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Fishing Report: March 29, 2013

COASTWIDE - Calm seas and light winds have made for excellent early-season jigging for rockfish and lingcod along near-shore reefs. Good ocean fishing conditions are forecast through the Easter weekend, with winds not expected to top 10 knots until early next week. Near-shore ling fishing has been very good at Brookings and Gold Beach. Black, white and red jigs should work best.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. No cabezon may be kept until July. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

The ocean is open to sport and commercial crabbers, and some are starting to take advantage of the calmer weather to drop a few crab pots on the way to bottomfishing reefs. Bay crabbing should draw some interest this weekend in Coos Bay and Bandon.

All shellfish harvesting is open along the entire Oregon Coast, including mussel harvesting. The first morning minus tides of the spring season happen this weekend, making for good conditions for digging razor clams and bay clams. Anyone recreationally harvesting abalone or rock scallops will need to obtain the free abalone and scallop harvest card in addition to an Oregon Shellfish License. The limit for abalone is one per day and five per year, and for rock scallops it's 24 per day.

BROOKINGS - Ocean jigging has been excellent for big lingcod and rockfish at near-shore rocks along kelp lines. Look for good fishing to continue at least through the weekend. Anglers have reported catching several chinook salmon accidentally while jigging for lings. They must be released.

GOLD BEACH - Anglers are taking advantage of excellent surf conditions to fish for lingcod, with catches so good that some anglers are actually releasing lings just to keep fishing. Surfperch fishing has really picked up at Nesika Beach, with surf anglers casting sandshrimp, scented rubber crayfish and clam necks for some nice redtails. Fish both sides of the high tide, with the last hour of the incoming tide often best. Keep your eyes open for sneaker waves.

AGATE - 1,000 legal-sized and 100 larger rainbow trout were stocked last month. The lake is 93 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Trout fishing has been slow. A few anglers are targeting what's left of the 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbow trout stocked there in January. Try trolling Wedding Rings or Triple Teasers with a piece of worm. PowerBait or wind-drifting worms also are good bets. Bass fishing is slow. No winter steelhead have been released yet in the lake. The Copper ramp is unusable, and Hart-Tish Park is closed. French Gulch is open.

DIAMOND - The lake still is open for ice fishing. Most of the action is near the resort because that area has the best access, with catches best in about 20 feet of water. Anglers are either dangling worms less than 10 feet below the ice or fishing PowerBait off the bottom. Some are doing well with white or pink jigs. Last summer's fingerlings are now more than 8 inches long, but most of the rainbows being caught are 12 to 16 inches long. Show caution when on the ice. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - The lake was infused last week with 3,500 legal-sized rainbows, and they were all stocked at the county park boat ramps. Look for those fish to be caught on flies, worms, small spinners and PowerBait. A few of the 351 adult summer steelhead released in the lake from Cole Rivers Hatchery are still garnering interest among anglers. They are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary. Anglers can keep just one over 20 inches long per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The water is murky and the lake is almost two-thirds 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 - The pond earlier this month received 1,400 legal-sized rainbow trout. Catches are best on worms. PowerBait, small Panther Martin lures or streamer flies. The pond is open year-round.

FISH - Ice fishing near the resort and off the Forest Service boat ramp has been good with jigs, worms and PowerBait. The ice is firm. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake was listed Thursday at 64 percent full. The lake is open year-round.

HOWARD PRAIRIE, HYATT and LEMOLO - Fishing is closed.

LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is slow.

LOST CREEK - A handful of anglers are taking advantage of recent balmy weather to troll near the dam, where they are finding a mixture of holdover trout and some of the 25,000 legal-sized rainbows stocked there last week. The stocking occurred at the two boat ramps. Anglers also are running into schools of the smaller spring chinook stocked there. The chinook are undersized and should be handled as little as possible. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait, while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers. The lake level rose another 6 feet this week to 1,859.5 feet above sea level, or 12.5 feet from full.

ROGUE - This week's rain did little to jump-start the late-run winter steelhead and early-run spring chinook salmon fisheries riverwide, putting a damper on anglers looking to take advantage of spring break to hit the Rogue.

That keeps the best bet on the middle Rogue, even though April usually has it either on the upper Rogue for winter steelhead or the lower Rogue for early springers.

Stagnant water conditions have left winter steelhead sluggish and not interested in moving much, but the middle Rogue around Rand and Galice often provide decent fishing opportunities for driftboaters under these conditions. Slowly dragging small clusters of roe or yarn balls through deeper runs will generally work for winter steelhead. A few spring chinook salmon have been reported, but no confirmed catches have come to the middle Rogue so far this season. Flows are an issue.

The flows at Grants Pass are forecast to jump to about 3,600 cfs Monday and then start to drop, and that should trigger a very good steelhead bite. When it does, bank anglers working places such as Chair Riffle with sideplaners or drift anglers using worms and corkies at Ennis Riffle should find steelhead.

The lower Rogue is low and clear, which has severely slowed what was starting to look like the first springer bite of the early season. Flows are set to peak Tuesday and drop, and that should trigger a good springer bite. Anglers have been running into winter steelhead, but two out of every three are either dark or spawned-out.

In the upper Rogue, this week's sprinkles barely helped the winter steelhead bite. Plugging under these conditions will be OK through the weekend, but it won't be hot. After Monday's slight peak in flows, look for a pretty good winter steelhead bite through the rest of the week. No spring chinook have been captured at the Cole Rivers Hatchery trap, but crews are scheduled to check it today.

The upper Rogue's first chinook of the year was caught March 7 at the Hatchery Hole.

The river is open to the harvest of wild steelhead riverwide. Anglers can keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches a day, and no more than five a year. Only fin-clipped hatchery springers can be kept.

CHETCO - Water conditions are low, and the season ends Sunday night.

APPLEGATE - Some anglers have been running into good clusters of winter steelhead fishing egg flies or small pink worms under bobbers jig-style. Most of the catches have been on the lower river. The season on the Applegate ends Sunday evening. No wild steelhead may be kept, and no fishing from a floating device is allowed.

ElK/SIXES - Both rivers are low and clear and likely won't get much attention from anglers before Sunday evening's season closures on both streams.