FISHING REPORT: Friday, Nov. 21
COASTWIDE: Hazardous seas are forecast through tonight and things won't get much better this weekend, with 15-knot winds and 12-foot seas predicted. Winds up to 60 mph are forecast for the Gold Beach area, blowing even the gulls off the ocean for the weekend.
The South Coast halibut fishery is closed until spring. Ocean salmon fishing is closed as well, except off the Elk and Sixes mouths, but effort has been light because of poor weather.
Anglers can venture past the 30-fathom line for bottomfishing, but few will bother, as near-shore fishing is good for black rockfish and the occasional lingcod, which have moved farther offshore. The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Anglers can keep one cabezon as part of that limit. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
Crabbers have been doing very well for legal-sized males in most Oregon estuaries, with boat crabbers landing limits or close to them in Coos Bay and other spots. The rain will push the Dungeness lower in coastal estuaries briefly. The ocean is closed to sport and commercial crabbing until Dec. 1.
Razor clam digging in Clatsop County is about as good as it gets. A record 16 million clams are estimated for the 18-mile stretch of beach from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head. The previous record estimate was 9 million in 2005. The limit is the first 15 clams dug. Razor clamming is closed from the California border to Heceta Head near Florence because of elevated bacteria levels. Evening minus tides through this weekend should bring out the clammers around Charleston if the winds don't blow them away. Mussels are open along the entire Oregon Coast. Call the state shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before harvesting.
COOS BAY: Black rockfish catches are good off the north jetty, and crabbing is very good for boat crabbers and decent for dock crabbers. Look for crabbing to slow through the weekend as high winds and rain hit the coast, then it should pick up again next week. Many red rock crabs in the Charleston area have been tagged as part of a study. Anyone who catches one is urged to call state fish biologists at 541-888-5515.
BROOKINGS: The ocean is a bust for the weekend thanks to hazardous seas and 12-foot swells. Chinook are spread throughout the river.
GOLD BEACH: The Rogue bay has turned off for chinook and coho salmon, except for a handful of chinook milling around the mouth of Indian Creek waiting to run upstream on the next freshet.
AGATE: The lake is up to 5 percent full, but it's still so murky that it's unfishable.
APPLEGATE: The lake is fishing fairly well for holdover rainbow trout 10 to 14 inches long, but there is little effort there. Trollers are finding fish with Wedding Ring lures spiced with worms between 40 and 60 feet deep. Hart-Tish Park and its boat ramp are closed, and the ramp at Copper is no longer usable. That leaves only the French Gulch ramp for launching. Bass fishing is good with crankbaits and grubs. The lake was down to 97 feet from full, dropping another 7 feet this past week. That, however, is standard before winter storms move in.
Applegate Lake has a standing advisory against eating too many portions of warmwater fish caught in the lake because of elevated mercury levels found in the bass and crappie.
DIAMOND: Fishing for trout has been decent. Most of the action is still-fishing with PowerBait or with worms under bobbers. Vary your depths. Trolling is slow. The North Ramp near the resort remains open, but the campgrounds are closed. The limit is eight trout longer than 8 inches per day, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. Diamond Lake remains open year-round.
EMIGRANT: The county park boat ramps are unusable. The lake has inched up to 10 percent full. There is some bank fishing where Emigrant Creek hits what's left of the lake and near the rowing boathouse, but not much action is going on. Driving on the lake bed is illegal.
FISH: The lake has inched up to 25 percent full after being below the water-gauge most of last month. No boat ramps are usable, however. A few people fishing on float tubes are faring very well for a mix of trout and chinook salmon. Most of the fishing is with bait near the center of the lake or from the bank near the resort. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Chinook are legally considered trout and can be kept as part of the five-trout daily limit. The chinook are in 12- to 14-inch range.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is closed to angling until April 25.
HYATT: The lake is closed to angling until April 25.
LOST CREEK: Fishing for trout is best upstream of Peyton Bridge, though declining surface temperatures should start getting the trout to spread out more. Some 15-inch trout have been taken there recently. Bass fishing is very good with a mix of crankbaits and plastics. At 1,811.6 feet above sea level, the water level is below the bottom of the marina boat ramp, but the Taklema ramp is usable. Inflows are now matching outflows, and that will remain the norm between storms.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Trolling with green or black Wedding Rings is working well for rainbow trout, while pink ones are knocking the kokanee well for those bothering to try. Water levels remain very good. Still-fishing with PowerBait from the bank has been good for trout, especially early.
LEMOLO: Fishing is good for a mix of holdover lunker trout from earlier fall stocking. Trolling deep gets a mix of trout and kokanee, while still-fishing near the resort with PowerBait is good. From now through Dec. 31, all brown trout must be released. The reservoir still will be open for fishing, and rainbow trout and kokanee can be harvested for the five-trout limit.
WILLOW: Fishing from the bank with PowerBait or worms has been fair around the resort and directly across from the county boat ramp. Trollers could try Tasmanian Devils or Triple Teasers, or wind-drift worms in the afternoon. Boat traffic and fishing effort remain very light.
ROGUE: The upper Rogue will see its first significant rise of the fall season from decent rains forecast for the weekend, while the middle Rogue is slow for summer steelhead and the lower Rogue is decent for a mix of early winter steelhead and late-season fall chinook. But wind and rainfall will get the better of Curry County anglers this weekend.
That makes the best bet the upper Rogue upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp. That's the stretch where the entire tackle box is available for summer steelhead. Small clusters of roe or egg-soaked egg flies are the ticket for steelhead used to sucking on loose chinook eggs. Side-drifting eggs or yarn flies at tailouts and the heads of pools is best, but stay out of the chinook redds.
Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are set to hang steady at less than 1,100 cubic feet per second, but weekend rains will get the river yo-yoing. Flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge were 1,234 cfs, but were forecast to eclipse 2,000 cfs and peak Saturday. That should remain fishable, but likely leave a lot of leaves in the water, thanks to Shady Cove landowners who pile leaves next to the bank for just such an occasion.
Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp is open to flies and lures only and no bait. That makes it something of a plugging show with mixed results. Crayfish plugs and black-and-silver WeeWarts are good choices, with K-11 Kwikfish good in deeper, heavier water. Plastic egg flies are also legal for fly-fishers in this stretch, and they are terrific point flies when fished with a heavy dropper fly such as an Ugly Bug.
Flows Thursday were 1,400 cfs at the old Gold Ray site, but forecast to jump to 3,100 cfs. Since that will include lots of runoff from Little Butte and Bear creeks, it likely will be too dirty for steelheading.
In the middle Rogue, fishing is decent everywhere from Valley of the Rogue State Park through Ennis Riffle. Flows at Grants Pass are forecast to be around 3,600 cfs Saturday. Worms with beads or black-and-yellow Panther Martin lures are good offerings.
In the lower Rogue, a few fall chinook are getting caught despite very low and clear water conditions. A few winter steelhead have been caught with plugs from boats around Lobster Creek, but the plunkers haven't touched a winter steelhead yet. Heavy winds and rains should blow the lower Rogue out this weekend, sending anglers to the Elk or Chetco.
CHETCO — The river was at 1,400 cfs Thursday and ready to rise amid heavy rains and winds forecast for today and Saturday. The river likely will pull into shape Sunday for fall chinook. Expect a few early winter steelhead to show up in the mix.
ELK/SIXES — Both rivers should inch up from the rains and they could blow out Saturday from 3 inches of rain forecast for today and Saturday. Chinook are widespread throughout both systems.