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Fishing Report: Dec. 16, 2011

COASTWIDE - Ocean conditions look pretty good for the next few mornings, but afternoon swells are forecast to reach 9 to 11 feet through the weekend. That might make for decent early-morning trips for black rockfish and lingcod. Lingcod fishing has been particularly hot for bottomfishers when charterboats get out there. Black rockfish appear somewhat scarce now.

Ocean crabbing opened Thursday north of Gold Beach, but crabbing remains closed south of Gold Beach until Jan. 15 to give the Dungeness more chance to fill with meat.

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.

For clamming, the entire Oregon Coast is open. The next minus tide series is Wednesday, Dec. 21 to Wednesday, Dec. 28. Beach diggers should watch closely for sneaker waves.

BROOKINGS - Lingcod fishing has been good when anglers can get out. Black rockfish catches are fair to good.

COOS BAY - Crabbing has been excellent lately off the public docks in Charleston. The Dungeness meat levels are good. Ocean crabbing is now open, so that should reduce crabbing pressure in the bay. Lingcod jigging near Cape Arago has been very good when the weather allows. Black rockfish catches have been good along the inside of the North Jetty.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing has been very good in the triangle area.

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 about 40 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.

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 is 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 due to a persistent bloom of blue-green algae. Fishing effort is down substantially. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is unusable. The Takelma ramp near the dam is open at all water levels, but it can be difficult to maneuver large boats and trailers there. The lake is down slightly more than eight below its normal winter level.

FISH - The boat ramp remains accessible, and the lake is primarily ice-free. Troll Triple Teasers, Tasmanian Devils and Wedding Rings with worms. Bank fish with worms or PowerBait.

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 is just holding its own for late-run summer steelhead and even a few coho amid dropping and cold river flows, while the middle Rogue is fair to decent for steelhead and the occasional halfpounder, and the lower Rogue is nearly stagnant from low and cold flows.

Conditions could remain the same for another week, as no appreciable rain is in the forecast for the upper Rogue Basin.

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 a real rainstorm jump-starts the coastal streams.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were dropping this week and steadied Thursday at 1,100 cubic feet per second. With minimal tributary flows, the water is extremely low right now and as cold as it will get this year.

It remains artificial flies and lures only from the Shady Cove Park ramp down to the old Gold Ray Dam site. Fishing was good along this stretch this week for those casting K-11 Kwikfish or Rebel crayfish plugs, black jigs under bobbers and fake egg clusters side-drifted from boats. Still no bait in that zone allowed 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 a steady stream 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. All wild coho must be released unharmed.

In the middle Rogue, steelhead fishing has focused largely on wild steelhead that are staging at creek mouths and waiting for rain so they can spawn. Very slow presentations of flies and lures have gotten some of them to bite, but effort has been light.

Wild steelhead must be released riverwide.

In the lower Rogue, low and clear conditions have slowed winter steelhead fishing. A few plunkers using small Spin-Glo's and eggs have picked up a few fish at Dunkelberger Bar and Huntley Park, but water conditions have hurt the catch and the effort.

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 flowing at just around 1,000 cfs Thursday after a little rain Wednesday bumped up flows and helped get a few winter steelhead caught. Bankers and driftboaters have picked up some nice fish and a few dark chinook remain in the upper river holes. For steelhead, fish dime-sized pieces of roe and yarnd while side-drifting from driftboats.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were very low and clear this week, making for difficult fishing conditions for late-run chinook and early winter steelhead. Forecasts call for dry weather for at least a week, and river forecasters are looking for some awfully low flows next week. Flows spiked a bit Wednesday, but the rivers dropped and cleared quickly.

COOS - Early winter steelhead fishing is slow.

COQUILLE - Early season winter steelhead fishing is slow in all the forks. A few plunkers caught some winter steelhead in the mainstem this past week.