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Fishing Report: Dec. 23, 2011

COASTWIDE - Rockfish have been scarce, but lingcod are plentiful when boats can get out. The problem is getting out. A high surf advisory is in effect on the southern coast through Saturday, with swells of 16 feet on the ocean and breakers as high as 23 feet in the surf zone.

Ocean crabbing is open north of Gold Beach but 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. Minus tide are forecast to continue for the next five days, through Wednesday, Dec. 28. Beach diggers should watch closely for sneaker waves. Call the shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 for updates.

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

COOS BAY - Crabbing has been excellent lately off the public docks in Charleston. The Dungeness meat levels are good. Ocean crabbing is open, which 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. Bottomfishing has been good off the south jetty.

AGATE - The lake was stocked with legal-sized and larger trout for the winter trout fishery. Look for very good fishing for them around the lower section of the lake, which is about 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.

EMIGRANT - Winter trout fishing is decent. Troll slowly with lures or bait-lure combinations. Bank anglers can do well still-fishing with Powerbait. The lake is 44 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 is fair for stocked rainbow trout with Panther Martin lures, PowerBait and worms under bobbers.

LOST CREEK - The lake is well stocked with trout for the winter, but the reservoir has been under a voluntary advisory against water contact since Sept. 23 due to a persistent bloom of blue-green algae. As a result, 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. The gate opens at 8 a.m. and is locked at 5 p.m. The boat ramp is available, but camping facilities are closed for the season.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is still holding its own for late-run summer steelhead and even a few coho in spite of persistently low and cold water, 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, though some winter steelhead and halfpounder action is available.

Conditions look to remain much same, as no appreciable rain is in the forecast for the upper Rogue Basin over the next week.

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 we get enough rain to shake things up.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake have steadied at 1,100 cubic feet per second of 42-degree water. With minimal tributary flows, the water is extremely low and cold right now.

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. As of Dec. 13, 1,944 summer steelhead and 1,709 coho salmon had entered the hatchery at Cole Rivers. Purple or red plugs can work well for coho, but they are notoriously poor biters. All wild coho must be released unharmed.

In the middle Rogue, fishing has focused mostly on catch-and-release fishing for wild summer steelhead. 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, winter steelhead are scattered throughout the river between Agness and Foster Bar. But low and clear conditions have slowed things way down. In these conditions, use light line and small baits.

A few plunkers using small Spin-Glo's and eggs 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. Some late summer steelhead and early winter steelhead are scattered throughout the mainstem, but catches are light and rain is needed to get things moving.

CHETCO - The few anglers hitting the river are reporting good numbers of steelhead in the river and some bright chinook, but the cold, clear water is making things tough. Anglers using smaller baits and light line are doing the best. For steelhead, fish dime-sized pieces of roe and yarn while side-drifting from driftboats.

ODFW is conducting a steelhead angler creel count on the Chetco this year, along with chinook salmon-scale collection and winter steelhead broodstock collection. At times, these projects may interfere with an angler's fishing. ODFW asks anglers to be courteous to its personnel and volunteers.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were very low and clear this week, making for difficult fishing conditions for late-run chinook and early winter steelhead.

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.