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Oregon Outdoors fishing report

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for winds up to 20 knots Friday and swells running from 3 to 9 feet later in the day. Saturday calls for winds to back down to 15 knots but swells building to 12 feet in the afternoon. Sunday’s forecast is for winds growing to 25 knots by evening, with wind waves up to 7 feet.

The marine aggregate rockfish daily limit is five fish. A descending device to help release rockfish caught in deeper water is mandatory on all boats.

Surfperch fishing would be tough going through the heavy surf and winds this weekend. When conditions settle down, try casting Berkley Gulp sandshrimp, sand worms or prawns.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide. Dungeness catches have been good in Coos Bay and the Umpqua River estuary at Winchester Bay, and improving in the Coquille River estuary at Bandon. The commercial season is in full swing in the ocean.

Some strong minus tides continue Friday through Tuesday, but only the Friday and Saturday minus tides are just before dusk. Night clamming can be dangerous in the winter because of sneaker waves.

Razor clamming is open on the north coast but closed along the rest of the coast. Bay clamming is open on the south coast. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is up to 46 percent full and is very turbid, with little interest from anglers. The water is cold for crappie, bass and perch fishing. The ramp is open. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake rose steadily and now is just 83 feet from full, or 6 feet above where it normally would be at this time of year. Outflows have dropped to 450 cubic feet per second, but a drop in inflows means the reservoir is drafting down again. Bass fishing on nice days has been fairly good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats. Hart-Tish Park is closed.

DIAMOND: The lake is frozen over and cloaked with snow, but it remains sketchy at best for ice fishing. A few people have fallen through the ice around the lake edges this past week. When the ice firms up, trout fishing should be fair to good with worms or PowerBait five to 10 feet under the ice. All brown trout and tiger trout must be released unharmed, and some are eclipsing 20 inches.

EMIGRANT: The lake is up to 45 percent full and clearing a bit, and there’s enough water to launch boats at the county ramp. Largemouth bass fishing should be good on warmer days with plastic worms and grubs. Smallmouth bass are on the gravel flats. Perch fishing is fair. Rainbow trout fishing is nonexistent.

EXPO: The pond last received trout in June. Some bass and panfish are getting caught, but effort is light. Parking fees are required.

FISH: Ice is forming but it is still a few days away from getting the green light for human traffic, though a few have ventured out late this week. When the ice hardens, focus on ice fishing over springs, where the water will be a bit warmer and more conducive for active rainbow trout. The lake was up to 46 percent full Thursday. All tiger trout must be released.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The marina and boat ramp at the resort are closed until spring. The lake is holding steady at 29 percent full and is rimmed with snow, with ice developing — but not safe ice. No ramps are usable. Heavy snows blanketed access roads Thursday.

HYATT: The lake is devoid of angling interest until the ice is safe for ice fishing. The lake was listed Thursday at 43 percent full, up a hair from last week. Heavy snow was blocking access Thursday. Another cold weekend should get the ice in shape.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is covered with snow and ice that has improved enough that a few have fished off the resort. Still use caution. Fish shallower water for better trout success.

LOST CREEK: Fishing effort has been light, with no new fish set to be stocked for a while. Boat anglers are trolling Wedding Ring lures spiced with a worm, and some are using small flashers. Fishing single eggs or small chunks of worm is good where the Rogue flows into the reservoir. The area upstream of Peyton Bridge is a no-wake zone. The lake shot up 19 feet this past week, going from 9 feet short of the filling curve to slightly above it.

WILLOW: No new fish are due to be stocked until spring. Fish with worms and PowerBait or streamer flies.

SELMAC: Fishing for bass is fair.

MEDCO: Trout fishing is slow. Ice is forming but is not yet safe.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Late-run summer steelhead continue to outnumber early winter steelhead in the upper Rogue, where water conditions have dropped to where they were before the rainstorms and snow hit the region. The middle Rogue is starting to pick up for winter steelhead but catches have been spotty. The lower Rogue has been solid for plunkers working most of the gravel bars this week, indicating that fresh fish are on the way.

That makes the middle Rogue the intriguing best bet for those who don’t want to drive all the way to the Agness area via Gold Beach and not Bear Camp Road.

Flows Thursday at Grants Pass were about 2,500 cfs and 5 NTUs, meaning conditions are getting somewhat low and clear. Forecasts call for a slight bump in flows early Friday then another drop. That should warm the water a bit and trigger a decent bite likely from Hog Creek down to Galice. Some winter steelhead are getting caught in the Robertson Bridge area but it remains light. Most of the action has been side-drifting roe or gummy egg imitations soaked in egg juice. Fly-fishing is slow. Plug fishing will improve as water conditions warm a bit. Used Mag Lip 3.0s and 3.5s with varying patterns, including pink, chartreuse and flame red. Also, focus around creek mouths.

In the upper Rogue, anglers continue to hit a hodgepodge of large and smallish summer steelhead, but it’s deep into the spawning season so very few hatchery fish are now worth keeping. Some hatchery steelhead in the 10-pound class were caught in the past few weeks, with water conditions OK for nymph fishing, but that has slowed for fly-fishers.

Just nine new winter steelhead were found in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, but look for fresh fish to move up consistently once another storm front moves into the area.

Another 115 summer steelhead reached the hatchery this week, upping the total to 4,434 so far this season. It’s the most since 2013 and more than 1,000 above the 10-year running average.

Most of the action has been from Rogue Elk Park down to Dodge Bridge, but the mouth of Bear Creek also has been producing steelhead. Because bait is now allowed river-wide, most anglers are side-drifting eggs, scented soft eggs or scented yarn balls. Plugs should also do well on longer runs. The water is rising and warming, but steelhead don’t bite as well on the rise, so keep a close eye on the gyrating flows.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were held steady this week at 1,000 cfs, and river flows have been decreasing all week. Flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,764 cfs and forecast to drop consistently through the weekend.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just above 2,300 cfs Thursday and are expected to drop all day Saturday and early Sunday. Pretty slim pickings right now for winter steelhead until flows improve.

Flows at Agness were down to 5,200 cfs Thursday, and plunking with large Spin-Glo’s has been consistently decent at places like Canfield Riffle, Huntley Park, Jim Hunt Creek and Dunkelberger Bar. Driftboat and powerboat fishing has been light.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to angling for steelhead, and anglers using small Glo-bugs, puff balls or Little Cleo spoons are finding some fresh winter steelhead below the Highway 199 bridge and the Tavern Hole and as far up as the Murphy area downstream of the dam. Look for fresh steelhead to start moving upstream with the next rain.

There is no fishing from a floating device, and all wild steelhead and trout must be released unharmed.

CHETCO: The Chetco has fished well this past week but it is down to less than 1,700 cfs and dropping through next week. Catches have been decent on roe from driftboats, particularly higher in the system. Look for heavy effort despite deteriorating conditions.

ELK: Conditions Thursday were getting poorer amid dropping and clearing water conditions. Flows at the hatchery were under 3.5 feet and dropping Thursday. Rain is needed to jump-start the fishery.

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