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Fishing Report: Jan. 6, 2012

COASTWIDE - Hazardous seas advisories are in effect today, but the ocean is forecast to start lying down on the weekend, although afternoon swells could jump to 15 feet by early next week.

Ocean crabbing conditions are relatively poor because of the choppy seas and swells. 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. New for 2012 is a rule that bans cabezon harvest until April to provide a chance to stretch out the cabezon quota.

Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers have been able to get 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 pick up over the weekend as fresh water from last week's storms is flushed out of the bay. Look for good crabbing off the public docks in Charleston and Empire as well as near the jetties. 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.

Clamming remains very good around Charleston even without minus tides. Clam Island, by the way, is called Clam Island for a reason.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing is slow. Crabbing has improved in the triangle area now that salinity levels have improved in the estuary.

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 31 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. But that advisory could be lifted as early as Wednesday. Fishing effort is down substantially. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is usable after last week's storms raised the lake level by more than 7 feet. The Takelma ramp near the dam also is open, but it can be difficult to maneuver large boats and trailers there.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake's ice is unsafe for ice fishing and about half of the lake has open water.

FISH - The boat ramp remains accessible, and the lake is primarily ice-free.

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 holding on for late-run summer steelhead and some coho salmon, while a few winter steelhead have shown themselves in the middle Rogue, and the lower Rogue continues to be decent for winter steelhead, especially for plunkers, although catches have waned while the river continues to drop and clear.

The best bet, then, remains plunking on the lower Rogue for winter steelhead with big Spin-Glo's and gobs of eggs or sandshrimp. The Spin-Glo's of size 2 are now best, with flame chartreuse and pearl/red the best. Huntley Bar has been a plunking hot-spot, but don't eschew Dunkelberger Bar. Boat anglers are fairing well with Wee Warts, Hot Shots and the occasional Flatfish, but catches have waned in recent days. Lost of fish are in the 4- to 6-pound range.

Anglers can now keep one wild steelhead a day and up to five per year downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp, provided the wild steelhead is at least 24 inches long. Upstream of that ramp remains catch-and-release only for all wild steelhead.

The middle Rogue should see more fresh winter steelhead with the next storm. The past one brought in a few fish, but most of what's in the area down there are late-run summer steelhead staging off creeks waiting to spawn.

Focus on water from Ennis Riffle down to Grave Creek. Also, side-drifting and dragging roe in the canyon areas should improve weekly.

In the upper Rogue, bait fishing returned riverwide and that has anglers out fishing for late-run summer steelhead and coho salmon. Most of the steelhead and coho are pretty ratty in January and not quite smoker-worthy, but they will bite roe, plugs and small spinners. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remained at 1,100 cubic feet per second, and that has kept the mainstem flowing pretty low so far.

For coho, use purple or red plugs. All wild coho must be released unharmed.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for winter steelhead fishing but no winter fish have been found so far. A few late-run summer steelhead are in the lower stretches near tributaries. Flows out of Applegate Dam are a thin 119 cfs. Look for some early winter steelhead to move in once another rainstorm draws fresh fish to the middle Rogue. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed, and there is no fishing from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The North Umpqua has improved for steelhead in the lower section below the fly water. The South Umpqua is dropping and should have some fresh winter steelhead in the lower stretches. Only fin-clipped steelhead may be kept in the system.

CHETCO - The river continues to drop and clear, but it still has enough decent color for some fairly good winter steelhead fishing and the occasional fall chinook. Plugs and roe are both working well. Steelhead catches have been as high at the South Fork, but most of the action remains downstream of Ice Box. Plunkers have done well at gravel bars but smaller Spin-Glo's are now needed. Driftboat anglers are using dime-sized pieces of roe.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers were dropping and clearing and winter steelhead catches are slowing, as well. Some rains are forecast for tonight, which could bump the river level and color enough to trigger a nice weekend bite. The Elk was at a gauge height of 4 feet and falling Thursday. Flows at 5 feet and dropping are best for winter steelhead. Driftboat anglers are using Hot Shots and Wee Warts more than roe now.

COOS - Winter steelhead fishing has tapered off after a solid week of catches, with water levels dropping, clearing and cooling. Any new rain should create a steelhead flurry.

COQUILLE - The South Fork had been good for winter steelhead after the most recent freshet, but water levels are dropping and cooling. That has slowed the catch the past few days. Driftboaters fishing plugs have done best.

WINCHUCK - The winter steelhead bite is slow now that the river has dropped and cleared. Not a lot of winter steehead have entered the system yet.