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Fishing Report: May 18, 2012

COASTWIDE - A small-craft advisory is posted through tonight, but the ocean is forecast to lay down through the weekend, and fishing should be good. In addition, a good string of morning minus tides starts early this morning and improves throughout the week. That should make clammers happy, especially in the Charleston area of Coos Bay.

The near-shore Pacific halibut season is open. Expect to see some good effort out of Newport and Garibaldi for those hanging around the 40-fathom line. Bottomfishing is open only to the 30-fathom line, so halibut anglers need to run past 30 fathoms for halibut, then move back inside the 30-fathom line when bottomfishing or when they have bottomfish on board.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, which can include one cabezon. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

BROOKINGS - Stiff winds are in store through tonight, then look for the ocean to calm down for good bottomfishing opportunities. Chinook salmon fishing is open, and catches so far have been light because the chinook tend to move in as summer progresses.

Surfperch fishing has been very good at Winchuck Beach near Brookings and Nesika Beach near Gold Beach. Focus on the top two hours of the incoming tide to one hour after high tide. Clam necks and Berkley Gulp sand worms have been the most effective baits of late, but mussels and squid work very well, too.

For chinook, troll large anchovies with hoochies slowly in 120 feet of water or more near the shore. Chinook prefer near-shore waters.

COOS BAY - A good morning clam tide will generate activity around Clam Island throughout the week. The near-shore halibut fishery is open, so look for some activity over the weekend. Chinook salmon fishing should start to pick up, especially with better ocean conditions.

WINCHESTER BAY - Sturgeon fishing and crabbing has been slow but improving. Rockfish catches are good off the south jetty.

AGATE - Turbidity levels are improving at the lake, but it's still a bit cloudy for good trout fishing. No fresh trout will be released this week. Fishing with worms beneath bobbers or PowerBait at the lower end of the lake is your best bet. Trolling will be poor until the water clears. Bass and crappie fishing have started to pick up now that the water is warming. Work plastic worms slowly near the willows for largemouth.

APPLEGATE - No new trout were stocked there this past week. The lake is less than two feet from full, and the cool water continues to slow the bass bite. There are plenty of holdover rainbow trout from last year's stocking, as well as legal-sized trout stocked earlier this month. Slowly troll lures spiked with worms or fish PowerBait from the bank near the boat ramps. Hart-Tish Park is now open and the boat ramp is usable, as is Copper and French Gulch, but French Gulch sports little parking.

EMIGRANT - The lake received another complement of 1,700 legal-sized rainbow trout last week, and fishing for them has been good for bank and boat anglers along the lower section of the reservoir, particularly around the county park. Water clarity is very good for this time of year, but high in-flows of cool water continue to slow the warmwater-fish bite. Bank anglers using chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait have fared very well for trout, while trollers using Little Cleo's or Triple Teasers have also caught fish. The lake was listed Thursday as a hair under full. Smallmouth bass fishing has been a bit slow but OK in the rocky points and around other rocky structure along the lake's lower end.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The water remains cool, but the trout bite is slowly improving. Still-fishing along the shorelines in 8 to 15 feet of water remains best, while trolling the east side channel is slow and will remain slow until water temperatures rise. Chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait are working best, along with worms 7 feet or so under bobbers. The limit is five trout per day, with one over 20 inches.

HYATT - The lake's cold water has slowed catches, but anglers working the lake are finding nice trout 15 to 20 inches long, mostly by still-fishing in shallow water with PowerBait. The bite is light, so be patient and let the trout all but hook themselves. Anchoring near the Orchard, the dam and the west bank in eight to 12 feet of water has been a good strategy for anglers chasing holdover rainbows. The cold water should make trolling a little tougher. The limit is five trout a day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be 20 inches or over.

DIAMOND - The lake is now ice-free and fishing well for rainbow trout despite water temperatures under 45 degrees. The Cheese Hole has been popular, largely because only the north ramp was open this past week, but fishing has improved at the south end in weedless pockets. The south ramp was scheduled to be opened Friday and that will spread effort out. Chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait are best, with worms a distant second so far. The trout are barely nibbling at the baits. Trolling has been very slow and will remain slow until the water warms. The limit is eight trout over 8 inches long, with only one allowed over 20 inches.

EXPO - The lake received another 1,300 legal-sized rainbow trout last week, and fishing for them is very good with worms, PowerBait and small Panther Martin lures. Water conditions are very good. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park.

LOST CREEK - The lake received its second batch of 25,000 legal-sized rainbow trout, and fishing for them has been best for bank anglers fishing various-colored PowerBait balls off the shore near the Takelma ramp. The lake is a hair under full and should remain stable for the next week, at least. Most anglers are fishing fairly close to shore. Trollers working the point off the marina also have done fairly well with Little Cleo's or Wedding Rings spiced with a piece of worm. Warming water should improve bass fishing. Fish slowly presented crankbaits or worms or grubs near structure.

LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well for rainbow and brown trout in shallow water with PowerBait. The resort is open.

FISH - The lake's ice-free, and access to the Forest Service boat ramp is available, as are plenty of bank spots for shore casters. The lake got 4,500 legal-sized trout and another 500 larger trout stocked this week, and they're starting to bite, with PowerBait or worms top choices. Trolling is slow.

WILLOW - The lake received another installment of 4,500 legal-sized rainbows recently, and fishing for them is fairly good but best around the boat ramp. Effort is very light. The county boat ramp is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the campgrounds remain closed.

ROGUE - The upper Rogue slowed for spring chinook salmon Thursday when spikes in out-flows from Lost Creek Lake slowed what had been a solid bite for boat and bank anglers. The middle Rogue was hit and miss for springers except for a good flurry at Hayes Falls, and the lower Rogue hit a springer lull the past three days, as well.

That puts the best bet back to the upper Rogue, where it likely will remain until the fall chinook move into the lower Rogue Bay later this summer. The issue is flow — not so much that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 3,500 cubic feet per second of water, but that it's an increase of more than 500 cfs since the beginning of the week. The releases are set to try to keep the lake hovering between full and 6 inches shy of full. Springers prefer the water dropping, not rising.

The change has slowed what was a flurry of migration, with 855 springers hitting Cole Rivers Hatchery in the past week. Only 38 had reached the collection pond before that. Bankies have done well with beads and yarn at the Hatchery Hole, while boat anglers have done very well with roe and divers, Kwikfish and cut-plug herring.

The lower 8 miles of the Rogue have been slow for springers. Middle Rogue angling for springers is tough, but the Hayes Falls crowd is running into fish on a consistent basis.

All wild chinook must be released riverwide in May, with fin-clipped hatchery fish allowed to be kept.

APPLEGATE - The river is closed.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua is fishing fair to good for spring chinook in the Elkton area, where flows are dropping and water conditions are improving. Most of the action is between the Scottsburg and Scott Creek boat ramps by driftboaters fishing Kwikfish or roe and sandshrimp combinations. A few springers have been caught this week in the lower section of the North Umpqua, as well. The South Umpqua is closed.