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Southern Oregon fishing report March 1, 2019


COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for 10-knot winds and 5-foot wind waves, with much of the same Saturday. Sunday winds will crank up to 15 knots in the morning with a 5-foot swell and 2-foot wind waves.

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 in the tail end of their spawn and males are guarding egg nests. 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 and is weather-dependent. Nesika and Winchuck beaches have been the most consistent, with fishing better on calm days. Try casting Berkly Gulp sandshrimp, sand worms or prawns.

Recreational crabbing remains closed from Bandon to the California border because of elevated domoic acid levels. The ban includes bays and estuaries. Bay crabbing has been good to very good in Charleston, with lots of red rock crabs in recent pot pulls.

Razor clamming is closed from Cape Blanco to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Bay clamming is open along the coast. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.


AGATE: The lake has shot up significantly but volume data was unavailable Thursday. However, the runoff into the reservoir has been very muddy and visibility is poor, and that makes fishing difficult. The ramp is open. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake was fishing fairly well for those trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm or PowerBait from the bank. Because the water is cold, the rainbows are biting quite daintily. The lake level increased slightly in size over the past week and is now less than 56 feet from full. The low-water boat ramp at French Gulch is usable. The Copper ramp is almost usable and likely will be by week’s end. The Hart-Tish Park ramp won’t open until the concessionaire returns this spring.

DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been good but there is anywhere from 1 to 3 feet of snow cloaking the ice. No ice fishermen have ventured out there this week. When they were, most of the action has been right off the pizza parlor on the south end and 50 yards straight out from the resort. The ice this week was up to 10 inches thick. Worms and small jigs, and chartreuse-garlic PowerBait have worked well. Vary depths until you get into the rainbows.

EMIGRANT: The lake is up a hair to 40 percent full, but the inflow has been turbid. Few anglers are venturing to the lake edge near the county park. The far boat ramp closest to the RV park is open. There is no driving below the high-water line along the bank.

EXPO: Trout fishing is poor. The occasional bass or panfish has been caught, but the water is very gold and the bites light.

FISH: Ice fishing has been on hold thanks to large amounts of snow on the ice. Fishing had been good over the springs near the resort and off the Forest Service boat ramp, where a sno-park permit is needed to park. Worms, jigs and rainbow PowerBait are popular. Water levels were not available Thursday. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is iced over and covered with lots of snow. Winter ice fishing had been good near the dam. Worms and small jigs were working best. The water gauge information was not available Thursday.

HYATT: Ice fishing has been good, with a mix of trout and bass getting caught largely on worms. The lake elevation was not available Thursday.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice is at least 9 inches thick throughout much of the lake, with lots of snow on top of it and that has kept ice anglers away. Lots of perch are in the mix at deeper levels, with rainbows biting worms in the top 10 feet of the water column when anglers have ventured out onto the ice.

LOST CREEK: The lake has crept up to 29 feet from full Thursday. Both boat ramps are open. Most angling activity is occurring near the dam and the Takelma ramp. Fishing has been good for those trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worm. Some are also using small flashers. Inflows are about 50 percent higher than the outflows, which have held steady at 1,050 cfs, and that appears to be on course at least through the weekend.

WILLOW: The lake is open and angling activity is very light.

SELMAC: Bass fishing is poor.


ROGUE: The upper Rogue was dropping quickly and looked to be in good shape for winter steelhead season despite a sloughing off of the numbers of fresh fish. The middle Rogue was still high and turbid but could fish well for steelhead as early as Saturday, but definitely Sunday, and the lower Rogue peaked Thursday afternoon at Agness, and steelhead fishing — or looking for that first spring chinook salmon of the year — likely won’t get going until midweek.

That leaves the middle Rogue as the weekend’s best bet, largely because of the great potential it has for winter steelhead after last week’s storm. The high water likely has drawn many of the winter steelhead in from the lower Rogue, where fishing had been extremely good before the storm. Flows Thursday were still over 10,000 cubic feet per second, but the big problem is turbidity. The river was at 79 NTUs of dirt Thursday at the Grants Pass water-treatment plant, and that’s going to need to drop to about 14 NTUs before the steelhead fishing really resumes. When it does, bright pink and blue plugs in migration lanes and the inside of turns should allow anglers to ambush fish as they head upstream. Pre-storm, there was good action from Matson Park on down. If not plugs, try worms and watermelon corkies, pink rubber worms fished under bobbers or roe. The mouth of the Applegate River on down likely will be best, as many of these fish are destined for the Applegate.

In the lower Rogue, flows at Agness Thursday were still just under 30,000 cfs and not forecast to drop into decent shape until midweek. When it does, look to see the first spring chinook of the season caught, likely somewhere from Quosatana down to Huntley Park. Late-season plunkers should use larger Cop Car or pearl-pink Spin-Glo’s close to shore.

Upper Rogue winter steelheading had taken a hiatus since Sunday, but flows Thursday were down under 4,000 cfs at Dodge Bridge for the first time this week. The turbidity looks decent.

Bank anglers will be fishing roe, worms and watermelon corkies or yarn balls soaked in egg juice.

After a record strong early return, fish numbers to Cole Rivers Hatchery have been anemic and are now just the third-highest in the past decade. Just 26 more steelhead made it into Cole Rivers Hatchery this week, upping the total to date to 255 adults.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down Thursday to 6,400 cfs and dropping quickly. Anglers riverwide may keep one wild steelhead at least 24 inches long a day and up to three a year.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to steelhead fishing, and water conditions were such that only the top of the system was fishable. However, still no winter steelhead have made it to the trap at the base of Applegate Dam. Fish spoons, Blue Fox spinners, worms and corkies, and egg flies or large leeches. Flows at Applegate were just above 800 cfs Thursday and 2,700 cfs at Wilderville.

No wild steelhead can be kept on the Applegate, and there is no fishing from a floating device. All cutthroat must be released. Rainbow trout longer than 16 inches are considered steelhead.

CHETCO: The river was at 6,800 cfs and dropping Thursday, with a slow decrease forecast through the weekend. That will make it tough for late-season winter steelhead fishing. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the system.

ELK AND SIXES: Both rivers were in excellent shape for winter steelhead fishing. The river was green but cold (45 degrees) Thursday at the Elk River Hatchery.

A Rogue River winter steelhead near Medford, Ore.