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Fishing Report: March 4, 2011

Coastwide - Hazardous seas warnings remain in effect through today along the Oregon Coast just as the latest storm fronts and rains hit the region. Early-morning jigging for black rockfish and lingcod could be good, but stay close to the bar because storms could kick up quickly and make boating hazardous. Lingcod have been moving into shallow waters for spawning, and now is the time find the big ones near jetties, rocky reefs and along the edges of kelp beds.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon remains seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Sport crabbers are allowed on the ocean, but few are fishing for Dungeness because of choppy seas. Bay crabbing in Coos Bay and Winchester Bay has been fair, with lots of runoff from local streams. Look for bay crabbing to drop off further Sunday with the latest storm fronts.

All shellfish fishing is open coastwide, including the popular Clatsop County beaches. Mussel harvest also is open coastwide. For more information and updated closure information, call the shellfish hotline at 800-448-2474.

BROOKINGS - Ocean fishing looks good early Saturday and Sunday with decent surf conditions. Stay close to shore because winter weather often changes quickly on the coast. Look for limits of black rockfish and chances of lingcod limits daily into early next week. Glow-in-the-dark jigs are best, but black-and-white jigs are plenty effective.

GOLD BEACH - Perch fishing has been good at Nesika Beach with shrimp and prawns, but watch for rough surf.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing remains slow. Crabbing has been decent.

CHARLESTON - The lower area of Charleston continues to be the best and most popular place for crabbing. Watch for sneaker waves while jetty fishing.

PORT ORFORD - A few perch are still being caught in the bay off the public docks there.

AGATE - Fishing for legal- and trophy-sized rainbows has been good following a fresh complement of stocked trout recently. The water remains a bit murky, so trolling will be slower than still-fishing or wind-drifting with bait. Heavy wind days have not produced catches. No gas motors allowed.

APPLEGATE - About 350 trophy rainbow trout were stocked recently in the reservoir as Cole Rivers Hatchery workers get rid of their leftovers from trout spawning there. Trollers using Flatfish or Triple Teasers should do well when targeting these and the large and trophy trout stocked there in late October. Weather conditions have slowed the bite. Also, good schools of land-locked chinook are available. 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 almost 80 percent full, and the trout bite has dropped off with the latest rounds of storms. The water also is murky, harming trollers. Bank anglers fishing near the dam are faring well on worms or PowerBait. 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 April 23.

HYATT - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

DIAMOND - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

EXPO - The pond is open year-round and fishing remains just fair 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. Worms or small jigs have worked best.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout 14 to 18 inches remains fair to good near the dam, which is where most of the action is. Troll Wedding Ring lures with worms or Triple Teasers. The Stewart State Park boat ramp and the Takelma ramp are open.

FISH - Ice fishing has been steadily good in the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp. 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 - The lake was stocked again recently with legal-sized trout, and fishing for them has been good with most baits. Single salmon eggs and cheese recently has worked well.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to angling until April 23.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue has been slow for winter steelhead thanks to persistent storm fronts that have keep the fish from moving around much, while the middle Rogue has been fair for steelhead, and the lower Rogue has been fair for fresh — but small — winter steelhead and no confirmed spring chinook.

That leaves the best bet one with a caveat. For those fishing today, the middle Rogue should be very good for winter steelhead throughout the area. But after that, it's the sofa.

The next storm front is going to bring some serious runoff that will start Saturday and peak Sunday, That will push any winter steelheaders far up the upper Rogue and likely relegate everyone to the float between the Hatchery Hole and Casey State Park. Downstream of Big Butte Creek could be muddy enough to make life difficult for everyone until next week when flows drop and steelhead should be everywhere.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were forecast to jump to about 3,350 cubic feet per second Sunday, with all but 900 cfs of that coming from tributary runoff that will bring dirty water.

The middle Rogue has fished fairly well for winter steelhead from the mouth of the Applegate River down for those using roe, egg flies and plugs. That will fall off the table Saturday, but look for catches to resume by mid-week.

The lower Rogue has been producing decent catches of steelhead for those fishing the inside turns with Cop Car plugs or K-11 Kwikfish. Plunkers have not done as well. Winter steelhead under 24 inches have showed up in the catch this week, which has puzzled anglers there.

Anglers may now keep one wild steelhead per day as long as it is at least 24 inches long. The annual limit is five.

ILLINOIS - Water conditions were high and poor for winter steelhead fishing this week, and catches will get even worse as the river crests Sunday around 9,000 cfs at Kerby. When they drop next week, use Spin-Glo's, yarn balls and Little Cleo's. No bait is allowed. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and up to five per year between Briggs Creek and Pomeroy Dam.

APPLEGATE - Winter steelhead fishing remains fair on the lower Applegate, and the first two winter steelhead showed up this week in the fish trap at the base of Applegate Dam. Flow conditions were expected to be poor during this weekend's storms, so fish in the far upper reaches in slower, deeper water with roe or yarn balls. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing allowed from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Fork of the Umpqua should fish OK today for winter steelhead, then look for conditions to deteriorate during the next round of rainstorms. The North Umpqua has been slow for winter steelhead, and the lower Umpqua has been fair to slow for sturgeon.

ELK/SIXES - The Elk should fish well today for winter steelhead, but look for conditions to get poor. The next round of rains will swell both rivers and create poor conditions through early next week.

CHETCO - The river was flowing at close to 7,000 cfs Thursday, with a few anglers catching fish despite the strong flows. The river will crest Sunday around 15,000 cfs, but look for good late-season winter steelhead fishing by mid-week because the river is forecast to drop quickly. Anglers may keep one wild winter steelhead from the Chetco a day, with a five-fish annual limit.