Fishing Report: Friday, Aug. 25
COASTWIDE: Forecasts are a little sketchy for weekend ocean angling, including yet another gale warning that runs through Saturday. Today's forecast calls for winds up to 20 knots and 5- to 8-foot wind waves, followed Saturday by winds of about 10 knots near Brookings and wind waves up to 6 feet. Sunday is expected to be a repeat of Saturday.
Very good to excellent lingcod and black rockfish catches have occurred out of Brookings when the weather has allowed. Blue rockfish catches have been good to very good. The South Coast halibut season is open through Oct. 31, and some very nice fish have been caught when the weather cooperates.
Canary rockfish are part of the 2017 seven-fish marine bag limit, and there is no sub-limit on them, so anglers can have canaries make up their entire seven-fish daily limit if they choose. However, anglers can keep no more than six black rockfish. Also, there's a new combined, four-fish sub-limit for a combination of blue/deacon, China, copper and quillback rockfish. There is no change to the two-fish lingcod daily limit. Cabezon are back in the mix for anglers, but catches have been light.
Rockfish anglers have to remain inside the 30-fathom line for one more week. When that restriction is lifted Sept. 1, anglers must carry at least one descending device on board each boat and use it when releasing any rockfish caught in 30 fathoms of water or deeper.
The Central Oregon near-shore halibut season is closed.
Surfperch fishing is very good to excellent along the South Coast, including the sand spit at the Rogue River mouth, Winchuck Beach and Nesika Beach. Berkley Gulp sandshrimp or sand worms work well and stay on hooks. Prawns also work well.
Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and is picking up in bays as well as the open ocean. A few of the crabs are still with soft shells after molting. Look for crabs to be plenty plump within a few weeks.
Razor clamming is open on beaches from Tillamook Head to Cascade Head. Harvest is closed from Cascade Head south to the California border and from Tillamook Head north to the Columbia River. Bay clams and butter clams are available coastwide, and mussels are open along the southern half of the Oregon Coast. There are no minus tides over the coming week. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake is down to 43 percent full, the lowest it's been this year. Look for crappie, yellow perch and occasional bass in deeper water and anywhere there's shade. The water is very warm. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Rainbows are spread throughout the lake, and hot weather has sent them deeper in the water column and up the reservoir near the mouth of Carberry Creek. Fishing is best in the evenings and early mornings. A worm 10 feet or so under a sliding bobber system is working well at the upper end of the reservoir. Bass fishing off points and around structure in the upper part of the reservoir has been fair to good. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has held releases to 340 cfs. The lake was listed Thursday at 39 feet from full, down more than 5 feet from last week.
DIAMOND: The lake is still fishing very well for rainbows throughout the lake. Anglers continue to catch plenty of fish between 12 and 17 inches. PowerBait floated off the bottom is out-fishing worms under bobbers, with corn yellow and salmon-egg peach popular, but don't forget the glitter chartreuse. Trollers are getting action on Needlefish and Flat Fish. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake was listed Thursday at 51 percent full, down 6 percent in the past week. Bass fishing has held its own for those casting a mix of plastic worms and grubs and crankbaits in the early mornings and evenings. Smallmouth are off rocky points, largemouth largely in the submerged willows. Trolling for trout has slowed in the warm water, with the upper section of the lake best near Emigrant Creek.
EXPO: Fishing is slow in the hot water. No fresh trout have been stocked. Warmwater fish are more accessible now. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are required.
FISH: The lake got 3,000 legal-sized rainbows a month ago, and that's it until September. Fishing is still good, however, thanks to improved water conditions. Catches have been good with PowerBait, as well as leeches and woolly bugger flies, with most trout congregating around cool underwater springs. The lake was down significantly in the past week and was listed Thursday at 67 percent full. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some tigers up to 18 inches have been caught and released so far this year.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: Trout fishing is holding its own despite the usual late-summer swoon, largely because high water has kept the trout feeding, cool and in good shape. Fishing is best along the channel straight across from the resort, with trollers using worms and flashers finding decent fish about 30 feet down. Still-fishing with various colors of PowerBait is good in the mornings and evenings, also in deeper water. The lake was listed Thursday as 85 percent full, which is great for April let alone August. The lake's surface temperature has held steady this week at 72 degrees. A fair amount of algae is present in the water.
