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Fishing Report: Aug. 24, 2012

Ocean Outlook

COASTWIDE - Small-craft advisories will dog the South Coast this weekend — Saturday looks a bit dicey — but look for the ocean to settle down Sunday for chinook salmon anglers.

Bottomfishing remains good and very good in places. No halibut fishing north of Humbug Mountain for the rest of the year, as last week's anglers gobbled up all but 5,000 pounds of the quota — not enough to reopen. However, fishing is open south of Humbug Mountain through October, and catches have been good off Brookings in water 250 to 280 feet deep.

Some good morning low tides are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, but they are very early.

Chinook fishing has been excellent off Southern Oregon ports. The coho season is over. Crabbers working bays are catching plenty of Dungeness, and the crabs are filling out after the molt. Ocean crabbing is open, and some bottomfishers are dropping pots on their way to jigging reefs and they have done fairly well on days that the ocean is calm.

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

BROOKINGS - The chinook bite has been excellent, and catches should be decent Saturday and good to very good Sunday as a new front moves in. Most of the best catches have been 3.5 to 6 miles out, trolling anywhere from 25 feet to 60 feet down. Lots of coho have shown up recently and they must all be released unharmed. Deeper fishing will focus your catch on chinook. Trolling anchovies with various-colored hoochies has been best. The better colors seem to be changing almost daily. Surfperch fishing is good off Winchuck Beach. One boat Wednesday found schools of tuna, but they were 54 miles offshore.

COOS BAY - Tuna were running anywhere from 17 to 25 miles offshore this week, and the bite has been good. Bottomfish catches have been excellent, as has crabbing.

GOLD BEACH - Ocean anglers are doing well for bottomfish. Chinook fishing off the Rogue mouth has been good, and trolling the bay has picked up dramatically after a slow start earlier this month. Anchovies and gold spinners have worked best in the bay, 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.

Lake Outlook

AGATE - Fishing for bass, crappie and perch is very good in the evenings, while 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 - Road access to the Seattle Bar area is closed because of crews fighting a nearby wildfire in the upper Applegate drainage. A buoy line also restricts boaters in the southern end of the lake so helicopters can fill water buckets. Largemouth bass fishing is good around structures, particularly the sunken Christmas tree lines. The lake has dropped about three feet in the past week and was listed at slightly less than 35 feet from full Thursday. For trout, slowly troll Triple Teaser lures spiked with worms or fish PowerBait from the bank near the boat ramps.

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 well for trout, while trollers using Little Cleo's or Triple Teasers also have caught fish. The lake was listed Thursday at 55 percent full and dropping fast. Smallmouth bass fishing has improved off rocky banks, and a few largemouth have been taken in the willows.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Trout fishing has been fair for trollers using Triple Teasers or Wedding Rings with small pieces of worm. 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 78 percent full and stable this past 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 74 percent full Thursday — still very high for late August. The limit is five trout a day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be 20 inches or longer.

DIAMOND - The lake's trout bite has picked up slightly from last week, and algae is blooming in the lake. The trout bite has been scattered as fish scramble to find pockets of cool water, so they tend to be suspended in the water column. 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 getting 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 more than 47 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 53 percent full.

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.

River Outlook

ROGUE - Fall chinook have moved into the middle Rogue, where they are competing with a mess of halfpounders for angler attention. The upper Rogue has one more week of its chinook-or-steelhead choice, and the lower Rogue has picked up for fall chinook and clicked well for halfpounders all the way to Agness.

That creates a short shift in the best bet to the middle Rogue, where the fall chinook are in good shape and the very early halpounders are making a splash. Fall chinook fishing is best from boats using K-15 Kwikfish, with chartreuse or orange tiger working best. The float from Robertson Bridge to Griffin Park has collected the most attention, but they're also around Taylor Creek Canyon and their other usual haunts. Halfpounders are biting everything from worms to streamer flies to Panther Martin lures at most of the access points along the middle Rogue where there's riffly water.

In the upper Rogue, summer steelhead fishing continues to be steady throughout the stretch, with K-11 and crayfish plugs working best. Side-drifting worms also is working well, while fly-fishers wading riffles have done well.

Water releases have dropped 200 cubic feet per second out of Lost Creek Lake this week to 2,000 cfs. That will improve fly-fishing when the flies-only season starts Sept. 1. Chinook anglers continue to fish downstream of Dodge Bridge throughout the month and they are finding chinook to catch, but more dark fish are in the mix. 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. 21, 9,723 spring chinook and 2,183 summer steelhead had returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery.

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, trollers have had their best week in the bay but catches are still off from what was expected, considering the number of fall chinook around. The lower Rogue is good for halfpounders up to Agness.

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

UMPQUA - The lower mainstem Umpqua is very good for fall chinook on roe or Qwikfish.