Fishing Report: Nov. 25, 2011
COASTWIDE - Ocean anglers will be blown and pushed off the water at least through the weekend as a set of storms move through the region.
Anglers may venture past the 20-fathom line for the remainder of the season, but few have bothered to make deep-water runs recently.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. Cabezon can no longer be kept by boat anglers because the quota has been met. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.
The ocean is closed to recreational crabbing through Dec. 15, at the earliest after recent tests on Dungeness showed the crabs haven't filled out their shells yet. The commercial season also will not open on the ocean until at least Dec. 15.
For clamming, the entire Oregon Coast is open, but no minus tides are forecast for this week. With the heavy surf, diggers should watch closely for sneaker waves.
The only ocean chinook salmon fishing season now open is off the mouths of the Elk and Sixes rivers, where some anglers troll for chinook. However, extremely rough seas have kept most anglers off the ocean and in the estuaries. A few chinook are taken off the beach near the mouth of the Elk, as well.
BROOKINGS - The ocean salmon season is closed, but a few chinook are being caught daily by trollers working the mouth of the Chetco River. Most are falling to large sardines trolled slowly. The wild coho fishery has closed. Crabbing is slow in the bay thanks to extremely high freshwater volumes.
COOS BAY - Chinook salmon fishing is all but over. Crabbing slowed this week after high rains swelled the estuary with freshwater, pushing the crabs into the ocean. Look for the dungeness to return when the weather clears. The dungeness still don't have their normal level of meat in them yet, but red crabs have filled out.
Good catches of rockfish have come when anglers have been able to get across the bar, but don't expect any of that this weekend.
WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing slowed dramatically as heavy freshwater flows hit the estuary this week.
AGATE - A batch of legal-sized and larger trout was stocked recently for the winter trout fishery. Look for very good fishing for them around the lower section of the lake, which is at 30 percent full. Worms or PowerBait will be best. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - The facilities at Hart-Tish Park are closed and the low-water ramp at French Gulch is open and usable, as is the Copper ramp. For winter trout fishing, troll Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms. Bass fishing has slowed as water temperatures have dropped.
EMIGRANT - Lots of yellow perch in the catches, but still enough crappie to keep things interesting.
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 for the season.
HYATT - The lake is closed for the season.
DIAMOND - The lake is closed for the season.
LEMOLO - The lake is closed for the season.
EXPO - Fishing remains fair for stocked rainbow trout with Panther Martin lures, PowerBait and worms under bobbers.
LOST CREEK - The lake remains under a voluntary advisory against water contact following a bloom of blue-green algae. Fishing effort has dropped substantially since the advisory was issued. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is all but unusable, but the Takelma ramp near the dam is operable at all water levels. The lake is down slightly more than four feet below its normal winter level.
FISH - For late-fall trout fishing, troll Triple Teasers, Tasmanian Devils and Wedding Rings with worms. Bank fish with worms or PowerBait. No ice yet. The Forest Service ramp near the resort remains open. Water temperatures are cold.
WILLOW - Fishing is fair for legal-sized and larger rainbow trout stocked there earlier this year. Troll deep and slow or fish PowerBait off the bottom.
ROGUE - A variety of methods are still in play on the upper Rogue for catching summer steelhead, while the middle Rogue is slow for steelhead and halfpounders and the lower Rogue is thin at best for straggler chinook moving in to spawn in lower Rogue tributaries.
That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but even that looks pretty dicey this holiday weekend.
Heavy rains are swelling the Rogue just as the Corps of Engineers works to shave another 4 feet off Lost Creek Lake in preparation for winter storage. That means the predictable flows of 1,100 cubic feet per second which anglers have had for the past two months are history. Flows were adjusted Wednesday to 2,300 cfs out of the reservoir, with orders to alter the flows to where they will be 300 cfs more than in-flows, going no higher than 2,500 cfs. That could trigger some yo-yo flows through the weekend, which will make it difficult to time a fishing trip on the upper Rogue.
It's better to fish for summer steelhead as the flows are dropping, not rising. If you go, figure on the steelhead being spread out and holding closer to the bank and in tailouts.
The water releases from Lost Creek are at 43-degrees, and that's not helping the summer steelhead bite, either. Tributary inflows will be warmer than that, so figure on wild summer steelhead stacking up near tributary mouths.
It is now artificial flies and lures only from the Shady Cove Park ramp down to the old Gold Ray Dam site. Plugs can provide good opportunities, along with hard-plastic, single-egg flies that usually work well behind spawning chinook.
Fishing was decent but not spectacular on this stretch this week, largely because steelhead numbers are sparse. Plugs like K-11 Kwikfish have scared up some nice steelhead recently downstream of TouVelle State Park. Single, hard-plastic eggs are working fairly well side-drifted with spinning rods or under strike indicators for fly-fishers. No bait is allowed in that zone until Jan. 1.
Bait fishing is allowed upstream of the Shady Cove ramp, and driftboaters this week did fairly well side-drifting tiny clusters of roe behind salmon redds. Cold water and very cold mornings have kept the bite down a bit, with fish biting best during overcast conditions later in the day.
The upper Rogue is seeing an influx of coho salmon, but it's tough to get them to bite. Purple or red plugs can work well in the far upper Rogue, but they are notoriously poor biters.
In the middle Rogue, steelhead fishing had been good near creek mouths. Wild summer steelhead are starting to hang out near tributary mouths waiting to spawn. It's still a little early for them to enter the spawning streams, so focus on these areas for some good catch-and-release fishing. Small egg clusters, streamer flies on sink-tip lines and plugs all work well for summer steelhead. The vast majority of them are wild there and all wild steelhead must be released unharmed.
In the lower Rogue, heavy rains and winds have left the estuary bare this week. But anglers have reported seeing some big steelhead lying in lower river tail-outs, perhaps signaling an early start to the winter steelhead run. When winter steelhead are early, it often indicates a strong run. Stay tuned.
The Agness area remains slow for adult summer steelhead and halfpounders in riffles. Fish mornings and evenings with streamer flies, worms, eggs or plugs.
Chinook fishing is closed from the Hog Creek boat ramp up to the hatchery.
APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing. All wild trout, including cutthroat, must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target summer steelhead in the lower Applegate.
UMPQUA - The North Umpqua is slow for summer steelhead amid cold and low flows, but a few more fish have moved into the Swiftwater area of late. Only unweighted flies may be used in the fly water now.
CHETCO - The river was way high and out of shape from this week's rains after last weekend's awesome showing of fall chinook. The river could pull into shape as early as Saturday afternoon, depending upon how much new rain comes. When it pulls into shape, look for plenty of big and fresh fall chinook to bite plugs in migration lanes.
ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were up and out of shape mid-week, but things could get going as early as Saturday for fall chinook salmon in both rivers. When they pull into shape, look for plenty of fresh chinook throughout each basin. Plugs will out-fish roe and flies in migration lanes until water levels get low again.