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Southern Oregon Fishing Report March 15, 2019


COASTWIDE: Friday and Saturday forecasts call for 5-knot winds and swells up to 7 feet. Winds Sunday are forecast to jump up to 10 knots with swells to 9 feet before coming back down to 7 feet later in the day.

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 very good at some south coast beaches when the surf abates, and some of the bigger redfin perch are starting to show. Nesika and Winchuck beaches have been the most consistent. 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 the catch.

Razor clamming is closed from Cape Blanco to the California border due to domoic acid levels. Also now closed are beaches from the Columbia River down to Tillamook Head, including Clatsop beaches, because of elevated levels of domoic acid. Bay clamming is open along the coast. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.


AGATE: The lake is listed at 91 percent full. However, the runoff into the reservoir has been very muddy, and visibility is poor, which makes fishing difficult. No new rainbow trout have been stocked there yet this spring. 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 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 about 5 feet over the past week and is now about 32 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 improved, and effort should grow with good weather forecast for this weekend. A few ice fishers ventured out there this week, and most of the action is right off the pizza parlor on the south end and within 100 yards straight out from the resort. The ice this week is well over a foot 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: The lake is up to 58 percent full and growing, but the upsurge has brought turbid water. Few anglers are venturing to the lake edge near the county park. Bass fishing should start improving with warmer weather. Focus on rock outcroppings and submerged willows. Expect trout fishing to improve with the planned release next week of 1,000 legal-sized rainbows at the county ramp. 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 last week, and the 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout are biting worms, PowerBait and small spinners. The occasional bass or panfish has been caught, but that should improve as water temperatures warm. 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 lake was up slightly to 28 percent full.

HYATT: Ice fishing has been good, with a mix of trout and bass being caught largely on worms. Trout also are hitting small jigs. The lake was listed Thursday at 17 percent full.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice is about 2 feet thick, and the snow is starting to compact more on top of it. Anglers are catching yellow perch and the occasional trout or kokanee farther away from the resort. Rainbows are biting worms in the top 8 feet of the water column.

LOST CREEK: The lake next week will get 20,000 rainbows split between both boat ramps. 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. The lake has crept up to less than 22 feet from full, but expect inflows to start going up again as warm weather increases snowmelt. 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. But that should change with the planned stocking of 4,000 rainbow trout next week at the county ramp. Fish them with worms and PowerBait while they get acclimated.

SELMAC: Bass fishing is poor.


ROGUE: The lower Rogue is still getting fresh and very late winter steelhead, but early spring chinook showings have slowed, while the middle Rogue has been improving almost daily for late-run winter steelhead. The upper Rogue has picked up a hair for winter steelhead, but migration has slowed to a point where the return so far to Cole Rivers Hatchery is under the 10-year running average.

That keeps the middle Rogue as the weekend’s best bet. Bankies have been casting with success for steelhead in the Matson Park area, while side-planers have consistently hit fish at places like Rand. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 3,144 cubic feet per second Thursday and forecast to drop slightly through the weekend. Most boat and side-planer fishing has been with Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with gold-black and copper-black best in turbid water, and variations of silver in clearer water. The 3.0s are getting more popular as the water drops. 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 6,500 cfs, and the water is starting to clear a bit. Winter steelhead are starting to hit lighter-colored Mag Lip lures. Just a handful of new spring chinook have shown this past week. As the water drops, look for more boat catches of winter steelhead and fewer by plunkers. Upper Rogue winter steelheading continues to be more miss than hit as a slowdown in migration has occurred after a fast January start. Just 44 new fish this past week brought the count to date at Cole Rivers Hatchery to 311 fish, just under the 10-year running average of 319 by this time in the run. 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. No spring chinook catches have been reported.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were down under 2,400 cfs Thursday, while flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were down to 2,374 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 been spotty, with most of the fish in private land areas upstream of Williams Creek. 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 with spoons, Blue Fox spinners, worms and corkies, and egg flies or large leeches. Flows at Applegate were at 329 cfs Thursday and 707 cfs at Wilderville.

No wild steelhead may 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 dropped to 1,442 cfs Thursday and was forecast to continue dropping through the weekend. Late run winter steelhead were caught this week on roe or yarn flies. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the system.

ELK AND SIXES: Both rivers were dropping and clearing, and that’s not helping late-run winter steelhead fishing. Water levels were at 3.5 feet and clear Wednesday at the Elk River Hatchery, with no update available for Thursday. That usually means things are getting slightly worse for steelheaders.

A redband rainbow trout fell for a golden stone fly imitation on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman.