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Fishing Report: Aug. 17, 2012

COASTWIDE - Flat seas and light winds are forecast for the weekend, and that should bode very well for everyone from salmon and halibut anglers to those targeting lingcod and black rockfish.

Some good morning low tides are present through Sunday, and that should be excellent for clammers because of low surf surge.

Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent off Southern Oregon ports, and coho catches are good out of central and northern ports. Crabbers working bays are catching plenty of Dungeness, and the crabs are filling out after the molt. Ocean crabbing is open but most crabbers are working the larger bays.

Halibut fishing is open today and Saturday north of Humbug Mountain, where anglers will take advantage of good seas during these two days of all-depth halibut fishing. South Coast halibut catches have been good off Brookings in water 250 to 280 feet deep.

Tuna fishing has improved as warm water scoots closer to shore.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, though no cabezon may be kept for the rest of 2012. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

BROOKINGS - The chinook bite has been excellent, and catches look like they should be very high through the weekend thanks to excellent weather reports. Chinook have been found everywhere from five miles out to inside the Chetco River estuary. Trolling anchovies with various-colored hoochies has been best. The best colors seem to change almost daily. Surfperch fishing is good off Winchuck Beach.

COOS BAY - Tuna were running anywhere from 17 to 25 miles offshore this week, and the bite has been good. Chinook fishing has been very good out of the port. Very favorable ocean conditions are forecast for the weekend.

GOLD BEACH - Ocean anglers are doing well for bottomfish now that the ocean has laid down. Chinook salmon fishing off the Rogue mouth has been good, and trolling in the bay has picked up dramatically after a slow start earlier this month. The bay has been best with anchovies and gold spinners, while anchovies and hoochies have been the offering of choice in the ocean. Surfperch fishing is excellent off the bay sand spit and at Nesika Beach. Use clam necks, mussels or Berkley Gulp sand worms.

AGATE - Fishing for bass, crappie and perch is very good in the evenings, but trout fishing is very slow. Wind-drifting nightcrawlers or fishing plastic grubs has been best for bass near the dam and around submerged willows or weed lines. The far upper end of the reservoir is fishing best for crappie with small jigs or black flies. No fresh trout will be released for the rest of the summer because of warm water. The lake is dropping and was listed Thursday at 63 percent full.

No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake has dropped about five feet in the past week and was listed at slightly less than 32 feet from full Thursday. For trout, slowly troll Triple Teaser lures spiked with worms or fish PowerBait from the bank near the boat ramps. With warm conditions, trout fishing is best near upper-lake tributaries. Bass fishing is very good off points and along the dam face. Hart-Tish Park is open and the boat ramp is usable, as is Copper and French Gulch, but French Gulch sports little parking.

EMIGRANT - Fishing for legal-sized trout stocked earlier this season has slowed amid warm water conditions. Fishing worms or slow trolling near creek mouths is best. Water clarity is fair. Bank anglers using chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait have fared OK for trout, while trollers using Little Cleo's or Triple Teasers have also caught fish. The lake was listed Thursday as 61 percent full and dropping fast. Smallmouth bass fishing has improved off rocky banks, and a few largemouth have been taken in the willows.

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

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Trout fishing has been fair for trollers using Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings with small pieces of worm, while some throwback anglers are doing well using Ford Fenders. Chartreuse and rainbow PowerBait are working best, along with worms seven feet or so under bobbers. Wind-drifting nightcrawlers also is good, with early mornings and dusk best. The limit is five trout per day, with one over 20 inches. The lake was listed Thursday at 80 percent full and stable this week.

HYATT - Bass fishing is in high gear, with anglers casting a variety of red lures doing well all day. One of the BLM boat ramps at the campground is closed while it is getting rebuilt. Most of the effort has been still-fishing with PowerBait. The lake was down to 76 percent full Thursday. The limit is five trout a day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be 20 inches or longer.

DIAMOND - The trout bite has picked up slightly from last week amid warm water temperatures. The bite has been scattered as fish scramble to find pockets of cool water, so they tend to be suspended in the water column now and not really on the bottom. Fishing with worms under sliding bobbers in the south end has been best, while others have done well trolling F-4 Flatfish or wind-drifting crawlers on the western side of the lake. Focus on water 10 to 20 feet deep and stay mobile. Fly-fishing is best over the weeds in the south end. Damsel, leeches and woolly buggers have been best. The limit is eight trout over 8 inches long, with only one allowed over 20 inches.

EXPO - Fishing is fair at best for what remains of the 2,000 rainbow trout stocked there last month. Use worms, PowerBait and small Panther Martin lures. The pond is accessible at Gate 5 for the Jackson County Expo Park off Peninger Road.

LOST CREEK - Water conditions are good for trout and bass anglers working different areas of the reservoir. Holdover trout from earlier stockings are being caught regularly by trollers near the dam or wind-drifters with worms above Peyton Bridge in the no-wake zone. Still-fishing is good with PowerBait at the Medco access and near Takelma. Bass fishing has picked up in the coves, near the dam and off points. The salmon fly hatch is over. The lake was down to almost 43 feet from full Thursday.

LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing is good for rainbows and brown trout along shorelines, especially at dusk. Wind-drifting worms from boats has been good for rainbows and browns.

FISH - Fishing for holdover trout from the mid-July stocking is good in the upper half of the lake. Fishing for stocked chinook salmon is good near the resort and the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp. Water conditions have improved and the lake's clarity has returned. Trolling near the bank has been good with Triple Teasers and worms, and others working the deep channel have done well. The reservoir was listed Thursday at 63 percent full and dropping fast.

WILLOW - Trolling Triple Teasers or Tasmanian Devils has been fair for stocked rainbow trout, especially in the morning and around dusk. Lots of illegally stocked yellow perch are showing up in the catches of bank anglers near grass and willows. The ramp, campgrounds and cabins are open and available.

ROGUE - A good mix of late-run spring chinook and early-run summer steelhead have upper Rogue anglers very busy despite triple-digit heat, while the middle Rogue is starting to hum with fall chinook catches, but nothing huge. The lower Rogue is a mix of improved trolling in the bay for big fall chinook and very good early fly-fishing for a passel of halfpounders that have moved into the river in the past two weeks.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue in the familiar pick-your-pleasure fashion.

Upstream of Dodge Bridge is closed to chinook fishing now, but the entire arsenal of angling tools is available for summer steelhead anglers. Plugs are out-fishing roe and worms, and flies have been good in the evenings. Water releases have stayed steady at 2,200 cubic feet per second out of Lost Creek Lake all week, slowing springer migration. Chinook anglers continue to fish downstream of Dodge Bridge throughout the month, and that stretch will get hit hard by guides looking for chinook to catch. Kwikfish wrapped with sardines are out-fishing roe and corkies for boat anglers, while some catches have been reported by those fishing eggs beneath bobbers in slow-water pockets.

As of Aug. 9, 9,198 spring chinook and 1,747 summer steelhead had returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery. That's the last available count date. About 700 summer steelhead have been recycled so far this season to Gold Hill, and they are pretty well scattered now. These fish have foy tags on their backs, and anyone who catches one is urged to call Cole Rivers Hatchery to report when and where it was caught.

Both wild and hatchery chinook may be kept downstream of Dodge Bridge, but all wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

In the lower Rogue, netting counts of halfpounders at Huntley Park have been excellent the past two weeks. The fish are biting streamer flies, Panther Martin lures and worms from Agness on down. Most, however, are in the Lobster and Quosatana creek areas.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing, but anglers cannot target steelhead. Resident trout and cutthroat trout are available, but effort has been light.

SOUTH UMPQUA - The smallmouth bite is excellent on rubber worms, grubs and popper surface flies.