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Fishing Report: April 12, 2013

COASTWIDE - Decent ocean conditions today and Saturday should give locals a chance for some bottomfishing over the next two days, but look for the seas to kick up in the afternoon and end up with 9-foot swells by Saturday night.

Those who go outside the bar will find very good near-shore lingcod fishing out of Brookings and Gold Beach. 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 crabbing. Ocean anglers have been taking advantage of the calmer waters to drop crab pots on the way to bottomfishing reefs.

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 when anglers have been able to cross the bar. Some decent bar conditions are forecast for today and Saturday mornings.

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 and the water is beginning to clear. No gas motors are allowed. 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 has risen to less than 14 feet from full thanks to heavy inflows last weekend.

DIAMOND - The lake's ice has melted rapidly and is no longer safe for ice fishing. Some open water exists near the north side of the resort, but look for ice near the marina to break up and open the water for boat fishing some time next week. Fishing will be best with PowerBait or worms under bobbers, and leech and black streamer patterns will work for fly-fishers. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long. 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 from 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 has risen dramatically to 92 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 received 1,300 legal-sized rainbow trout this week, which should generate interest in this pond at The Expo in Central Point. Catches are best on worms, PowerBait, small Panther Martin lures or streamer flies. The pond is open year-round.

FISH - The ice has quickly melted on most of the lake. The lake was listed Thursday as 69 percent full and rising. Catches of rainbow trout should be good off the Forest Service boat ramp. Anglers are reminded that they need a sno-park pass to park there through April. Fish worms or PowerBait. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. The lake is open year-round.

HOWARD PRAIRIE/HYATT - Fishing is closed until April 27, and both lakes already are nearly ice-free.

LEMOLO - The lake opened April 1 as part of the new 2013 regulations, but anglers must release all the brown trout they catch until the traditional trout opener on April 27. The rainbow trout and kokanee limit is 5 per day. The lake is ice-free, and lots of brown trout were caught and released by anglers this 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 two weeks ago. 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 to 1,867 feet above sea level, or 5 feet from full. The surface temperature on Thursday was 50 degrees.

ROGUE - The lower Rogue is starting to turn on for early spring chinook despite rather high and slightly murky water, while anglers along the middle Rogue are just starting to hit winter steelhead as water levels drop and clear after last week's rains. The upper Rogue is high but has good color and is starting to fish well for late-run steelhead for anglers fishing close to shore and in migration lanes.

That makes the middle Rogue the best bet, but each stretch of the river has its positives.

In the middle Rogue, flows were down to just under 5,000 cubic feet per second Thursday at Grants Pass, and the flows are forecast to drop steadily over the next week. That means anglers can expect good late-run winter steelhead fishing in high-water holes, downstream from the mouth of the Applegate River and in near-shore turns. These fish are on the move, so find them in water 4- to 8-feet deep along the inside turns of gravel bars. Planers and plunkers should find steelhead this weekend at hotspots such as Chair Riffle and the lower end of Griffin Park.

Outflows from Lost Creek Lake have been dialed up to 3,300 cfs this week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to get rid of some of last week's heavy inflows. That had flows at Dodge Bridge up to 4,240 cfs Thursday. The Corps expects to hold its water-releases steady through the weekend, and that means a dropping but clear upper Rogue should be a good spot for winter steelhead fishing. However, it will be much better from boats than from the bank, with the exception of places such as the Hatchery Hole, the New Bridge Hole near Casey State Park and the lower TouVelle State Park water. Plugs will out-fish roe and yarn flies because migrating fish bite metal better than standard baits.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down to 5,610 cfs Thursday and dropping, meaning winter steelhead and some spring chinook should be moving through. No spring chinook have entered the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pen yet, but another 400 winter steelhead moved into the hatchery this week, signifying a strong in-river migration period for wild and hatchery steelhead.

In the lower Rogue, the spring chinook bite has finally started to take hold, with about a dozen fish caught daily from boat and bank anglers. For boat anglers, anchovies with a Rogue spinner blade have by far out-fished everything else. For plunkers, pearl or dark Spin-Glo's have been the top choices at Huntley Park and near the mouth of Lobster Creek. Look for catches to improve as fresh schools of fish move through this week as the water drops. Flows at Agness on Thursday were 8,143 cfs and dropping.

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 spring chinook can be kept.

APPLEGATE/CHETCO/Elk/SIXES - The rivers are closed to fishing until May 25.

UMPQUA - The river was dropping and clearing into good shape for early spring chinook fishing on the lower river in the Elkton area.