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Fishing Report: Oct, 4, 2013

Ocean Outlook

COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for weekend winds of 15 knots starting Friday and dropping to 5 knots on Sunday with modest surf, so look for some decent fishing opportunities for salmon out of Brookings and bottomfish out of other ports.

The restriction on bottomfish fishing inside the 30-fathom line for everything but tuna is over for the rest of the year, but there is not too much deepwater fall fishing to matter much.

Tuna anglers have stopped running out far now that cooler water conditions have settled in.

Shellfishers will not get any morning minus tides they can take advantage of this week. Mussel harvest is open from the California border north to Yachats River in Lincoln City, while razor clam digging has resumed in Clatsop County, so the entire coast is open.

The only halibut fishing across the vast majority of Oregon is south of Humbug Mountain, where activity has been somewhat light except for some halibut fishing out of Brookings.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The cabezon season has been extended for now because enough of the quota remains after last Monday's deadline. The limit remains one fish per day at least 15 inches long, and they count against the seven-fish marine aggregate limit. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate.

It is likely to be a very good weekend for bay crabbing thanks to lighter winds and the quick flushing of fresh water from last week's storms.

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 - Ocean salmon fishing kicked in Wednesday with a good bite around the whistle buoy for those trolling anchovies with hoochies or Rogue blades. Good weather forecasts make it likely to be a very good weekend of fishing there targeting chinook bound for the Chetco River. Chetco-bound chinook tend to hold near the bottom, so slowly trolling anchovies near the bottom or skipping them along the ocean floor while trolling with banana sinkers are good bets for this fishery, which runs through Oct. 13.

Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been very good. Anglers should release large female lingcod to help recruitment.

Surfperch fishing has been on again, off again at Winchuck Beach depending on the winds, so it's likely to be an iffy weekend for surfperch. When the winds die down, catch them on bright streamer flies, clam necks, mussels or plastic, imitation crayfish.

GOLD BEACH - A mix of chinook and coho salmon are in the bay, and Wednesday brought a decent flurry of chinook catches around the green can in the bay. Overall, it has been slow for chinook. About 85 percent of the coho getting caught now are wild and must be released unharmed. Troll anchovies with a Rogue blade in the front — a mix of copper and chartreuse for chinook and pink or red blades for coho. Indian Creek-bound chinook have not shown up in force yet, but they could any day. Surfperch fishing has fallen off from the sand spit off the bay's south jetty. Bottomfishing for black rockfish and lingcod remains very good outside of Gold Beach when anglers can get out, which doesn't look possible this weekend.

Lake Outlook

APPLEGATE - The lake has been largely ignored by trout anglers, despite recently getting stocked with legal and larger rainbows. A few anglers trolling higher up in the lake are faring well for rainbows on Wedding Rings with worms or using PowerBait off the bank near the Copper ramp. The lake is down to 63 feet from full. Bass fishing has been very good off points and in coves as well as near the dam.

DIAMOND - The lake has picked up again for rainbow trout with the arrival of cooler water. Most of the action lately has been still-fishing with PowerBait in the deepest areas of the lake. Fly-fishing has been good on chironomids and woolly buggers. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are 10 inches or more now. The limit is eight trout per day over 8 inches, but only one can be more than 20 inches.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been fair amid colder weather conditions. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is down to 24 percent full and dropping rather rapidly. Trout are holding off the mouth of Emigrant Creek and can be caught there on worms and woolly bugger flies. A standing public-health advisory continues about eating all but trout from the lake because of elevated mercury levels.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - Early-morning fishing is the best bet for the lake, with the action dying off dramatically during the day and kicking back in around dusk. Anchoring in deep water and fishing PowerBait has been best, while trollers have worked the middle of the lake with some success. Bass fishing has slowed as cooler weather has sunk in. Largemouth are hitting a variety of crankbaits and plastic worms during warmer days. The lake is at 59 percent of full heading into the final month of fishing.

HYATT - The BLM boat ramps are closed during the federal government shutdown, and those are the only public ramps on the lake. A few anglers will back in their boats in shallow areas off Hyatt Lake Road, but be careful of mud. The lake recently received another 1,000 legals and 200 larger rainbows and some big fish have been caught in the lake this fall. Trolling the old creek channel near the lake's western edge can be good, especially in the evenings. The lake jumped up slightly to 57 percent of full.

LOST CREEK - The lake is back under a voluntary advisory against water contact after another bloom of blue-green algae gripped the lake. Only the Stewart State Park ramp is open during the federal government shutdown. Smallmouth bass were hitting plastic worms and crankbaits off rocky points, primarily in the mornings and evenings off points. The lake is down to about 6 inches from its normal low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has fallen to 58 degrees. Look for that to continue dropping.

River Outlook

ROGUE - Fall chinook salmon fishing ended with a flurry in the Grants Pass area last weekend as anglers there start targeting summer steelhead because they have to. The flies-only season is in full swing in the upper Rogue, where dropping water temperatures have started to slow the streamer bite in favor of nymphing or egg patterns behind spawning chinook. The lower Rogue is seeing a mix of chinook and coho in the bay while recent rains have gotten good pods of chinook to shoot upstream. That makes the best bet the upper Rogue for driftboaters and waders.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake have hovered at 1,100 cubic feet per second, and they are scheduled to remain at that level at least through Thursday. The unfortunate thing is that the releases from Lost Creek Lake are down even more and are now at 49 degrees instead of the more steelhead-friendly 56 degrees of September. That means anglers need to start divesting themselves of streamers in favor of egg patterns fished behind spawning chinook. Remember not to wade into the redds; just carefully move around them.

Summer steelhead numbers reaching Cole Rivers Hatchery continue to come in around 50 fish a week now, and look for that to run pretty steady for the next few weeks. That has fewer anglers targeting the Hatchery Hole.

The steelhead are now mostly congregated in tailouts behind spawning salmon, sometimes in very shallow water. Catches are best on overcast days or late in the evening.

The flies-only rules stay in effect through October in the upper Rogue, which is now defined as water upstream of the Fishers Ferry boat ramp.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

In the middle Rogue, steelheaders are using a mix of flies, bait and crayfish plugs to catch summer steelhead, and they're waiting for the fall chinook to start stacking up on spawning beds before they start focusing on eggs. Water levels are very low, with just 1,556 cfs of water recorded in Grants Pass. That will help fly-fishing for summer steelhead at tailouts and the heads of pools, primarily at dusk.

The lower Rogue bay had a nice flurry of chinook biting anchovies Wednesday afternoon near the green can in the estuary, but overall it remains somewhat slow for chinook and coho. About 85 percent of the coho are wild and should be released unharmed.

The Indian Creek fish have yet to show in force, but expect these big chinook to move into the bay at any time. That's when trolling or casting spinners from the bank near the creek mouth will improve dramatically. In the Agness area, fishing for halfpounders and adult steelhead has been good in the mornings and evenings. Catch the halfpounders and adults on everything from streamer flies to fake egg clusters, crayfish plugs and Panther Martin lures.

APPLEGATE - The river is open for trout fishing. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. It is illegal to target steelhead when they reach the river during trout season.