Fishing Report: Dec. 21, 2012
COASTWIDE - Stiff winds and very sloppy seas have led to a small-craft advisory through Saturday night. Possible gale-force winds are in the forecast, as are 11-foot swells through the weekend. The ocean could start to settle down Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then it all starts again.
The ocean is open to sport crabbing, but the commercial season has been delayed until Dec. 30 to give the Dungeness more time to fill out.
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.
Dungeness crab catches plummeted this week because of heavy influxes of fresh water into bays. Look for poor bay crabbing conditions well into next week.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture closed mussel harvesting from the Columbia River to the California border because of elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. All other shellfish harvesting is open from the Columbia River to the California border.
Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. Coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.
GOLD BEACH - Rain and heavy winds have pushed all anglers away from the Rogue River estuary.
BROOKINGS - Bay effort is nonexistent because of high water levels in the Chetco and heavy winds.
AGATE - Trout-fishing effort has slowed dramatically, and the lake is murky from runoff. Some of October's stocking of 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout still are available. Catching will be best still-fishing with worms or PowerBait. The lake is up to 70 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.
APPLEGATE - Heavy inflows continue to mix up the reservoir and drive most anglers away. Fishing pressure is very light, with a few anglers targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there last month. Troll Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is no longer usable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed. French Gulch is open.
DIAMOND - The lake will reopen Jan. 1 under new rules that make the lake a year-round fishery. The lake is now covered with a thin sheet of ice, though some open water will likely be present at the south end when the season opens.
EMIGRANT - Smallmouth bass fishing is slow at best now, though some trout should still be available when weather allows. The lake is up to 43 percent full. The lake is open year-round.
A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.
EXPO - Interest has waned since anglers have picked through most of the fall stocking of 500 legal-sized and 100 larger trout. Catch what's left of them on worms under bobbers or small Panther Martin lures. The pond is open year-round.
FISH - The lake is mostly covered with a thin sheet of ice that is not safe for ice fishing, which will likely start in early to mid January. Ice augers are available for rent at the resort. The lake is open year-round. It was listed Thursday at 60 percent full, up 3 percent in the past week. The lake is open year-round.
HOWARD PRAIRIE - Fishing is closed until April.
HYATT - Fishing is closed until April.
LAKE of the WOODS - The lake is icing over quickly, which has chased anglers away until the ice is strong enough to venture onto it. The lake is open year-round.
LEMOLO - The lake is closed for the season.
LOST CREEK - A persistent advisory against water contact has kept most anglers away. Those who fish there are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing until the blue-green algae advisory is lifted. Aggressive water releases from the reservoir have it back to its normal flood-control elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level and releases were backed off Thursday.
ROGUE - The upper Rogue has a chance to be fishable through the weekend despite the latest spate of storms, while the middle Rogue looks like it will rise significantly today and stay troublesome for winter steelhead prospectors who likely can get fishing again Monday or Tuesday. The lower Rogue is fishing well for winter steelhead when plunkers aren't blown off the water, which they are today.
That makes the far upper Rogue the best bet for late-run summer steelhead that continue to trickle into Cole Rivers Hatchery. Another 95 summers made it this past week. Outflows from Lost Creek Lake were cut from 3,800 cubic feet per second Thursday and will stick at 2,900 cfs for today, but expect some fluctuations based on inflows during the next round of storms.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were around 4,000 cfs Thursday and forecast to hover around 5,000 cfs through Sunday. If that pans out, look for decent late-run summer steelhead fishing into next week with worms and corkies upstream of Dodge Bridge and with scented egg flies or plugs downstream of Shady Cove. The bait ban remains in effect until Jan. 1 downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp.
The upper Rogue is set to get another 2,300 recycled summer steelhead some time between now and Dec. 31 at TouVelle State Park. Hatchery workers are waiting for flows to subside and stabilize enough that the fish will have a chance to get caught. They must be released before Jan. 1 under Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife protocols for retread steelhead on the upper Rogue.
In the middle Rogue, a few early winter steelhead showed up in the Galice area this past week, but flows quickly went sideways for anglers. Flows at Grants Pass were at a marginal 7,000 cfs Thursday and they were forecast to balloon to about 12,000 cfs on Saturday. It will start dropping fast Sunday and could be fishable for winter steelhead Tuesday and Wednesday before flows shoot up again.
Kite fishermen and plunkers were faring decently in the Rand area earlier this week fishing close to shore with plugs. K-11 Kwikfish remain the plug of choice for kite fishers there.
Plunkers were doing very well in the lower Rogue, but they got blown out Thursday by rapidly rising water and very heavy winds. Flows at Agness were at 16,200 cfs and rising Thursday afternoon. Not good.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
CHETCO - The river rose dramatically Thursday after a pretty good run of winter steelhead fishing earlier in the week. A mix of side-drifting roe and plugs turned anglers onto some excellent early-run winter steelhead, but the forecast is for poor conditions until late Sunday or Monday.
APPLEGATE - Early-run winter steelhead were reported in the lower Applegate this week, but targeting them is illegal until Jan. 1. Fishing is open only for trout, and all wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Spawning summer steelhead are also entering the Applegate to spawn in lower tributaries.
EK/SIXES - Water conditions were up and out of shape for angling Thursday, but the Elk should pull into fishing shape Sunday or Monday for winter steelhead. Early-run winter steelhead fishing has been excellent on roe when water conditions allow for fishing.
COOS - Water conditions are poor for winter steelhead fishing and will likely remain so through the weekend.
COQUILLE - High water continues to mar winter steelhead fishing efforts, but at least the river isn't forecast to hit flood stage this weekend.
UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua has been very high but was good for winter steelhead briefly before rising back out of shape. Winter steelhead are reported in the lower sections of the North and South Umpquas, but look for fishing to get better next week.