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Fishing Report: Dec. 2, 2011

COASTWIDE - Ocean anglers face a small-craft advisory through tonight and then some stiff winds and rough seas through the weekend. Look for that to continue until the next front moves in.

Anglers may venture past the 20-fathom line for the remainder of the season, but few have bothered recently to make deep-water runs.

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 tests showed Dungeness crabs haven't filled out yet. The commercial season also will not open on the ocean until Dec. 15.

For clamming, the entire Oregon Coast is open but no minus tides this week. The next minus tide is Dec. 8 to 14 starting after sundown. With the heavy surf, razor-clam diggers should watch closely for sneaker waves.

The ocean chinook salmon fishing season off the mouths of the Elk and Sixes rivers is now closed.

BROOKINGS - The ocean salmon season is closed, and anglers are working tidewater for incoming chinook now that Chetco River flows are down.

COOS BAY - Chinook fishing is over. Crabbing picked up this week after the drop in freshwater flows and catches were excellent off the public docks in Charleston. The Dungeness meat levels are starting to improve. Red crabs have a lot more meat.

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. Fishing for black and blue rockfish off or near the north jetty has been good at the high and low slack tides.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing has picked up now that the river flows have dropped.

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 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, but 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 with the colder weather.

EMIGRANT - The lake has been stocked with trout. Lots of yellow perch in the catches, but still enough crappie to keep things interesting. The lake is 41 percent full.

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 an advisory against water contact due to a bloom of blue-green algae. Fishing effort is down substantially since the advisory was issued. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is 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 - The upper Rogue has picked up for late-run summer steelhead and even a few coho now that the water levels have varied a bit, while the middle Rogue is slow for steelhead and halfpounders and the lower Rogue is starting to see the first few waves of winter steelhead bending rods of plunkers on lower-river gravel bars.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, mainly because the hatchery steelhead are still good enough for the smoker and nothing else is really worth driving to until another flurry of rain jump-starts the fishery. But the forecasts are calling for dry weather for at least another week.

Flows out of Lost Creek Reservoir were down to 1,319 cubic feet per second of 44-degree water Thursday, leaving the upper Rogue low and cold. Even so, big, late-run winter steelhead were biting throughout the stretch, and counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery jumped a few hundred fish to 1,872 steelhead for the season. That's low, but improving.

It remains artificial flies and lures only from the Shady Cove Park ramp down to the old Gold Ray Dam site. Plugs and hard-plastic, single-egg flies usually work well around spawning redds. Fishing definitely picked up on this stretch this week, with success coming on K-11 Kwikfish, Rebel crayfish plugs, black jigs under bobbers and fake egg clusters side-drifted from boats. Bait isn't allowed in that zone until Jan. 1.

Bait fishing is allowed upstream of the Shady Cove ramp, and driftboaters this week have done fairly well side-drifting tiny clusters of roe behind salmon redds. Small pieces of roe are best.

The upper Rogue is seeing an influx of coho salmon, but they are tough to get to bite. Purple or red plugs can work well in the far upper Rogue, but coho are notoriously poor biters.

In the middle Rogue, steelhead fishing had been good near creek mouths for wild summer steelhead hanging out near creek 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 must be released unharmed.

In the lower Rogue, heavy rains and winds left the estuary bare this week. But anglers have reported seeing some big steelhead lying in lower-river tailouts, 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 fish have moved into the Swiftwater area of late. Only unweighted flies may be used in the fly water now. The South Umpqua is open but flows are low, and early-run winter steelhead haven't made it up there yet.

CHETCO - The river was dropping and clearing to a point where it could be tough to fish for early-run winter steelhead. Fishing for them had been very good earlier this week as the higher water dropped. A few fall chinook are still in the upper river and relatively easy to catch on plugs or concoctions of roe and sandshrimp.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were dropping out of shape for late-run fall chinook and early-run winter steelhead thanks to poor freshwater flows. Forecasts are for dry weather for at least a week, and river forecasters are looking for some awfully low flows next week.