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Fishing Report: Jan. 17, 2014

COASTWIDE - Ocean fishing appears promising today, but swells will jump to 8 feet Saturday and are forecast to hit 12 feet Sunday before subsiding. That should keep most bottomfishers at home this weekend.

For clammers, no good minus tides are predicted over the next week. All shellfish fishing is open along the entire Oregon coast.

The halibut season for all of Oregon is closed, and chinook salmon fishing is closed coastwide.

The marine aggregate limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day. The lingcod limit is two a day with a 22-inch minimum, and that is separate from the marine aggregate. No cabezon can be kept until July 1.

COOS BAY - Crabbing has been slow in the bay and worse than expected despite low freshwater influence. Some decent clamming has occurred on low tides around Charleston and Clam Island, but effort is light. Black rockfish catches are good near the inside of the north jetty.

BROOKINGS - Ocean salmon fishing is closed. Jigging for black and blue rockfish and lingcod has been very good when anglers have been able to sneak outside of the estuary, like they did last weekend. Poor conditions are expected this weekend.

GOLD BEACH - The bay fishery is over. Surfperch fishing has been slow.

AGATE - The lake still has a few holdovers from the fall stocking of legal-sized and larger rainbow trout, and anglers have caught a few of them wind-drifting worms or casting spinners. Trolling is slow. Fishing for largemouth bass and crappie has been slow and will remain slow through winter, particularly during cold snaps. The lake is holding steady at 13 percent full. No gas motors are allowed. Small electric motors are legal.

APPLEGATE - The lake's boat ramps are all exposed and unusable because of extremely low water. The lake is about 25 feet shy of normal low pool and virtually inaccessible. Bank fishing is poor because the banks are steep and wind waves are creating muddy shores.

DIAMOND - The lake sports up to 7 inches of ice, and ice-fishing has been good, with most of the activity straight out from the Diamond Lake Resort marina. Worms dangled a few feet below the ice is a good place to start, then work your way down until you find the right depth. PowerBait off the bottom works well, but it's tough to keep it from tangling in your leader. 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 longer than 20 inches. The lake is open year-round.

EMIGRANT - Bass fishing has been slow and is likely to remain poor amid low and cold water conditions. Trout fishing is slow. Try small spinners, worms and streamer flies. The lake has dropped to 22 percent full, which is just below the normal low pool. Trout are scattered and effort has been nearly nonexistent during recent cold weather.

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 been slow with little effort. Fish them with worms, small spinners or streamer flies.

FISH - The lake is iced over, and fishing for trout and chinook salmon is fair to good with worms under the ice near the Forest Service ramp and the resort. A few tiger trout will get caught this winter and they must be released unharmed. The chinook are legally considered trout and are part of the five-trout daily limit.

HOWARD PRAIRIE - The lake is closed.

HYATT - The lake is closed.

LEMOLO - The lake is closed to fishing until spring.

LOST CREEK - The lake is no longer under an algae advisory. The Takelma boat ramp near the dam is open and accessible, but the water is too low for effective use of the marina ramps. The lake has risen slightly to just less than 3 feet below the regular low-water elevation of 1,812 feet above sea level, and the surface temperature has dropped to 41 degrees. The few anglers hitting the reservoir says there is good trolling with Wedding Ring lures and worms along the dam's face, near the intake tower and directly across from the marina. Vary your depths.

LAKE of the WOODS - Ice fishing is very good with worms straight out from the resort. Light snow makes ice fishing access very good. Anglers have been catching rainbow trout, brown trout and perch.

WILLOW - The lake is open to fishing but it's getting little use.

ROGUE - The rain anglers have been pining for the past two months never really materialized as planned, but it did put a little life into winter steelhead fishing from the far upper Rogue down to just above tidewater.

The lower Rogue happens to be the best bet for winter steelhead, largely because that's where the majority of the fish are now. Sunday through Tuesday were good days for plunkers on lower Rogue gravels bars as the uptick in water got steelhead moving. Bank anglers casting spinners also have been doing well from Agness on down. Fly-fishers have had the halfpounders pretty well dialed in at Agness-area riffles thanks largely to the low-water conditions that make swinging streamers very good for adult steelhead and halfpounders.

Catches have started to drop, and no fresh rain is forecast over the next week, so look for conditions and catches of winter steelhead to wane.

The Grants Pass area was a huge disappointment this past week, largely because flows forecast for 5,300 cubic feet per second Sunday at Grants Pass barely reached one-third of that. The spike in flows, however, did bring some fresh winter steelhead into the region. Most anglers are working the deeper runs in the Galice area, where catches have been fair with roe or egg-soaked yarn flies. However, anglers are reporting that many of the steelhead are 16 to 20 inches long. That's too big for halfpounders and too small for adult winter steelhead, but about right for late-run summer fish in their first spawning run.

A few winter steelhead have been picked up closer to Grants Pass, including around the mouth of the Applegate. With Applegate flows likely to be very low this season, look for winter steelhead to stack up even more than normal off the Applegate.

Flows in Grants Pass were hovering around 1,556 cfs again ... about what they've been for most of the winter. Bank anglers have done poorly this week after a little flurry of activity around Ennis Riffle and Griffin Park.

Anglers may keep one wild steelhead longer than 24 inches per day downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp. That's another significant reason many anglers have headed to that area since last week's rains.

The upper Rogue River continues to kick out a few summer steelhead for driftboat anglers as the shift from summer steelhead to winter steelhead progresses. Another 13 bona fide winter steeelhead hit the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, upping the early count to 17 steelhead. A few have been caught this week in the upper Rogue around Dodge Bridge by anglers side-drifting roe. Winter steelhead will be scattered in the deeper, slower riffles now and they should be willing to bite roe, egg flies and plugs.

Bank angling will be best downstream of the TouVelle State Park boat ramp, the riffle upstream of the Rogue Elk Park campground, the new Bridge Hole and the Hatchery Hole. The vast majority of the catches still will be late-run or spawned-out summer steelhead.

Flows at Dodge Bridge, which have been at 1,310 cfs before Sunday's spike, are back down to 1,223 cfs, largely because the outflow from Lost Creek Lake is down to the minimum flow of 900 cfs. Don't look for that to improve any time soon.

New Year's Day lifted the artificial flies and lures restriction for the upper Rogue downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, so bait fishing is now legal riverwide for steelhead.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed upstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp.

CHETCO - Steelhead fishing has been pretty good river-wide after last week's rains finally put some flow and color into the stream. However, flows were back down to 1,150 cfs Thursday and forecast to drop to half of that by late Tuesday. That means a steelhead trip ought to be sooner than later. Side-drifting roe has been best, and the river's been crowded.

ELK - After a little water dragged fresh winter steelhead into the Elk, conditions were back to low, clear and cold Thursday. Steelhead fishing will remain slow until the next freshet.

SIXES - Conditions are back to low, clear and cold for winter steelhead.

APPLEGATE - The river is now open for winter steelhead fishing, but the water releases from the very low Applegate Lake remain at 100 cfs. No winter steelhead have been reported in the stream so far this year. Catch-and-release is required on all wild fish, and there is no fishing from a floating device.