Some anglers are catching rainbows up to 18 inches by trolling deep higher in the reservoir and off points. Bass fishing is best off points and near submerged trees. The lake was listed at 73 feet shy of full Thursday, down seven feet in the past week, thanks to very little inflow.

DIAMOND: The lake is fishing a little better during the day as the weather cools. PowerBait and worms are 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. Another 300,000 fingerlings were stocked recently and should be avoided until they are of legal 8-inch size, and they're pretty close to legal size. Be careful when releasing tiger trout, which can't be kept.

EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 24 percent full and is dropping fairly quickly as the irrigation season and its water withdrawals start to wind down. Trout fishing has slowed dramatically, with a mix of warmwater species hanging in despite recent cooler weather. 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 22 percent full Thursday. The lake got 900-trophy trout stocked at the Forest Service boat ramp this week, and that should draw high interest from late-season anglers. Lake visibility and water quality is good, particularly near underwater springs. Fish PowerBait for a mix of holdover rainbows and landlocked chinook. Tiger trout as big as 18 inches have been caught, but they must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: Fishing is starting to pick up a bit as cooler evenings help cool the water to more trout-friendly temperatures. Holdover trout in the 16- to 19-inch range are being caught. The lake has dropped slightly to 49 percent full and remains higher than Hyatt and Emigrant.

HYATT: Trout fishing has slowed, and bass fishing is good. 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 42 percent full.

LOST CREEK: The lake is starting to drop more slowly now that outflows are holding steady at 1,150 cubic feet per second, and that level should hold for the remainder of the month. The better fishing for rainbow trout is upstream of Peyton Bridge, where water temperatures are more favorable for trout. Fishing is fair to good for 10,000 legal-sized trout and 1,075 trophy trout stocked there in August. That's the last trout stocking scheduled for Lost Creek until October. 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 60 feet below full pool and a few inches above normal fall low pool.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is fishing fair to good for a mix of rainbows, brown trout and perch near the resort with worms under bobbers and PowerBait off the bottom. Fishing is best at dawn and dusk.

WILLOW: Trout fishing has slowed for the mix of legal-sized and pounder rainbow trout stocked in July 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 year. Fishing is poor.


ROGUE: The upper Rogue is steeped into the flies-only season and more anglers are turning to egg flies as the chinook spawn starts picking up on gravel bars. The middle Rogue has been a bit stalled on summer steelhead with bait, but the fall chinook bite has significantly dwindled. The lower Rogue bay has picked up this week with a good a mix of fall chinook and coho, while more adult summer steelhead and halfpounders are moving up into the Agness area amid good flows for fly-fishing.

That keeps the lower Rogue bay the best bet, thanks to a mix of good bay catches and what should be very good fly-fishing for halfpounders and adult summer steelhead as Lost Creek Lake water releases drop. The bay picked up this week for fall chinook, and rains were not heavy enough to coax fresh fish out of the bay. That's excellent news for trollers working from the jetties to the mouth of Indian Creek. A mix of wild and hatchery coho are also starting to show up, but four out of five are wild coho that must be released unharmed. Trolling smallish anchovies with a Rogue blade rig is best. There appear to be lots of jacks in the bay, as well. Bank anglers in the Indian Creek area and off the sand spit are getting into the action, tossing pink RoosterTails or Little Cleo's for chinook. That generally marks the return of chinook to the Indian Creek Hatchery.

Fly-fishing and bait fishing for halfpounders and adult summer steelhead is pretty good as fresh fish move into the lower Rogue canyon daily. The flow at Agness was down to 1,568 cfs, and that's excellent for swinging streamers for halfpounders. Look for that to remain until the first decent rain.

In the upper Rogue, it's artificial flies only from the Fishers Ferry boat ramp all the way to the deadline at Cole Rivers Hatchery. That means traditional fly gear or spinning rods with flies and bobbers but no added weights or attachments. That includes swivels. Swinging big streamers while wading or from a boat is still good amid low and not yet too cold water. The summer steelhead will start getting less active as water-release temperatures from Lost Creek Lake drop. Most fly-fishers are fishing a combination of an ugly bug dropper and now an egg fly fished downstream of spawning chinook. Be careful not to wade in redds.

The 49 new steelhead collected Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery is a bit lower than last week and pushes the total so far to 1,655 fish. The 10-year running average for this week in the run to Cole Rivers is 1,303 steelhead.

Flows in the upper Rogue out of Lost Creek were down to 1,150 cfs and will hover there through September. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a skinny 1,223 cfs and 1,358 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site.

Middle Rogue anglers are moving away from fall chinook, but those still fishing for them are getting decent catches on plugs. Summer steelhead fishing with streamer flies or worms is improving in the Grants Pass area, where the flows are 1,153 cfs.

Halfpounders and adult steelhead are in the lower Rogue canyon working their way upstream.