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Fishing Report: April 26, 2013

COASTWIDE - Five-knot winds and mellow swells will greet ocean anglers today and Saturday, then a cold front will boost the north winds but still keep the swells to a manageable 5 feet Sunday south of Cape Blanco. That's good news for coastal anglers looking for another hot weekend of bottomfishing, particularly for those targeting lingcod on near-shore reefs and just off kelp beds. 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 it should be a good weekend for bay crabbing.

All shellfish harvesting, including mussels, is open along the Oregon Coast. Eating whole, recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended unless only the adductor muscle is eaten. If you don't know what an adductor muscle is, don't eat scallops.

BROOKINGS - The ocean salmon season for chinook opens Wednesday. Bottomfishers off Brookings have been incidentally catching chinook this spring, so a hot opener is possible. Troll in the lower third of the water column at first, then adjust. Ocean jigging has been excellent for big lingcod and rockfish at near-shore rocks along kelp lines. Some very good bar conditions are forecast for today and Saturday mornings.

GOLD BEACH - Surfperch fishing has kicked up again at spots such as Nesika Beach, and good surf conditions are forecast through the weekend. Cast sandshrimp, scented rubber crayfish and clam necks for some nice redtails just inside of the breakers, particularly around rocks. Fish both sides of the high tide, with the last hour of the incoming tide often best.

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. Small electric motors are legal. The lake is open year-round.

APPLEGATE - Trout fishing is best near the Copper boat ramp now that excess hatchery winter steelhead collected from the Applegate River have been released there. Hatchery technicians added 267 excess adult winter steelhead there Tuesday, bringing to 413 the total released there so far this month. Hatchery workers are planning to release 1,000 steelhead into the lake this spring. They are legally considered trout once they're released into the lake. Only one over 20 inches can be kept. Catch them casting spoons, spinners and large leech flies. 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. The Copper ramp is open. The lake has risen to less than 5 feet from full.

DIAMOND - The lake is ice-free, and the north ramp is open. Anglers are hitting rainbows at the north, west and south ends of the lake on PowerBait and worms. Trolling will be slow until the water warms. Fly-fishers will do well with small leech and chironomid patterns in shallower water. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be more than 20 inches. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - The lake was infused in mid-April with 3,500 legal-sized rainbows and 351 adult summer steelhead from Cole Rivers Hatchery in March. The steelies are legally considered rainbow trout, so no steelhead tag is necessary, and anglers can keep just one longer than 20 inches per day. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is 98 percent full.

EXPO - The pond earlier received another 1,300 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago. Catches are best on worms, PowerBait, small Panther Martin lures and streamer flies. The pond is open year-round.

FISH - The lake is ice-free and 72 percent full, with slow trolling for trout likely a good option this weekend. Some of last year's tiger trout could be in the 10-inch range this year, but they still must be released unharmed. Catches of rainbow trout should be good off the Forest Service boat ramp, and anglers are reminded that they need a sno-park pass to park there through April. Fish worms or PowerBait.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake opens Saturday. The lake is ice-free, and all ramps and campgrounds are open. Fishing will be best for boat anglers anchored in about 12 to 15 feet of water. Fan out your casts of PowerBait or bobbers and worms. Fish should be cruising the shallows all day, particularly if it's overcast. Bank angling will be best off the resort jetty and along Klum Landing. The limit is five trout per day with an 8-inch minimum, and only one can be longer than 20 inches.

HYATT - The lake opens Saturday. The lake is ice-free, and the BLM boat ramps are open, but there is no camping at the BLM complex. Still-fishing near the dam, the Orchard and along the creek channel will be best with PowerBait. Bass fishing will be very slow. The limit is five trout over 8 inches long, but only one can be longer than 20 inches.

LEMOLO - The lake opened April 1, and anglers can start keeping brown trout Saturday, when brown trout become legal in the daily five-trout limit. The lake is ice-free and fishing well for fly-fishers using leeches and bank anglers with PowerBait.

LOST CREEK - Trolling for trout has improved, the surface temperature is up to 54 degrees, and the lake is now 5 feet from full. Trollers are finding a mix of 15-inch holdover trout and legals from the 25,000 fish stocked there earlier this month. Both ramps are open. Look for the stocked chinook to be close to 8 inches, which is where they can start going on stringers. Bank anglers are doing best with PowerBait, while trollers are using Wedding Rings with worms or Triple Teasers.

ROGUE - Despite good schools of fish, the lower Rogue has slowed for spring chinook salmon fishing because of low water, while the middle Rogue has been slow for springers but decent for late-run winter steelhead, and the upper Rogue is just starting to get a taste of the springer season.

That makes the best bet a tough call, but it's the upper Rogue at a time when it's still an in-between period for steelhead and springers.

The first spring chinook hit Cole Rivers Hatchery over the weekend, and that's good news for anglers champing at the bit to get after springers. The problem, however, is water. With only 1,840 cubic feet per second out of Lost Creek Lake, migration has slowed. Flows at Dodge Bridge were just shy of 2,000 cfs Thursday and less than 2,500 cfs at the old Gold Ray Dam site.

A few boat anglers fishing Kwikfish have caught springers, with most in the 14- to 18-pound range. It's still slow, but the run should be as good or better than last year. A few late-run winter steelhead have been caught by plug anglers this week, and four legitimate summer steelhead found their way into the hatchery collection pond last week. That's a bit early, but some summers always show up amid the early springer run.

In the middle Rogue, fishing has slowed to a crawl because of flows barely higher than 2,500 cfs at Grants Pass. That's worse than mid-summer flows, and it's bogged down the springer migration. A few are getting caught at Rainie Falls.

The lower Rogue is seeing plenty of early springers, but the water is so low and clear that it's tough to get them to bite. Guides are running into a handful of springers daily, but rain is needed to kick-start the catching part of fishing there. No rains are forecast for the next week.

All wild chinook must be released unharmed riverwide through May. Anglers can keep up to one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long per day until Tuesday evening, when the requirement for catch-and-release of all wild steelhead kicks in.

APPLEGATE/CHETCO/Elk/SIXES - Fishing is closed 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.

UMPQUA - Spring chinook fishing has slowed a bit as lower water has hit the mainstem below Elkton, and a few springers already have made it over Winchester Dam into the lower North Umpqua River.