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Fishing Report: Dec. 30, 2011

COASTWIDE - Small-craft advisories are in effect today, and very rough seas are forecast for the next three days as the first significant storm of the season moves through Southern Oregon. Swells are forecast for up to 15 feet Monday, making for some very poor whale-watching conditions along coastal points.

Ocean crabbing is open 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 new cabezon season begins in 2012, but no cabezon are allowed in the catch until April.

Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers have gotten out. 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, but no minus tides are in the immediate future. Watch for sneaker waves.

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

COOS BAY - Crabbing will taper off this weekend as freshwater from the rain will push the Dungeness into the ocean. Look for good crabbing to resume early next week off the public docks in Charleston. The Dungeness meat levels are good. Ocean crabbing is 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 tapered off 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 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 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 feet 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 slowly, or fish PowerBait off the bottom. Access to the county boat ramp is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is going to rise and dirty significantly, as will the middle and lower Rogue as the first decent storm of the season rolls through Southern Oregon. While that may turn today and perhaps Saturday into football-watching days, look for the river to drop and clear significantly and usher in winter steelhead fishing.

The best bet then will be plunking on the lower Rogue for winter steelhead with big Spin-Glo's with gobs of eggs or sandshrimp. By mid-week, that could change to the lower reaches of the middle Rogue, which should start kicking out fresh winter steelhead drawn upstream by this week's freshets.

Flows at Agness will peak Saturday at about 13,500 cubic feet per second and drop quickly. That could be perfect for winter steelhead fishing all next week. Side-drifting eggs or fishing plugs at the tops of riffles and tail-outs should be good.

In the middle Rogue, plugging tailouts in search of winter steelhead moving over breaks should be productive next week from Ennis Riffle down to Grave Creek. Side-drifting and dragging roe in the canyon areas should be good, as well. Flows at Grants Pass should peak tonight at 6,000 cfs.

In the upper Rogue, bait fishing returns riverwide beginning Sunday, but that likely won't mean much to upper Rogue anglers. Hatchery fish will be racing to the concrete ponds, and wild fish will be up tributaries spawning after these rains, and catches should slump soon until fresh winter steelhead show up.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were down this week to 1,000 cfs, but look for some changes based on inflows from the rains. The flow temperature remains at 43 degrees.

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.

Chinook fishing is closed from the Hog Creek boat ramp up to the hatchery.

APPLEGATE - The river opens to steelhead fishing Sunday, and there should be summer steelhead sprinkled around the lower stretches and near tributaries. A few fresh winter steelhead could be down around the mouth this week, but none so far. Applegate flows were expected to peak Saturday at 850 cfs at the town of Applegate. Fish spoons, small roe clusters and egg flies.

UMPQUA - The North Umpqua is slow for summer steelhead amid cold yet rising flows. The South Umpqua is forecast to peak Saturday around 7,500 cfs, but look for it to drop quickly and be very good for winter steelhead fishing next week. Only fin-clipped hatchery fish may be kept on the South Umpqua.

CHETCO - The river was way up and forecast to crest late tonight at about 29,000 cfs (that's not a misprint) after about 4 inches of rain this week. The high flows will be full of debris, but they will drop quickly and trigger some excellent winter steelhead fishing as early as Sunday. Plunkers have been catching winter steelhead even as the river was rising Wednesday and Thursday. That's rare and may be indicative of a good run. For steelhead, fish dime-sized pieces of roe and yarn while side-drifting from driftboats.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were up and flowing way high today, but they had good color, so look for winter steelhead fishing to take off as early as Saturday afternoon or Sunday. When it does, focus on side-drifting roe more than plugs.

COOS - Winter steelhead fishing should be very good next week after this week's freshets subside and the river cleans up.

COQUILLE - The South Fork should heat up for winter steelhead fishermen as early as Sunday after this week's rains.

WINCHUCK - Look for good winter steelhead fishing in the lower section of the river as early as Monday after this week's rains.