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Oregon Outdoors fishing report for Southern Oregon

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory was issued by the National Weather Service for Friday night through Sunday morning. The forecast calls for winds up to 20 knots Friday, with swells up to 7 feet. Saturday’s forecast calls for much of the same, except for swells to build to up to 10 feet by nightfall. Sunday’s forecast is for winds back to 15 knots and swells peaking at 12 feet but backing down from there.

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.

No new minus tides are in the offing for clammers. Regardless, watch for sneaker waves during this blustery weekend.

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 continues to inch up and is now 55 percent full and is clearing, with still 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 78 feet from full, but still about 10 feet short of where it normally would be at this time of year. Outflows have dropped to 125 cubic feet per second, and that has hastened to reservoir’s filling regimen. 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 well 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 49 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 well formed and some people are ice fishing around 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 45 percent full, and there has been enough ice for some anglers to venture out near the lower end, and the ice looked good Thursday. 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 another 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: Winter steelhead are biting best in the Lower Rogue River Canyon or above Gold Hill, with the middle Rogue section kind of a dead zone that could turn on as soon as the fish get past Rainie Falls. Winter steelhead movement in the upper Rogue, however, remains absurdly slow as far more summer steelhead are entering Cole Rivers Hatchery than winter steelhead.

That makes the upper end of the lower Rogue the most intriguing bet until rain gets things moving again. And that means heading to the Agnessarea via Gold Beach and not Bear Camp Road, which is snowed in. Flows Thursday at Agness were down to 3,268 cfs and dropping through the week. Those are tough conditions for plunkers and side-planers, but still fair for 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 1,935 cfs and 4 NTUs, meaning conditions have been low and clear. That doesn’t look to get any better through the weekend. Fishing is better at places like Hayes Falls and the old Gold Ray Dam site than the tried and true Robertson Bridge run these days.

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 at the end of 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 one new winter steelhead were found in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, with the running total up to 28 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 30 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 1,050 cfs, and river flows have been decreasing all week. Flows Thursday at Dodge Bridge were down to 1,535 cfs and forecast to drop slightly into early next week. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just below 1,983 cfs Thursday and are expected drop as well. 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 best in the upper third of the river despite the fact that no winter steelhead have reached the trap at the base of Applegate Dam. 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 few fresh steelhead to move upstream this weekend, and focus more on public lands above the town of Applegate than on private lands lower down. Use spoons, pink worms under bobbers or nymphs. All wild steelhead and trout must be released unharmed.

CHETCO: The Chetco was down to 744 cfs Thursday and dropping into lower and clearer water than desired by winter steelhead anglers. Fish are kegged up at holes, usually near the top and at tailouts.

ELK: Conditions Thursday were low and clear and not expected to improve this weekend for winter steelhead anglers.

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