Fishing Report: April 5, 2013
COASTWIDE - The calm seas and flat waves that have contributed to excellent bottomfishing the past two weeks are over for now. Forecasts call for 25-knot winds and seas of 9 to 11 feet high through the weekend, which should be more than enough to blow bottomfishers back to port. And that's too bad, because near-shore lingcod fishing has been so good at places such as Brookings and Gold Beach that anglers were actually releasing keeper-sized lings in hopes of catching even bigger ones. Black, white and red jigs have been working 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 sport crabbers have been taking advantage of the calmer waters to drop a crab pots on the way to bottomfishing reefs. Look for interest in bay crabbing to increase this weekend in Coos Bay and Bandon while winds blow ocean crabbers to shore.
All shellfish harvesting, including mussels, is open along the Oregon Coast. Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended, however. 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.
BROOKINGS - Ocean jigging has been excellent for big lingcod and rockfish at near-shore rocks along kelp lines, but poor ocean forecasts make it likely bottomfishers will remain in port at least until early next week.
GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has been very good at spots such as Nesika Beach, but rough seas may put a damper on surf casters this weekend. When conditions improve, surf anglers will be 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 planted at the boat ramp last month. The lake is listed as full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.
APPLEGATE - Trout fishing has been slow. No excess Applegate River winter steelhead have been stocked in the lake so far, but look for some excess adults to find their way up there later this month. 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 are also good bets. Bass fishing is slow. The Copper ramp is open. The lake is listed as 58 percent full.
DIAMOND - The lake is open for ice fishing and still sports a strong sheet of ice covered by about a foot of snow. 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 two weeks ago with 3,500 legal-sized rainbows. A few of the 351 adult summer steelhead released in the lake from Cole Rivers Hatchery are still garnering interest among anglers near creek mouths. They are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary, and 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 has risen dramatically to 87 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 - The pond earlier received 1,400 legal-sized rainbow trout last month, and interest among anglers has followed. 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 until late April.
LAKE OF THE WOODS - The lake is frozen, but ice fishing is slow.
LEMOLO - The lake opened April 1 as part of the new 2013 regulations, and anglers must release all the brown trout they catch until the traditional trout opener on April 26. The rainbow trout and kokanee limit is 5 per day. The lake already is 100 percent ice-free, and lots of brown trout have been caught and released by a handful of anglers this past week. Fly-fishing has been best with black leeches and streamers.
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, so fishing is best around them. Anglers also are running into schools of small 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. Stepped-back water releases have put the reservoir back on its filling pattern and the surface elevation is up another 6 feet to 1,865 feet above sea level, or 7 feet from full. The surface temperature on Thursday was up to 53 degrees.
ROGUE - This is not the weekend to be winding down spring break with a fishing trip on the Rogue, where anglers riverwide will be plagued by rising and turbid conditions into Monday. That shifts the best bet to the far upper Rogue until the river drops next week and jump-starts the spring chinook season.
Outflows from Lost Creek Lake have been dialed up to 2,500 cubic feet per second this week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers catches up to its filling schedule for the reservoir. That should make for stable fishing conditions from the Hatchery Hole down to Casey State Park, where Big Butte Creek's dirty flows likely will blow out the remaining upper Rogue this weekend. In this stretch, side-drifting yarn balls or pink worms will be good for winter steelhead that will be milling around, especially at the Hatchery Hole and the New Bridge Hole just upstream from Highway 62. Driftboaters can fish K-11 Kwikfish in this stretch. Also note that the stretch from the Hatchery Hole to McGregor Park now closes at 7 p.m.
Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were up to 3,800 cfs Thursday and forecast to peak Monday at 11,000 cfs. When it starts to drop significantly, look for spring chinook as well as winter steelhead in migration lanes with Kwikfish or roe.
The flows at Grants Pass Thursday were at 4,400 cfs and rising. Flows are forecast to peak at 9,000 cfs Monday. When it drops, the Galice area, including Ennis Riffle, should have a decent mix of spring chinook and winter steelhead. Slowly dragging small clusters of roe or yarn balls through deeper runs will generally work for winter steelhead. A few spring chinook have reportedly been seen in the area, often rolling in places such as Taylor Creek Canyon, which can be fished effectively with Kwikfish from drifboats.
In the lower Rogue, flows at Agness were a springer-friendly 5,700 cfs Thursday. The upward trend will put the springers off the bite until they peak Tuesday at 16,500 cfs at Agness. When they begin to drop steadily, it should trigger a fine mid-week to late-week bite for springers for those anchored in migration lanes or plunking with big Spin-Glo's and roe off key gravel bars such as Lobster Creek and Dunkelberger Bar.
The river is open to the harvest of wild steelhead riverwide, with anglers allowed to keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches a day, and no more than five a year, through April. Only fin-clipped hatchery springers can be kept.
APPLEGATE / CHETCO / ELK / SIXES - The fishing seasons ended Sunday evening.
UMPQUA - Early spring chinook fishing had been fair in the lower river, but flows are forecast to rise and peak at 23,000 cfs Tuesday at Elkton. When flows subside, look for a decent spring chinook showing.