Fishing Report: Nov. 15, 2013
COASTWIDE - Forecasts call for winds up to 15 knots and 4-foot swells today, increasing to 9-foot swells Saturday and Sunday, which will keep most bottomfishers inside the larger estuaries.
For clammers, a couple of good minus tides are forecast for today and Saturday afternoons, but the remaining minus tides will be too late in the day for diggers to take advantage of them. Mussel harvest is closed from Cape Arago south to the California border, while razor clam digging is open along the entire coast.
Chinook salmon fishing is allowed in the ocean off the Elk and Sixes river mouths through November, but few take advantage of the season because of tough access out of Port Orford and unpredictable seas.
The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The cabezon season has been extended because close to half of the quota went unfilled in the regular season, which was supposed to close Sept. 30. The limit remains one per day at least 15 inches long, and it counts 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.
Bay crabbing should remain good until a sizeable freshet pushes the Dungeness out of estuaries and into the ocean.
BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing is closed. Jigging for black and blue rockfish as well as lingcod has been good when anglers have been able to sneak outside of the estuary. This weekend doesn't look like one of them.
GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is very slow, with the occasional fall chinook caught near the mouth of Indian Creek. Flows are very low and that's keeping fresh fish from moving upstream. Coho fishing is slow. All wild coho must be released unharmed.
AGATE - The lake was stocked recently with legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, boosting what had been a languishing fishery. Worms or PowerBait are best. Trolling for the fresh planters is slow. Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow. Pink or white crappie jigs have worked OK for crappie, as have small black flies cast and stripped near submerged willows. The lake is up slightly to 14 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.
APPLEGATE - The lake's boat ramps are open, but angler interest has been lagging. Banks are muddy and steep, so most action is by trollers working points and coves. Bass fishing is slow.
DIAMOND - Late-season fishing has been fair between heavy wind days and even occasional snow. Fishing has been best at the south and west ends of the lake, with rainbows more prevalent near creek mouths. Most of the rainbows are 12 to 16 inches long, and last year's fingerlings are longer than 10 inches. 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 on warm afternoons, but there remains very little fishing activity. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake is holding steady at 24 percent full, which is the normal low pool. 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.
EXPO - Fishing for stocked trout has improved with the recent influx of legal-sized trout. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies. Crappie and bluegill can be caught on worms under bobbers. A few large bass have been caught recently.
FISH - Fishing for rainbow trout has been very good on nice days recently. The Forest Service boat ramp is open, and the lake continues to rise. It is now over one-third full for the first time since summer. The resort is closed. Trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm behind a Ford Fender has worked well, as have Little Cleo's. Some of last year's tiger trout are as long as 12 inches now, but they must be released unharmed. Some larger chinook salmon also are showing up in the catch. They are part of the legal trout limit.
HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.
HYATT - The lake is closed.
LOST CREEK - The lake remains under a voluntary advisory against water contact because of blue-green algae. Most anglers are shying away from the lake, but a few trollers are catching trout near the dam and directly across from the marina. The lake is back down to 1 foot below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature is 56 degrees. Look for that to continue dropping.
WILLOW - Trolling for trout has been good after last month's stocking of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout from the boat ramp. Still-fishing is good with worms or PowerBait.
ROGUE - The upper Rogue River continues to be good for summer steelhead after two weeks of getting hit pretty hard by anglers since the Oct. 31 end of the flies-only season. The middle Rogue around Grants Pass is hit-and-miss for summer steelhead as the fall chinook spawn peters out, and the lower Rogue is slow for chinook but OK for halfpounders in the Agness area.
That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, but along different stretches based on your taste for tactics.
Upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp is open to the use of bait, which has most anglers there fishing for steelhead with a variety of tactics. Most are fishing small clusters of roe or side-drifting scented yarn balls. Fishing is a bit crowded, and it's best if you're in one of the first few driftboats to drift through a steelhead riffle.
Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, anglers are relegated to artificial flies and lures only, with plugs, egg flies and most plastic eggs popular now. Anglers can side-drift egg flies, and that will dominate the action down to Fishers Ferry. Downstream of Fishers Ferry, bait is legal for summer steelhead.
Some plug action has worked well in this stretch, too, with crayfish and smaller Kwikfish patterns working best. The trick for driftboaters is to be the first or second boat through the run. Those fishing later in the day are faring poorer than early anglers, even when fishing the same waters.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
This week's slight rains coaxed 48 new summer steelhead into Cole Rivers Hatchery. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hold its releases at 1,150 cubic feet per second into next week, and that makes for some bumpy driftboating.
The steelhead are mostly congregated in tailouts behind spawning salmon, sometimes in very shallow water. Catches are best on overcast days or late in the evening.
In the middle Rogue, steelheaders are using a mix of flies, bait, Panther Martin lures and crayfish plugs to catch an occasional summer steelhead, but action is light. Start targeting fish around spawning tributaries, but the vast majority of steelhead caught in the middle Rogue are wild and must be released.
The Agness area has slowed again after schools of coho salmon moved into the lower Rogue Canyon. A hodgepodge of halfpounders and adult summer steelhead are in most riffles and tail-outs, where they can be caught side-drifting worms or swinging flies. Crayfish lures are deadly in the Agness area as long as the water levels are low.
The lower Rogue bay still has a few holdouts targeting the Indian Creek-bound chinook salmon, which are starting to get a bit dark. A couple are getting caught daily there by anglers casting Blue Fox spinners, but the effort really has fallen off.
In the Agness area, fishing for halfpounders is steady but not remarkable. Catch halfpounders and adults on everything from streamer flies to fake egg clusters, crayfish plugs and Panther Martin lures.
CHETCO - Low-water conditions exist, but boat and bank anglers are catching fall chinook in the lower reaches above tidewater. Some chinook are moving despite a need for more rain to raise flows and get salmon really on the move. A few winter steelhead were caught this past week. Anglers are allowed to keep only one wild chinook a day as a conservation measure as part of the two-chinook daily limit.
ELK - Low-water conditions are present, but some fall chinook have hit the lower stretch of freshwater. The first freshet will jump-start the fishery.
SIXES - The river is slow for fall chinook but some fish are washing into the estuary on high and outgoing tides.
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.
COQUILLE - Trolling large spinners for fall chinook has been good upstream of the city of Coquille this past week, but more of the fish are becoming dark.