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Fishing Report: Jan. 21, 2011

Coastwide - The winds that have hampered fishing along the Oregon Coast for much of the winter are forecast to take a breather, and temperatures are supposed to be near 60 degrees with some mild showers from time to time. But the seas will remain iffy, with 10- to 15-foot swells expected to build in the afternoons through the weekend.

For boaters who can get out, bottomfishing has been decent. The marine aggregate limit remains seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Sport crabbers are allowed on the ocean, but as with bottomfishers, few are fishing for Dungeness because of rough seas. Ocean crabbing near river mouths can be very good in January, and the meat quality in local crab remains very good.

Bay crabbing could start to pick up again this weekend as freshwater flows from recent rain events diminish and salinity increases, especially in deeper ports like Winchester Bay and Coos Bay.

All shellfish fishing is open coastwide, including the popular Clatsop County beaches. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. Be aware that shellfish closures can happen quickly, so call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474 before heading out.

BROOKINGS - After being stuck in the bay last weekend, anglers might find some decent morning conditions either this morning or mid-week for black rockfish jigging. Glow-in-the-dark jigs are the most popular offering now.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow. Crabbing will be fair to good, depending upon how much runoff is hitting the bay this weekend. The south jetty has been good for bottomfishing.

CHARLESTON - A lot of freshwater surged into lower Coos Bay with all the recent rain. Crabbing should pick up once the freshwater has had a chance to flush out of the bay. Good low tides for digging bay clams are forecast for the late afternoons/early evenings this week. Good places to dig for clams in Coos Bay are near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows is slow, and angling effort has been very light at the lake. Trollers could do well. The lake is 75-percent full again. No gas motors allowed.

APPLEGATE - Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers are still doing fairly well when targeting large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. Not much effort recently, but spring-like weather should bring a few trollers to the lake, which was up to 22-percent full as of Tuesday. Shore fishers will still have to navigate some steep banks until the water comes up. The French Gulch boat ramp is usable, but barely for larger boats. Car-toppers and shallow-launch boats are still fine. Hart-Tish Park is closed.

EMIGRANT - The lake is back up to 57 percent full and rising, which likely will slow the trout bite. Poor weather has kept most trollers home, but sunny afternoons should lure a few bank anglers near the dam. Trollers should try red Tazmanian Devils or Wedding Ring lures spiked with a piece of worm.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

HYATT - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

DIAMOND - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

EXPO - The pond is open year-round and fishing remains good for large and trophy rainbow trout stocked there in late October. Chartreuse PowerBait or worms under bobbers are popular choices.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is frozen, and ice fishing has been good for those getting to the lake. Worms or small jigs have worked best.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 15 to 17 inches had been good near the dam, but with high inflows and high outflows from all the rain, lake levels have varied. As conditions moderate, fishing should be good again. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake is being drawn down for flood-control purposes. The Stewart State Park boat ramp is now open because water levels have risen back to the ramp concrete. The Takelma Ramp will remain open throughout the winter. As of Wednesday, the lake was 61-percent full with a surface temperature of 43 degrees.

FISH - The ice was 4 to 5 inches thick last week, and anglers had been fishing the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp with good success. But rain and higher temperatures have created a lot of standing water in the afternoons and icy footing in the early mornings. Worms and jigs are working best for rainbow trout. The resort is open Fridays through Sundays and ice augers can be rented there.

WILLOW LAKE - The public-health advisory against water contact is over, but the boat ramp and county facilities remain closed.

SELMAC - Trout are biting, but effort has been quite light. Try worms, Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs floated off the bottom or PowerBait.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to angling until the fourth Saturday in April.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue has been slow for late-run summer steelhead largely due to lack of fish and high out-flows from Lost Creek dam, while the middle Rogue was just pulling into fishing shape Thursday after last weekend's rains and the lower Rogue has been pretty hot of late for both bankies and boat anglers targeting winter steelhead.

That makes the middle Rogue the best bet, in part because last week's rains likely have drawn a nice slug of fresh winter steelhead into the region. The Galice area should be best for those side-drifting roe, sandshrimp or pink rubber worms along the inside turns of gravel bars. These fish are on the move, so get in front of them.

Bank anglers should be doing well through the weekend in the middle Rogue areas where plunking or side-planers are most popular. Griffin Park is a good bet.

Most of the early winter steelhead are bound for the Applegate River, so any fishing that is focused downstream of the Applegate makes the most sense. Flows remain high, with Grants Pass flows at 9,500 cubic feet per second and dropping. It's the turbidity that has caused the most fits.

Downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp between Merlin and Galice, anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long a day as part of their two-fish daily limit. The wild steelhead season limit here is five.

In the upper Rogue, no bonafide winter steelhead have shown up yet, but they should at any time. Flows out of Lost Creek dam were up to 5,090 cfs on Thursday, with flows expected to hover there for a while as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers starts shaving back reservoir space filled from the recent storms.

The lower Rogue has been high, but conditions have been good enough to fish for winter steelhead for the past two days, and anglers have done well. Bankies using Spin-Glo's and plunking off gravel bars have done better than boat anglers with plugs, but look for the tables to turn toward boat anglers as water conditions continue to drop quickly. The Cop Car plug has worked best.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua was dropping into very good shape for winter steelhead fishing, though flows remain high. Water levels at Riddle on Thursday were at 6,100 cfs and dropping. As the color improves, look for good catches of winter steelhead all the way to Tiller. All wild steelhead must be released.

The North Umpqua is dropping quickly, but it's a tough place to fish in high water. Look for winter steelhead catches to pick up when water conditions improve. It might take a while for the mainstem Umpqua to clear enough for winter steelhead fishing.

COQUILLE - The South Fork of the Coquille has dropped to 1,300 cfs at Powers, providing some very good winter steelhead fishing for those side-drifting roe, as well as for plug anglers.

The wild coho season in the river is over.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk was fishing very well for winter steelhead in the past two days, with high water but good color. A 19-pound steelhead was reportedly caught there Tuesday. Look for good catches at least through the weekend as water conditions continue to drop. The Sixes has remained dirtier than the Elk, but anglers were expecting conditions to be fishable today.

Anglers can keep one wild steelhead a day and up to five per year on the Elk and Sixes.

CHETCO - The river was at 3,755 cfs and dropping fast amid very good winter steelhead fishing conditions. Anglers were crowding onto the Chetco. Side-drifters were doing better than plug anglers, and plunkers are doing well. Most of the hatchery fish are getting caught in the lower stretch, with more wild fish farther upstream.