HYATT: The lake received 5,100 legal-sized rainbows at the BLM ramp last month, and anglers are catching them with PowerBait or worms under bobbers. However, with a 72-degree surface temperature, trout fishing has slowed and lots of smaller largemouth bass are getting caught. A smallmouth bass was caught there recently by state biologists in an electroshocking boat. The lake has dropped significantly in the past week and is now at 43 percent full.
LOST CREEK: The lake got another 10,000 legal rainbows and 1,500 pound-sized trout a month ago, split between the Takelma and marina boat ramps. The trout have spread out fairly well, with some of the best fishing directly across the lake from the marina and near the dam. The lake was listed Thursday at 47 feet from full, down about 10 feet in the past week. Trolling has been decent near the dam with red or green Wedding Ring lures with a worm. However, anglers need to get deep because the hot surface temperatures are pushing the trout down in the water column. Experiment with varying depths.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Fishing is good for rainbows in the shallows and farther out in the lake with bait or lures. Some kokanee have been caught in the deeper recesses of the lake.
MEDCO POND: The pond got 1,600 legal-sized rainbows in June and 4,000 legals in May. Fishing is good with PowerBait or worms under bobbers.
WILLOW: The lake got 3,000 legal-sized trout and 1,500 pound-sized trout in early June. Catch them on PowerBait or worms.
ROGUE: A mix of spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead continue to create steady but not spectacular fishing in the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue has started to pick up for a mix of early fall chinook and summer steelhead. But the story of August continues to be chinook salmon fishing in the lower Rogue Bay, which was solid again this week.
So that continues to make the lower Rogue the best bet, with catches estimated at about two fish a day per boat, including the tourists. Fishing is best on the morning incoming tides with anchovies and Rogue bait rigs with copper and chartreuse blades, or Brad's cut-plug herring lures.
Adult summer steelhead and halfpounders are showing up in good numbers in the Lobster Creek and Quosatana Creek areas, and dropping water has helped boost catches for those casting Panther Martin spinners, worms and corkies, or streamer flies. Flows at Agness were down to 2,730 cubic feet per second Thursday, which is the lowest of the year but still a bit high for optimal steelhead fishing.
In the upper Rogue, anglers can still double-dip for steelhead and chinook downstream of Dodge Bridge, and that's drawing the lion's share of anglers. Upstream of Dodge Bridge is open for steelhead but not chinook.
The Corps of Engineers dropped Lost Creek Lake outflows Thursday by 100 cfs to 2,250 cfs. That's the lowest of the summer. Late-run spring chinook are hitting eggs and sandshrimp back-bounced or fished off divers. Those fishing smaller plugs have hit some nice summer steelhead on both sides of Shady Cove. Evenings are best, but sunrise floats are getting rewarded with nice-sized summer steelhead.
In the steelhead-only water, fly-fishers, particularly spey casters, are doing well on leeches and other bigger bugs. Plug fishing is very good for driftboaters, and worms and corkies or beads are still good and legal for side-drifters and bank anglers, particularly those fishing around dusk.
The early summer steelhead tend to be either 20-inch, first-time spawners or 8-plus pounders that are either wild fish on their second or third spawning run or hatchery females stripped of their eggs and released to the Rogue.
Anglers fishing downstream of Dodge Bridge can keep wild springers as part of their two-chinook limit, while those upstream of the bridge must release wild spring chinook unharmed. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
Another 137 summer steelhead hit Cole Rivers Hatchery this week, upping the tally to 1,406 steelhead. The average to-date is 899 fish, so the run looks solid this year. The 128 spring chinook counted this week ups the total to 3,806, about 55 percent of average.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were down to 2,330 cfs Thursday, 2,552 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site, and 2,220 cfs at Grants Pass.
In the middle Rogue, anglers targeting summer steelhead are catching fish most evenings, with Panther Martin lures or worms and corkies the top offerings. Also, the float from Valley of the Rogue to Chinook Park has been productive for steelheaders. A few fall chinook have been caught near the mouth of the Applegate River, and bankies are starting to line up at Finley Bend.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing, but all wild trout must be released unharmed. Most of the trout are actually steelhead pre-smolts.
CHETCO: A few more wash-in fall chinook are getting caught in the estuary, but not at the pace of earlier this month. Lots of anchovies are in the bay.