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Oregon Outdoors Fishing Report

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Forecasts call for winds building to 15 knots Friday and swells to as much as 11 feet in the afternoon, with winds dropping to 5 knots Saturday but still sustaining swells up to 10 feet. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and swells to 8 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.

Another series of afternoon minus tides begin Wednesday, but 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 51 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 is up to 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 early ice fishers are doing fairly well, mainly with nightcrawlers fished around 5 feet or so under the ice. People have been working outside the resort or snowmobiling down to the south end to fish around the creeks. Also try chartreuse and garlic PowerBait fed slowly down the ice hole so it doesn’t get tangled. All brown trout and tiger trout must be released unharmed, and some are eclipsing 20 inches.

EMIGRANT: The lake is up to 47 percent full and clearing, and recent warm weather has triggered a good largemouth bite in the lake’s lower end, where the county boat ramp is usable. 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 until spring stocking.

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, and the first few ice fishers have been working the spring areas near the Forest Service boat ramp. Use caution. Worms and small jigs are popular baits. The lake was holding steady at 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 the ice had improved enough for some anglers to ice fish prior to this week’s warm spell. Be very cautious. No ramps are usable. Heavy snows blanketed access roads Thursday.

HYATT: The lake is up a hair to 44 percent full, and there has been enough ice for some anglers to venture out near the lower end, but this past week’s warm weather has slushed it up. Be very cautious. Snow continues to block access. Another cold weekend should get the ice in shape.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is covered with snow and ice that has made for decent early ice fishing outside of the resort, mainly for perch and a few trout. Use caution. A kite festival this weekend will make for crowded ice. Part of the lake remains open water. 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 3 feet this week, going from 9 feet short of the filling curve last month to just a hair below the normal filling rate.

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 low and cold water has slowed winter steelhead migration. The middle Rogue has not been all that great so far, but the steelhead seem to be on the move from the lower Rogue, where the Agness area has been good enough to perhaps foreshadow good things later this year in the middle Rogue. But not necessarily this weekend, when the Rogue will be plagued by rising flows that will peak Sunday higher up and Monday in the Agness area.

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, which is snowed in. But waiting until Monday might make some good sense. Flows Thursday at Agness were 3,815 cfs, and forecast to peak around 7,800 cfs then drop all week. Those are great conditions for plunkers, side-planers and bait casters off the bank and side-drifters from boats. The soft beads that imitate salmon clusters are very popular. Pearl-gray SpinGlo’s and Mag Lip 3.5 lures are good go-to’s.

Flows Thursday at Grants Pass were about 1,920 cfs and 4 NTUs, meaning conditions have been low and clear. That starts to change today when flows will rise and peak Sunday to around 3,000 cfs. Once it starts to drop, look for fresh winter steelhead primarily from Grave Creek to Robertson Bridge. Side-drifting soft beads or fishing plugs in migration lanes will be the most popular and likely most productive. Side-planers may have some action Sunday afternoon or Monday morning before the water drops too much for most of their favorite haunts like Rainbow and Chair Riffle. 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 the water warms a bit.

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 even if they appear bright on the outside. But the upper Rogue largely remains a waiting game.

Just three new winter steelhead were found in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, with the running total up to 27 fish. That’s poor, but the running counts from previous years are so weather- and water-dependent that they are not really worth comparing yet. Consider that 92 first-time summer steelhead also made it into the hatchery, which shows that steelhead that need to move are moving, and those that don’t aren’t.

But look for fresh fish to move up consistently once another storm front moves through the area.

Most of the action has been from Rogue Elk Park down to Dodge Bridge, and 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 1,547 cfs and forecast to increase consistently before topping out around 2,700 cfs early Sunday.

Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just below 1,950 cfs Thursday and are expected to start rising Friday before peaking later Sunday at around 3,000 cfs. It’s pretty slim pickings right now for winter steelhead until flows improve.

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 drifting from Turtle Lane down to the mouth. However, there is no fishing from a floating device, and be careful where you step out because much of the lower river ribbons over private lands. Look for fresh steelhead to start moving upstream this weekend, and start fishing them Sunday or Monday with spoons, pink worms under bobbers or nymphs. All wild steelhead and trout must be released unharmed.

CHETCO: The Chetco was down to 760 cfs late Wednesday and is expected to be flat until Sunday, when it will close to triple overnight. Look for good winter steelhead conditions late Monday or Tuesday and be very good for a couple days before low-water conditions return.

ELK: Conditions Thursday were low and clear but are expected to start rising Friday for winter steelhead fishing as early as Sunday or Monday.

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