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Fishing Report: Aug. 5, 2011

COASTWIDE - The summer all-depth halibut season on the Central Coast opens every other Friday and Saturday starting today, and catches should be excellent if weather permits smaller private boats to get past the 40-fathom line. Fishing dates are Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20, Sept. 2-3, Sept. 16-17, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 28-29 or until the combined spring and summer quota of 158,705 pounds is taken, whichever comes first.

South of Humbug Mountain, the season is open seven days a week through Oct. 31. For a complete list of open dates and areas, see www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/halibut/seasonmaps/Halibut 2011 regs.pdf.

Bottomfish anglers must stay within the 20-fathom line. The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Anglers fishing from boats may no longer retain cabezon because fisheries managers estimate the federal harvest limit of 15.8 metric tons has been met.

In addition to the marine fish daily bag limit of seven rockfish, there are separate daily limits for lingcod (two with a 22-inch minimum) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).

Ocean salmon fishing has been very slow. Coho fishing north of Humbug Mountain is slow and chinook fishing is slow coastwide.

Tuna are as close as 15 to 20 miles offshore in some places along the coast, which is about as close as they come most years, but few anglers braved the strong winds offshore last week to go after them, and the few who did returned with only one or two per angler. Tuna usually remain off the coast into October.

The next minus tide series starts early in the morning of Aug. 8 and continues through Aug. 15. Mussel and bay clam harvesting is open along the entire Oregon Coast. Razor clam harvesting is open from Tillamook Head to the California border. The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. However, coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten.

For updated information, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

BROOKINGS - Good tuna water can be found about 30 miles west of the port, but it's continued to be a tough run because of the wind and waves. Chinook fishing has been poor even when winds allow anglers to get out. Surfperch fishing has been excellent on calm days, with the females spawning near the Winchuck River mouth. Fish with sandshrimp, prawns, mussels, plastic, scented baits and streamer flies.

CHARLESTON - Coho fishing has picked up, with anglers averaging less than one fish per trip. Only fin-clipped coho can be kept. Crabbing was decent this week, with crabbers getting one to three keeper Dungeness per trip. Male crabs are beginning their annual molt and may have soft shells.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing is good outside of the Rogue River jetties and Nesika Beach — when the winds die down — during the top of the incoming tide and the first hour of the outgoing tide. A flurry of chinook are being caught just above tidewater by anglers in anchored boats. A few fall chinook are being caught in the bay by trollers.

ELK - Fishing for surfperch is very good in and near the mouth of the Elk River, with catches best before the winds pick up.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is still slow. Crabbing held steady but the overall Dungeness catch continues to be low in the estuary.

AGATE - Wind-drifting worms from boats remains the best option at the lake, where water temperatures are high and the warmwater bite is good. The lake is down to 80 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake is down to 85 percent full. Trollers and fly-fishers working the Seattle Bar area are doing well with Wedding Ring lures and Triple Teasers or woolly buggers with sinking fly lines. Smallmouth bass are biting plastic worms and small crankbaits near the dam and off points. Some of the trout have external parasites called copepods, which are not a threat to humans and can be scraped off before cooking. The French Gulch and Copper boat ramps are usable. Hart-Tish Park is open. For updates on facilities, call 541-899-9220.

EMIGRANT - Trout fishing is best near the dam and off the county boat ramp for those trolling or wind-drifting worms. Also, the cool in-flows from Emigrant Creek are drawing trout to the creek mouth. Catch them by casting a worm on a hook with no weights. Good water conditions have helped the bass and perch bites lake-wide, with perch fishing best in the willows and bass off rocky points and around Songer Wayside.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is fishing fairly well for smallmouth bass, but the water remains quite cool and is still nearly full at 94 percent of capacity. There are still plenty of 15- to 17-inch trout for anglers fishing deep and in the early mornings and late evenings. Trollers continue to out-produce bank anglers. Success along the jetty near the resort is decent, as is fishing near Grizzly Campground.

HYATT - Trout fishing has slowed, while largemouth bass fishing is excellent for those wind-drifting worms or casting and retrieving any red spinner or spoon. The lake is 92 percent full.

DIAMOND - The lake was hit with an algae-bloom advisory last week. The state advises anglers to minimize contact with the water. Boating and fishing are still allowed, but anglers eating the fish should remove the fat, skin and organs before cooking. The rainbows are moving into deeper water, so focus on water 18 to 20 feet deep. Trolling F-4 Flatfish or Triple Teasers for trout is very good, while fly-fishers using black or olive leeches are having some very good days in the south end, with mornings and evenings best. For PowerBaiters, the high weeds are problematic. Float your bait about 4 feet above the bottom for rainbows feeding on insects and freshwater shellfish on the weeds.

