Mail Tribune fishing report
COASTWIDE: 5-knot winds Friday morning will slowly give way to 10-knot winds and swells building to 7 feet. Saturday’s forecast calls for winds up to 10 knots and swells building from 8 to 13 feet by late afternoon. Sunday’s forecast calls for 15-knot winds and swells starting at 10 feet but slowly dropping to 8 feet. Rough weekend for those without top-notch seas legs.
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 brisk 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. 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.
AGATE: The lake is up to 57 percent full and clearing, but with little interest from anglers. No stocking is on the immediate horizon. 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 inching up far too slowly for this time of year and remained at 77 feet from full Thursday, about 20 feet short of where it normally would be at the end of February. But the basin is flashy and it can rebound well with just one storm. Outflows have held at 125 cubic feet per second, but the elevation picked up just 1 foot in the past week. 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, and 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. 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 51 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 better in the upper end of the Emigrant Arm, where the willows are starting to get watered.
EXPO: The pond last received trout in June and no stocking is in the immediate horizon. 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 has inched up to 47 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 46 percent full, and there has been plenty of ice for some anglers to venture out near the lower end. The ice looked good Thursday, but warm weather is starting to take its toll. Be very cautious. Very little snow rings the lake.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is covered with snow and ice, which has made for decent early ice fishing outside of the resort, mainly for perch and a few trout. 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 is more than 10 feet short of the normal filling curve for this time of year.
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.
ROGUE: Low and clear water conditions have stymied winter steelhead fishing pretty much river-wide, but things could get a little jump-start Sunday and Monday if the rain and subsequent runoff shows up as forecast over the weekend.
Assuming it does, the middle Rogue will be the best bet, but not a great bet yet.
Winter steelhead are biting occasionally in lower Rogue River canyon downstream of Rainie Falls, with a few fresh steelhead moving this past week into the Grave Creek area. Fishing is best with roe, sandshrimp or soft egg beads with plenty of scent. Side-drifting from boats is best. Focus on deeper moving water. Flows at Grants Pass were just 1,680 cfs Thursday.
Flows at Agness were a summer-like 2,684 cfs Thursday and not expected to bump up even close to 2,000 cfs Sunday. That’s grim.
Just four new winter steelhead was found in the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond this week, with the running total up to 32 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 25 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.
Look for fresh fish to move up consistently once another decent storm front moves through the area. However, nothing promising is in the immediate forecast.
What little action there is in the upper Rogue has been from Rogue Elk Park down to Dodge Bridge, and the mouth of Bear Creek also has been producing a few steelhead, mostly late summers. 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. 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 1,401 cfs and not forecast to bump up much from the rain forecast for Saturday. Flows at the old Gold Ray Dam site were just below 1,665 cfs Thursday.
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 in the upper third of the river despite the fact that winter steelhead have reached the trap at the base of Applegate Dam. 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 500 cfs Thursday, clear and dropping, so winter steelhead fishing will be tough sledding. 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.