Fishing Report: Friday, Sept. 15
COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for a small-craft advisory through this evening, followed by what likely will be a rough day Saturday before better conditions arrive Sunday. Today's forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and 3- to 5-foot swells, followed Saturday by winds up to 25 knots in the morning and 5-foot wind waves. Sunday looks the best with 5- to 10-knot winds and 2- to 4-foot swells.
The ocean bottomfishing season ends Sunday night because the black rockfish quota will be met. No lingcod, cabezon or other bottomfish can be targeted. However, flatfish such as in-season halibut and sanddab are legal. The closure is for the remainder of 2017.
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.
Bay crabbing has been very good to excellent in Coos Bay and Winchester Bay. Most of the crabs have recovered from molting and the meat quality is very good.
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 coast. Pre-dawn minus tides are forecast through Tuesday, but it's not safe to turn your back on the ocean in the dark. Before digging, check the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake is down to 31 percent full and dropping. Look for crappie, yellow perch and occasional bass in deeper water and anywhere there's shade. The water is very warm, but cooling weather next week should help. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: Access to the lake remained open Thursday despite area wildfires. Lands south and west of Applegate Lake are closed, and the area at times is very smoky. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped releases to 275 cfs. The lake was listed Thursday at 56 feet from full, down about 6 feet from last week.
DIAMOND: The route from the Rogue Valley to the lake is open but smoky, and that has slowed traffic. Smoke levels have fluctuated day-to-day. Fishing has been very good 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 37 percent full, down 4 percent in the past week. Bass fishing is good early and late in the day for those casting a mix of plastic worms, grubs and crankbaits in the early mornings and evenings. Smallmouth are off rocky points, largemouth are largely in the submerged willows. Trolling for trout has slowed in the warm water, with the upper section of the lake near Emigrant Creek best.
EXPO: Fishing is slow in the hot water. No fresh trout have been stocked. Warmwater fish are the best bet. Access the pond through Gate 5 off Peninger Road. Parking fees are required.
FISH: The lake was listed Thursday at 54 percent full, down 4 percent from last week. It is still fishing well for legal-sized rainbows stocked a month ago, with more stocking scheduled for later this month. Air quality most days is very good. Catches have been good with PowerBait, as well as leeches and woolly bugger flies, with most trout congregating around cool underwater springs. 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 continues to hold on, 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 at 80 percent full, down just a sliver from last week. The surface temperature has dropped below 70 degrees as cooler temperatures hit the mountains.
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. Trout fishing should start picking up as water temperatures continue to drop. The fishery is dominated by small largemouth bass that are being caught trolling or casting worms and small spinners, especially red lures. The lake continues to hold steady at 40 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 60 feet from full and just above the regular fall surface level of 1,812 feet above sea level. 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. Fish 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: The upper Rogue's flies-only summer steelhead season has been good on days when smoke doesn't make rowing the river hazardous, while the middle Rogue has seen a tough bite for fall chinook but a good one for summer steelhead in the evenings. The lower Rogue Bay has been very good for fall chinook when the wind is not blowing, but today and Saturday look to be windy.
That keeps the lower Rogue the best bet, with a mix of chinook in the bay as well as steelhead and halfpounders in the lower river collectively providing the best fishing your lungs can handle.
In the lower Rogue bay, chinook catches have been very good, with some guides limiting out in three hours. The coast is forecast to be windy today and Saturday but calmer Sunday. Cooler temperatures on the horizon mean the chinook should start moving out of the bay next week. 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 very good numbers in the lower seven miles of freshwater, and dropping water has helped boost catches for those casting Panther Martin spinners, worms and corkies, or streamer flies. Flows at Agness were down significantly Thursday to 1,882 cubic feet per second, which is close to ideal for fly-fishing for steelhead by swinging streamers such as red ants and buck-tail Coachmans.
In the upper Rogue, it's back to flies only for summer steelhead through October, and fishing will improve with lower flows. Heavy smoke at times has kept driftboaters off the water and relegated bank anglers to short forays of fishing. Now is when streamer flies, such as big articulated leeches swung with sink-tip lines, work best, followed by nymphing with egg flies behind spawning chinook. Spawners are higher up in the reach. Evenings are best, but anytime the air is breathable is a good time in early September.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers again dropped the water this week and releases from Lost Creek Lake were at 1,150 cfs Thursday.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were down Thursday to 1,244 cfs. That's about 500 cfs lower than last week and starts to leave some places very skinny for driftboaters. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down to 1,486 cfs Thursday.
Anglers fishing downstream of Fishers Ferry boat ramp can keep wild chinook as part of their two-chinook limit, with fishing best in the Grants Pass area. Chinook fishing is closed upstream of Fishers Ferry.
In the middle Rogue, fall chinook are starting to show up regularly in places like Taylor Creek Canyon and around the mouth of the Applegate River, but bankies and boat anglers found a tough bite this past week. Fish with big spoons such as Clancy's or Wobblers. Some boat anglers are sticking with the roe-and-sandshrimp combos.
Anglers are targeting summer steelhead in the evenings, with Panther Martin lures or worms and corkies the top offerings. The float from Valley of the Rogue to Chinook Park has been productive for steelheaders.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to trout fishing, but all wild trout must be released unharmed. Most of the trout are 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.