The temporary eight-fish limit remains in effect, but only one can be longer than 20 inches. One smaller rainbow with an orange tag in its dorsal fin is worth $500 to whoever catches it. Check it in at the resort if you catch it.

EXPO - Some stocked rainbow trout are still being caught with Panther Martin lures, PowerBait and worms. Bass and panfish fishing should be decent all summer.

LOST CREEK - The lake's water quality is very good, and trolling for trout is good near the dam and directly across from the marina. The surface temperature is up to 73 degrees, which has smallmouth bass active in the mornings and evenings for jiggers and those casting rubber worms in the weeds.

FISH - Visibility has improved at the lake, and fishing is good with PowerBait or worms for rainbow trout near the center of the lake. The lake was recently stocked with another 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Fishing had been best for them around the resort and the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp with PowerBait, worms and streamer flies. Trollers also are picking up stocked chinook salmon that are treated legally as trout. They run up to about 11 inches.

FOURMILE - The lake is now accessible but the campground remains snowed in. Fishing effort has been light.

LAKE OF THE WOODS - Fishing has been fair for rainbows and brown trout, and bass fishing has picked up. The lake is open 24 hours a day.

LEMOLO - Trolling for big brown trout remains good, and fly-fishers using woolly buggers or leeches are finding a mix of rainbows and browns. Fish are more active in the mornings and evenings. Anglers have also been catching some 10- to 13-inch kokanee.

WILLOW - Fishing is good for legal-sized and larger rainbow trout stocked there earlier this year, along with bass and panfish. Troll deep and slow for trout, or fish PowerBait off the bottom.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue's spring chinook salmon season is over but summer steelhead anglers are taking advantage of a good early season there, and Cole Rivers Hatchery recycled 376 excess summer steelhead Thursday to the Gold Hill boat ramp. The middle Rogue is starting to boil with fresh, early-run fall chinook and summer steelhead, and the lower Rogue has been great for fall chinook, with summer steelhead and halfpounders available for those who want to target them.

That means it might be time to start burning some gas and beat your friends to some early fall chinook in Gold Beach.

Upstream of Dodge Bridge has been fair to good for steelhead, mainly for driftboaters with K-11 Kwikfish. Fish are scattered because of the high water.

Fishing for chinook is now closed between Dodge Bridge and Cole Rivers Hatchery. The river between Dodge Bridge and the old Gold Ray damsite remains open for chinook through Aug. 31.

As of July 27, 508 summer steelhead and 4,685 spring chinook had entered Cole Rivers Hatchery.

Water flows are still higher than usual throughout the river, with 3,100 cubic feet per second of water released this week from Lost Creek Lake, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue that rate through August.

Because of the high flows, boat anglers are doing better than bankies. K-11 Kwikfish plugs, streamer flies and stonefly nymphs with Prince nymph point flies are all great choices for boat anglers, while side-drifting worms or roe are both good secondary choices. Pink rubber worms rock it for steelhead, too. Fish riffles, tail-outs and inside corners around boulders. As the water warms, they will move toward more aerated water.

Bank anglers will struggle with high water conditions for summer steelhead, but casting worms and Panther Martin lures will work well in areas like TouVelle State Park and the water between Casey State Park and the Hatchery Hole. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

In the middle Rogue, fall chinook fishing is just starting to get good in the Galice area. Anglers are intercepting them with K-11 Kwikfish wrapped with sardines. Summer steelhead have been active, as well. Most of the catches are coming on Kwikfish because pikeminnows are thick and stealing roe.

In the lower Rogue, fall chinook fishing has been red hot the past few days in the bay, especially in the evenings. The best action has been for trollers pulling anchovies behind spinner blades.

Most of the chinook are holding downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. Summer steelhead and halfpounders are in the lower river, too, but anglers are mainly targeting chinook.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing. All wild trout, including cutthroat, must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target spawning winter steelhead in the Applegate.

UMPQUA - A few fall chinook have been caught in the lower mainstem. Summer steelhead catches are very good in the lower North Umpqua, where all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The South Umpqua has been high and cold, so there has not been much pressure for smallmouth bass, but fishing for them has been excellent in the Elkton area. Use rubber worms and crayfish flies. An algae advisory is in effect for the South Umpqua after a dog died from ingesting water from a riverside pool.

CHETCO - The river upstream of the BPA powerline at river mile 2.2 is closed to all angling, including trout, through Nov. 4.

WINCHUCK - Closed to all angling through Nov. 4.