Fishing Report: Aug. 31, 2012
COASTWIDE - Fishing-friendly seas are forecast for the Labor Day weekend, and that should bode well for South Coast visitors looking to partake in excellent chinook salmon fishing and a good bottomfish bite that still is producing decent catches of lingcod.
There's no halibut fishing north of Humbug Mountain for the rest of the year, but fishing is open south of Humbug Mountain through October, and catches have been good off Brookings in water 250 to 280 feet deep.
Clammers can expect just one light morning minus tide in the next week, and that will occur late Saturday morning.
Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent out of Southern Oregon ports, and 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 have been dropping pots on their way to jigging reefs.
Tuna fishing has improved as warm water scoots closer to shore off the central coast, but tuna remain far out of southern ports.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day, and 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 should be very good for this weekend's salmon derby out of the Port of Brookings-Harbor. Most chinook have averaged 10 to 14 pounds, with the best catches coming 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 have done well for bottomfish when the ocean lies down. Chinook salmon fishing off the Rogue mouth has been good, though trolling in the bay has not picked up significantly despite large schools of chinook moving through. Fishing in 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, 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 producing fish. No fresh trout will be released for the rest of the summer because of warm water. The lake is dropping and is now half full.
No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - Road access to the south end of the lake is open up to the California border as the closures resulting from a nearby wildfire have eased. The road to Seattle Bar is closed, but that area is nothing but a mudhole now. 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 have also caught fish. The lake was listed this week as half 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 at 76 percent full and dropping slowly 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 being rebuilt. Most of the effort has been still-fishing with PowerBait. The lake was down to 72 percent full this past week — 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 picked up slightly from last week amid more seasonable air temperatures and a pesky algae bloom 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 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. Damsels, 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 rainbow trout. 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 fair 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 lake was down to more than 47 feet from full Thursday.
LAKE of the WOODS - Fishing is fair to 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. Trolling near the bank has been good with Triple Teasers and worms, and others working the deep channel have done well. The reservoir is half-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 - Fall chinook have moved into the middle Rogue but the bite is slower than it should be, while the upper Rogue's transition to the flies-only season begins Saturday, and lower Rogue anglers are playing with a mix of fall chinook and summer steelhead.
That keeps the best bet on the middle Rogue, where the fall chinook are in good shape and the very early halfpounders 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 White Horse Park to Robertson Bridge 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 middle Rogue riffles.
For fly-fishermen, the upper Rogue is the best bet because now is the time to take advantage of spawning chinook and relatively warm water conditions. Streamer flies work well now swung through riffles, and nymphing is good at heads of pools. For those working single salmon eggs behind spawning chinook, focus on tailouts and steer clear of the redds.
Water releases have remained steady at 2,000 cubic feet per second out of Lost Creek Lake this week. Another drop will help upper Rogue steelheading with flies, and flows out of Lost Creek will be walked down to 1,700 cfs by Sunday.
Anglers can continue to fish for fall chinook downstream of the old Gold Ray Dam site, and fishing there should be good with Kwikfish and roe for big fish. Upstream of the dam site is closed to chinook angling, even catch-and-release.
As of Aug. 28, 9,962 spring chinook and 2,311 summer steelhead had returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Both counts represent only slight gains over the past week.
Both wild and hatchery chinook may be kept downstream of the former Gold Ray Dam site, but all wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
In the lower Rogue, trollers continued to see lower catches than expected, but with large numbers of fish in the bay, good catches can be expected in the Agness area. Summer steelhead and halfpounder movements past Huntley Park have slowed a bit but they're present and catchable from Agness downstream.
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 Kwikfish.