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Fishing report for March 8, 2019

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for 10-knot winds and 4-foot swells, with winds kicking up Saturday to 20 knots with swells building to 8 feet in the afternoon and a chance of showers. Sunday calls for winds rising to 25 knots by evening, and swells to 12 feet.

The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit for bottomfishers is five fish. Cabezon must be released unharmed until summer. 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 done spawning, 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 but very good at some South Coast beaches when the surf abates. 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 is 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. Clatsop beaches are open for clamming. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake shot up significantly this week, but volume data was unavailable Thursday. However, the runoff into the reservoir has been very muddy, and visibility is poor, which 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 few anglers trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a piece of worm or PowerBait from the bank. Because the water is cold, the rainbows are biting lightly. The lake level rose slightly over the past week and is now less than 37 feet from full. The low-water boat ramp at French Gulch is usable. The Copper ramp is now usable. The Hart-Tish Park ramp won’t open until the concessionaire returns this spring.

DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been good, but snow on the ice continues to hamper efforts. A few ice fishers have ventured out there this week, and most of the action is right off the pizza parlor on the south end and 50 yards straight out from the resort. The ice this week is up to 10 inches thick, but there are some weaker spots near the shoreline. Worms and small jigs, and chartreuse-garlic PowerBait have worked well. Vary depths until you get into the rainbows.

EMIGRANT: Updated lake levels were not available this week but the water is turbid from muddy inflows. 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: The pond received its first stocking of the season this week, 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout that are already biting worms and small spinners. The occasional bass or panfish has been caught, but the water is very cold and the bites light. Parking fees are enforced.

FISH: Ice fishing has been good for those working through packed snow to get to 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 remains thick throughout much of the lake, with lots of snow on top of it, which has kept some 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.

LOST CREEK: The lake has crept up to less than 25 feet from full, but it is about 5 feet shy of the regular filling schedule. 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 twice that of 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.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The first spring chinook of the year have been caught in the lower Rogue along with what continues to be a surprisingly good late-season winter steelhead bite, while the middle Rogue had been hot for winter steelhead until an uptick in water squished success Thursday. The upper Rogue is somewhat slow for winter steelhead, and late summers continue to show up in the catch.

That leaves the middle Rogue as the weekend’s best bet, largely because the water will be turning into good condition for winter steelhead that have been taking plugs in migration lanes close to the bank for the past week. Flows at Grants Pass jumped to 6,451 cfs Thursday afternoon and started dropping, meaning conditions should be very good for bank and boat fishing through the weekend. Most boat and bank fishing has been with Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with gold-black and copper-black best in turbid waters, and variations of silver in clearer waters. The action is good 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 finally dropped below 12,000 cfs, and that has meant the vast majority of winter steelhead were caught by plunkers using Mag Lips. The first hatchery spring chinook was caught earlier this week on a 5.0 Mag Lip at Canfield Riffle after five confirmed wild spring chinook were caught and released as required. As the water drops, look for the boat anglers to get back into the action. This is quite late for good winter steelhead fishing in the lower river.

Upper Rogue winter steelheading continues to be more miss than hit as a slowdown in migration has occurred after a fast January start. Bank anglers will be fishing roe, worms and watermelon corkies or yarn balls soaked in egg juice. Boat anglers are fishing a mix of offerings, with roe out-producing plugs thanks largely to the cold water.

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 11 more steelhead made it into Cole Rivers Hatchery this week, upping the total to date to 267 adults.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were up to 4,270 cfs Thursday and dropping. 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 catches have improved as water conditions have improved. However, still no winter steelhead have made it to the trap at the base of Applegate Dam, and that’s a surprise for this time of year. Fish spoons, Blue Fox spinners, worms and corkies, and egg flies or large leeches. Flows at Applegate were at 452 cfs Thursday and 1,203 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 climbed back up to 3,461 cfs Thursday and was forecast to start dropping Friday. That could help those chasing late-run winter steelhead on plugs or roe. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the system.

ELK AND SIXES: Both rivers were dropping and clearing after a patch of rain Wednesday. Water levels were at 4 feet and clear green at the Elk River Hatchery Thursday, with flows slightly warming to 46 degrees.

A winter steelhead is released on the Rogue River near Shady Cove in April. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch