Fishing report, Jan. 25, 2018
COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory is in effect through Friday night, with winds up to 10 knots and swells up to 9 feet in the Brookings area. Saturday’s forecast calls for 10-knot winds and swells up to 6 feet, and more of the same is forecast for Sunday.
The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Cabezon must be released unharmed. Rockfish angling is open beyond the 30-fathom line. A descending device to help release rockfish caught in deeper water is mandatory on all boats.
Lingcod are close to shore and starting to spawn. They are aggressive and will take most jigs or frozen sardines. Fishing is very good when anglers can get out, particularly around rock piles and kelp beds.
Surfperch fishing has been hit and miss. Nesika and Winchuck beaches have been the most consistent for anglers, with fishing better on calmer days. Try casting Berkly Gulp sandshrimp or prawns. During heavier surf, the perch move farther offshore but will come in shortly after waves ebb.
All recreational crabbing remains closed south of Cape Blanco, even in bays and estuaries, because of domoic acid levels. North of Cape Blanco, bay crabbing has been good to very good in Charleston and Bandon, but expect poorer catches this weekend because of higher freshwater levels in estuaries from this week’s rains.
Razor clamming is closed from the mouth of the Umpqua River to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Bay clamming is open along the coast, but the recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Coquille River south jetty to the California border. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
AGATE: The lake level almost doubled to 30 percent full this past week, with the water very turbid and not very conducive to angling. When it clears, look for perch and crappie near submerged willows. The boat ramp is again usable. For anyone launching, no gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The lake rose 25 feet last week despite outflows bumped up to 1,000 cubic feet per second. The lake’s filling schedule begins Feb. 1, so expect some yo-yoing of flows until then. The lake Thursday was 61 feet from full and dropping because outflows eclipse inflows. Little angling effort has been reported. The low-water ramp at French Gulch is open, and that’s not getting much action.
DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been good, and most of the action is right off the pizza parlor on the south end and 50 yards straight out from the resort. Worms and small jigs have worked well, as has chartreuse-garlic PowerBait. Vary depths until you get into the rainbows. Keep an eye on the weather. Snow Wednesday turned to rain, and that could harm ice thickness.
EMIGRANT: The lake is up 5 percent to 28 percent full. Few anglers are venturing to the lake edge near the county park. All boat ramps are closed, and there is no driving below the high-water line.
EXPO: Trout fishing is poor, but fishing for largemouth bass can be decent with crankbaits fished slowly.
FISH: Ice fishing has begun near the Forest Service ramp as well as right off the resort. Try near underwater springs for trout. Worms, jigs and rainbow PowerBait are popular. The lake is up to 42 percent full, a hair above last week.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is icing over, but no reports of ice fishing have come in. The lake water gauge was not operational Thursday.
HYATT: Access is very poor, and the lake is icing over, but no reports of ice fishing have been made. The lake is up a hair to 10 percent full.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice fishing has resumed after heavy rains weakened the ice last week. Fishing with worms outside of the resort has been effective. Lots of perch are in the mix at deeper levels, with rainbows biting worms in the top 10 feet of the water column.
LOST CREEK: The lake shot up 14 feet in the past week. The Stewart State Park ramp is open, as is the Takelma ramp, and the marina is open. Fishing has been good for those trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worms. Some are also using small flashers. Inflows remain more than double the outflows, which have held steady at 1,050 cfs.
WILLOW: The lake is iced but likely not thick enough for ice fishing. No reports are available.
SELMAC: Bass fishing is poor.
ROGUE: A few early-run winter steelhead have been seen in the upper Rogue the past few days, while the middle Rogue has finally pulled into fishing shape. Winter steelhead fishing has been very good in the lower Rogue amid excellent conditions for boat and bank anglers below Agness.
That makes the middle Rogue likely the best bet this weekend. Flows at Grants Pass peaked last weekend at 23,000 cfs but were down under 3,000 cfs Thursday. More importantly, the turbidity was 15 NTUs Wednesday and dropping. While there was no NTU value available Thursday, it should be fishable and perfect for prospecting for winter steelhead from Lathrop’s Landing down to Grave Creek. Winter steelhead will be on the move, so catch them on roe or worms and watermelon corkies near the heads of riffles. Plug fishing near the banks and side-planing at places such as Griffin Park, Arago and Rainbow Riffle should be good.
In the lower Rogue, conditions were excellent for winter steelhead fishing, with flows at Agness at 8,400 cfs and dropping. That has put winter steelhead on the move. Bank anglers fishing pearl-pink or cop car Spin-Glos have been hitting multiple fish daily the past few days. Bank anglers side-drifting roe or Mag Lip 3.5 lures have also done well downstream of Agness.
In the upper Rogue, flows that peaked Sunday at about 11,500 cfs were down to 1,759 cfs at Dodge Bridge Thursday. While mostly late-run or spawned-out summer steelhead were around, some very nice early winter steelhead were caught the past few days from driftboaters side-drifting roe, soaked egg flies or worms and corkies.
Because outflows at Lost Creek dam were at 1,050 cfs, good clarity is present. Flows at the former Gold Ray Dam site Thursday were 12,414 cfs and holding pretty steady. Look for winter steelhead along the banks and migration lanes, because the fish will be on the move. Side-planers, plunkers and plug fishermen should focus on water 4 to 6 feet deep and right on the current rips.
This week another 88 new summer steelhead and 15 recaptured steelhead were caught in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond.
Anglers can now keep one wild winter steelhead at least 24 inches long per day, and three per year, in the Rogue downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to steelhead fishing, and a few winter steelhead could be near the mouth or in the lower river. However, most catches have been wild and spawned-out summer steelhead that must be released unharmed. Flows out of Applegate Lake were a hefty 1,000 cfs Thursday, and that should get some steelhead moving. No wild steelhead can be kept on the Applegate, and there is no fishing from a floating device. Look for high flows through the weekend. When angling resumes, use Blue Fox spinners, yarn flies or worms and watermelon corkies. All cutthroat must be released. Rainbow trout longer than 16 inches are considered steelhead.
CHETCO: After peaking around 24,000 cfs Sunday, the river was down to 4,044 cfs and starting to fish well for winter steelhead, particularly higher up in the Forest Service lands.
ELK AND SIXES: River conditions were very good Thursday in expectation of a good weekend of winter steelhead fishing on both streams.