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Fishing Report: Feb. 10, 2012

COASTWIDE - Morning conditions could be very good for near-shore rockfish and lingcod fishing through the weekend, but look for swells and winds to build during the day.

Ocean crabbing conditions are improving and could be good this weekend. Dungeness are making their way toward estuaries now that salinity levels are increasing in bays. Crab meat condition is excellent, and the entire Oregon Coast is open for crabbing.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. New for 2012, cabezon can not be harvested until April, which is an attempt to stretch out the cabezon quota.

Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers have been able to get out. Look for lingcod around kelp beds and near jetties when the ocean subsides enough for jigging. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that's separate from the marine aggregate.

For clamming, the entire Oregon Coast is open. The next minus tide sequence begins Feb. 17 and should provide an excellent weekend of clamming coastwide. Watch for sneaker waves.

BROOKINGS - The bar has been rough in the afternoons, and a small-craft advisory remains in effect through tonight. A few locals are sneaking out and catching some lingcod off kelp beds and near the north jetty on good mornings, but effort has been light.

COOS BAY - Crabbing has picked up since the estuary's salinity has improved. Good crab catches have been reported near the north jetty and off the public docks in Charleston.

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, and that should continue through the weekend.

Clamming will be fair to good on low tides this week around Charleston, and look for clamming to improve during a series of minus tides that begin Feb. 17.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing has improved below the Highway 101 bridge, but catches still remain somewhat low. Crabbing has improved in the triangle area now that more crabs are moving throughout the bay.

AGATE - A batch of legal-sized and larger trout was stocked for the winter trout fishery. The lake is 45 percent full. Now that inflows have stabilized, wind-drift worms through the lower section of the lake or toss PowerBait for trout near the dam. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - Stabilized in-flows have given the rainbows a chance to get back on the bite, but effort remains light. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started filling the reservoir, and outflows will drop gradually from 300 cubic feet per second late Thursday to 200 cfs by Sunday. 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 is slow.

EMIGRANT - The lake is 60 percent full, and rainbow trout are available. Troll slowly with Triple Teasers or Wedding Ring lures with worms or use PowerBait from the bank.

A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of mercury levels.

EXPO - Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout with Panther Martin lures, PowerBait and worms under bobbers.

LOST CREEK - The lake has risen a foot this past week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues its filling mode. Flows were at 1,800 cfs out of the lake Thursday, but the Corps will walk those releases down to 1,300 cfs by Sunday. The trout bite was slow this past week, and effort has been light. Trolling should be best near the face of the dam and upstream of Peyton Bridge near the top of the reservoir. Worms on Wedding Ring lures trolled slowly at varied depths often works well, especially with small flashers. Vary your depth. The boat ramp at Stewart State Park is usable. 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 thick, and ice fishing was good this past week near the resort, with catches of trout and perch.

FISH - The ice is thin, and that has kept ice anglers away.

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. Access to the county boat ramp is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ROGUE - Even though anglers riverwide are battling low-water conditions, they're still catching fresh winter steelhead. With nothing spectacular in any one area, the best bet is to fish your home waters.

The lower Rogue continues to fish well for winter steelhead despite flows of less than 4,300 cfs at Agness. Plunkers are starting to downsize to No. 6 Spin-Glo's, and they seem to be working fairly well in the early morning and late afternoon. Huntley Park remains the hottest spot, but anglers are doing well working the bars around Agness, too. Boat anglers are anchoring and fishing plugs or working riffles with plugs. Some side-drifting for winter steelhead has gone on, with varied success.

In the middle Rogue, flows Thursday were a mere 2,543 cfs at Grants Pass, and that has slowed the steelhead migration. Still, side-drifters with yarn balls or small pieces or roe have found steelhead throughout the stretch. Some anglers are getting big steelhead in the deeper canyon waters while others are finding a few in riffles near structure. More rain is needed to jump-start this fishery.

In the upper Rogue, winter steelhead fishing has been a bit erratic, with anglers working everyplace from the Hatchery Hole down past the old Gold Ray Dam site. Bankies are getting fish side-drifting yarn flies or tossing Blue Fox spinners. Driftboat anglers side-drifting yarn balls, roe or worms and corkies are doing about as well as those tossing plugs like K-11 Kwikfish. The deeper, slower runs seem to be holding steelhead best, but with flows just a hair over 2,000 cfs at Dodge Bridge some rain is needed.

And it's only going to get worse on the upper Rogue as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drops the outflow at Lost Creek Lake from 1,800 cfs late Thursday to 1,300 cfs by Sunday. That could make steelhead fishing a rough go until some rain shows up.

Anglers riverwide can keep one wild winter steelhead at least 24 inches long as part of the two-fish daily limit. The minimum size for hatchery fish to be deemed legal adults is 16 inches. Five wild winter steelhead can be kept annually.

APPLEGATE - The lower stretch was fishing fairly well for winter steelhead this week but more rain is needed. The outflows at Applegate Dam will be dropped to 200 cfs by Sunday, and that should put the damper on winter steelhead catches. As of early this week, no winter steelhead had entered the fish trap at the base of Applegate Dam. Most anglers will focus on water below the Murphy Dam until another rain hits, and none is forecast through the weekend.

Look for winter steelhead to be hanging out in deeper holes and under over-hanging trees. Fly-fishing single-egg patterns and larger streamers should be good, and those casting spinners or spoons should find steelhead, as well.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed and there is no fishing from a floating device.

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua is fishing well for winter steelhead, with flows Thursday of 1,640 cfs at Winston. Bank anglers using roe and corkies have been catching winter steelhead behind the Seven Feathers casino. Only hatchery winter steelhead can be kept, and a decent run of hatchery fish is expected this year. Side-drifting roe or yarn balls from driftboats has been best.

The North Umpqua was good for winter steelhead along the lower end, with flows dropping to under 3,000 cfs at Winchester Dam.

The mainstem Umpqua continues to be very good for winter steelhead despite dropping flows. The flows at Elkton remain above 5,300 cfs, however, making it one of the better-looking winter steelhead rivers around. Side-drifting very small egg clusters has been best for driftboaters. All wild steelhead must be released riverwide.

CHETCO - Water conditions were low and clear but bank anglers using very small Spin-Glo's are still picking up winter steelhead. Side-drifting very tiny pieces of roe out of driftboats also is working, but look for catches to wane as water conditions go even lower next week.

Anglers can keep one wild steelhead a day as part of the two-fish daily limit and up to five per year.

ILLINOIS - Winter steelhead fishing was slow this week as water conditions dropped. No bait is allowed. Anglers may keep one wild steelhead a day and five per year.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers dropped significantly, and winter steelhead fishing slowed amid low and clear water. Winter steelhead are well dispersed through both rivers. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead a day and up to five per season on either river.