Fishing report: Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
COASTWIDE: Hazardous seas and small-craft advisories are in effect through tonight and things won't get much better this weekend, with 15-knot winds and 7-foot swells predicted for Saturday. Winds will get worse, with 30-knot winds and 11-foot seas Saturday and 25-knot winds and 11-foot seas Sunday. Not encouraging for valley anglers to hit the coast this weekend.
The ocean crabbing season is open and Dungeness catches off bay mouths should be very good when weather alllows.
The South Coast halibut fishery is closed until spring.
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.
Razor clam digging in Clatsop County is excellent. 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 other than perhaps a short window Saturday morning for some near-shore jigging for black rockfish before the winds kick up.
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 keeping bank anglers and a few boat trollers interested.
AGATE: The lake is up to 11 percent full, but it's still so murky that it's unfishable and the boat ramp is unusable. Also, the Jackson County Parks Department closes access at dusk.
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 30 and 45 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 slow thanks to colder water. The lake was up a bit this week and listed Thursday as 10 percent full.
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 but not spectacular and the lack of effort reinforces this. Most of the action is still-fishing with PowerBait or with meal 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 held steady this week at 13 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 30 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 but also good for deep trolling near the dam. Some 12- to 15-inch trout have been taken there recently. Bass fishing is slowing down dramatically amid plunging water temperatures that saw Thursday's surface temperature at 49 degrees. At 1,814 feet above sea level, the water level has risen enough that the marina boat ramp works. The Taklema ramp will remain usable.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Trolling with green or black Wedding Rings is working OK 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 decent 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's water levels are rising today and will peak Saturday, likely triggering a nice bite for late-run summer steelhead. The middle Rogue is holding on for solid but not spectacular summer steelhead while anglers there wait for fresh early-run winter steelhead to arrive. And down low, early winters are bending rods but not in the kind of fashion that gets anyone but locals interested.
That means the best bet remains the upper Rogue upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, because that's where the entire tackle box is available. Small clusters of roe or egg-soaked egg flies are the ticket for steelhead used to sucking on loose chinook eggs. Pink rubber worms are starting to work well again, too. 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 shot up this past week to slightly more than 2,200 cubic feet per second. Flows Wednesday at Dodge Bridge were at 2,470 cfs and inching upward. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were at 2,750 cfs and forecast to peak Saturday around 3,000 cfs before ebbing somewhat quickly Sunday.
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 or K-9 Kwikfish are good choices. 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.
In the middle Rogue, fishing will be decent everywhere from Valley of the Rogue State Park through the Galice area, where anglers are getting one or two steelhead a day but plenty of fish between 20 inches and 30 inches.
In the lower Rogue, a few winter steelhead have been caught with plugs from boats around Lobster Creek, and plunking with Spin-Glo's and roe has been fair at Dunkelberger Bar and other plunking hot-spots.
CHETCO — The river was at 3,500 cfs Thursday and rising, but forecasts call for flows to drop Sunday and that should make for an excellent few days of fishing for a mix of late-run fall chinook and early winter steelhead. Look for steelhead numbers to balloon in the next two weeks while most fall chinook hit the spawning grounds.
COOS — The wild coho season is closed in the basin.
ELK/SIXES — The Elk was listed at 4 feet and rising slowly Thursday at the Elk River Hatchery, with jade-green water color. As the river starts to drop Sunday, look for excellent late-season fall chinook fishing as well as a mix of early winter steelhead river-wide.