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Fishing and Hunting Report

ROGUE — Early spring chinook fishing remains slow river-wide, and winter steelhead fishing has gotten pretty slow now that water levels are up and any late-run fish are spawning. But springer fishing is so slow that playing with the winter steelhead remains the best bet for the week.

And that's mainly because of the numbers. Winter steelhead still are streaming over Gold Ray Dam at a frenzied clip. Triple-digit days remain the norm at Gold Ray Dam, where the winter steelhead count is up to 12,236 fish through Tuesday. The best catches are scattered throughout the upper Rogue, with a good contingent of steelhead caught daily at the Hatchery Hole.

Fish late-season winter steelhead with everything in your arsenal, except flies. The water's too high for decent fly-fishing for winter steelhead. Plugs, roe and yarn balls are best.

The spring chinook migration into the upper Rogue remains slower than a crawl. Through Tuesday, just 28 fish were counted over the dam; the seven fish spied Tuesday was the most in any single day. Stay tuned for springer info.

Anglers in the middle Rogue are losing interest with winter steelhead and doing their best to scare up the first springers of the year, but so far fishing has been very slow. Normally, Rainie Falls and the Weasku Inn would be relatively hot and busy for springers, but the crowds, the action and the catches have been very poor so far.

Flows have increased this week in the upper Rogue, and that's helping boost migration as well. Releases from Lost Creek Lake were actually down to 1,570 cubic feet per second Wednesday, but look for the Corps of Engineers to bump that up after this week's rains. Flows Wednesday at Gold Ray Dam were up to 3,400 cfs — about 600 cfs more than last week. That has improved, so figure that the winter steelhead are on the move.

In the lower Rogue, spring chinook fishing remains slow and sparse despite good water conditions. The river just upstream of tidewater has good color to it and the temperature has hovered around 53-54 degrees. That should mean excellent catches, but less than 10 fish are getting caught a day there.

Downstream from the hatchery to the mouth, anglers may keep one wild steelhead a day over 24 inches, and no more than five of those per season. Fin-clipped hatchery fish over 16 inches can be kept as adults, and up to two a day for those (except it's just one hatchery fish if you keep a wild steelhead that day).

For daily flow reports out of Lost Creek Lake, call 800-472-2434.

APPLEGATE — The river is closed to fishing until May 19.

CHETCO — The river is closed to all fishing until May 19.

ELK/SIXES — Both rivers were closed to all angling until May 19.

ILLINOIS — The Illinois is closed to all angling until May 19.

UMPQUA — The North and South Umpquas continue to fish fairly very well for winter steelhead Some fresh fish remain present in both systems. The South Umpqua is fishing best for driftboaters. The South Umpqua remains open to winter steelhead fishing through April. The North Umpqua has slowed a bit after a hot steelhead bite the past few weeks. A few early spring chinook are getting caught on the lower end of the river, while a few big spring chinook were caught this past week along the lower section of the North Umpqua downstream of Winchester Dam.

Sturgeon fishing should improve in the estuary now that higher, dirtier water is coming down to Reedsport.

Lake Outlook

HOWARD PRAIRIE — The lake is closed to angling.

HYATT — The lake is closed to angling.

LOST CREEK — The lake's surface temperature has jumped to 50 degrees finally, and that's starting to wake up the trout and bass. The lake was stocked recently with 25,000 fresh legal-sized rainbow trout. The fish were distributed at Takelma Boat Ramp and the marina. The lake is now less than five feet from full. The smallmouth bite has picked up this past week along the edges of the lake and in sunny coves, and it should be improving daily with more sunny days.

EMIGRANT — Winter weather conditions have broken the lake but water conditions have remained cold for a warmwater bite in the willows. Look for better bass, perch and bluegill fishing by the end of the weekend if warm weather continues to improve lake conditions.

A health advisory has been issued about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

APPLEGATE — Trout fishing has improved for both legal-sized rainbow trout and stocked salmon, which tend to school at rocky points. Legal-sized rainbows were stocked last week and this week, with the truck stopping at Hart-Tish Park and the Copper boat ramp. The Carberry Arm also has a lot of trout there. The lake remains about 11 feet from full.

Anglers can keep up to five rainbow trout or stocked salmon a day, but only one fish can be more than 20 inches long. Also, no bass between 12 and 15 inches can be kept, and only one bass larger than 15 inches can be kept.

WILLOW — Fishing for stocked rainbow trout has been good and improving daily. The cold water still has the bass and crappie sluggish. The boat ramp and store are open.

EXPO POND — One of the ponds near Gate 5 was stocked earlier this year with excess summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery. The pond also will get a complement of legal-sized rainbows and grade-out steelhead this week. Trout catches should be good, but catches on the old winter steelhead released there in January remain poor. Only one of these steelhead over 20 inches can be kept daily, and they are legally considered trout that do not have to be added to a salmon/steelhead tag.

KLAMATH/ AGENCY LAKES — Fishing for large Klamath trout has improved throughout the lake during as warming temperatures have gotten fish moving.

Ocean Outlook

The ocean outside of Brookings was rough Wednesday and fishing was probably not a good choice this week. When fishing was going, the lingcod bite had slowed a bit but it still remains very good out of Brookings when weather conditions allow for easy passage.

Dungeness crabs are very plentiful throughout South Coast estuaries, but the vast majority of crab this season has been undersized.

Perch fishing has been good off the beach at Kissing Rock near the mouth of Hunter Creek as well as the rock bay at Ophir. A few striped bass also have been caught near shore around Ophir this past week. However, wait for the surf to die down at least two days before trying.

The entire Oregon coast is now open for razor clams, bay clams and mussels. Before doing any clamming, check for any updated health advisories by calling the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Shellfish line at 800-448-2474 for updates. For more information about razor clams and current status of particular areas see the ODFW razor clam site at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/razorclams online.

Hunting Outlook

JACKSON — Spring turkey hunting began Sunday and success has been extremely slow. The weather has been the biggest culprit. Perpetual storm fronts have kept the birds a bit inactive and quiet. When the weather breaks, look for some excellent hunting throughout the valley edges. Spring bear season is open, and success should be better than average. The South Coast is brimming with bears. Hunters should focus around fresh grasses and on south slopes for bear activity. Cougar hunters are reminded to buy a 2007 cougar tag, and a new regulation this year allows some hunters to buy two tags. With low snow levels, cougar tracks may be easily located along ridge lines. Predator calls have been successful.

Watchable Wildlife

ROGUE — A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The structure was built by the Oregon Hunters Association and is accessed by a paved, wheelchair-accessible pathway. It is on Whetstone Pond, just north of the ODFW office.

GENERAL — The Oregon Coast Birding Trail Guide at www.oregoncoastbirding.com highlights great birding opportunities all along the Oregon coast. It's divided into sections of coastline, and the north coast is only a click away from the main home page. Links to checklists and sponsors can be found on the home page as well.

COAST — Gray whales are migrating south from the Bering Sea on their way down along the Pacific coast to the Baja area. Late December and early January is the peak of the migration season, but the migration continues through March. There are a number of excellent places to view the whales. From north to south, including Harris Beach near Brookings and Cape Arago near Charleston. Binoculars are recommended.