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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, July 17, 2020

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A gale warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon, and that puts a damper on weekend fishing activities on the coast. Winds near Brookings will be up to 25 knots Friday morning and up to 30 knots by the afternoon, with wind waves up to 8 feet by the afternoon and a mixed swell. Winds of 25 knots are expected Saturday, with 8-foot wind waves. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds to 20 knots with wind waves to 7 feet.

Rockfish catches have been good, and the Oregon Coast will see the general marine bag limit rise from 5 fish in aggregate a day to seven fish beginning Monday, July 20. Catches of black, blue and deacon rockfish are now projected to fall short of this year’s quotas, ODFW said Thursday. However, anglers must release all copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat.

The ocean chinook season out of Brookings and Gold Beach has been very good when the weather cooperates. Troll anchovies or herring slowly. A lot of fish are being caught higher up in the water column, so some trollers have ditched downriggers in favor of divers to stay in the top 50 feet of water. Landings out of Brookings have been excellent; only spotty effort has occurred out of Gold Beach due largely to weather conditions.

Surfperch fishing has been very good off most beaches from Brookings to north of Gold Beach, but this weekend’s heavy winds might not bode well for surf fishing. Try casting Berkley Gulp sandshrimp, sand worms or prawns.

The recreational halibut season is open, and fishing has been good out of Brookings. Fish in water 200 to 250 feet deep, using big halibut jigs or dragging large herring.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide.

All nonresident angling in Oregon is allowed, but out-of-staters are not allowed to clam. Razor clamming ended Tuesday night at Clatsop County beaches for the annual closure, which runs through Sept. 30. Razor clamming is open north of Cape Arago but is closed south to the California border. No minus tides are forecast next week.

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 down to 85 percent full, and the boat ramp is open. Look for some good early catches of bass and crappie on worms and small jigs either off the face of the dam or in the willows. No gas motors are allowed. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake received 15,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 500 lunker trout last month. The ramps are open, with French Gulch and Copper the most popular right now. Fish for rainbows with PowerBait or worms from the bank or slowly troll Tasmanian Devil lures spiced with a piece of worm. The reservoir was 46 feet from full Thursday. Bass fishing on nice days has been fairly good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats.

DIAMOND: The boat ramps on the north and south ends are open. The lake has been fishing well. Try worms under bobbers or corn-flavored PowerBait, and small leeches or woolly buggers for fly-fishermen. The midge hatch has ended, and mosquitoes are doing their summer damage, but it remains bearable for those in boats on the water. All brown trout and tiger trout must be released unharmed, and some tiger trout are eclipsing 20 inches.

EMIGRANT: The lake is down significantly this week to 47 percent full. The boat ramps at the county park are open. Anglers have reported a very good bass bite, and 1,000 larger rainbows were stocked at the county ramp a month ago. No other trout stocking is planned this summer. Perch are biting in the willows up the Emigrant Arm.

EXPO: The pond was stocked last month with 1,000 legal-sized rainbows. Some of them were stocked in the amphitheater pond. Catch them on worms under bobbers and small spinners such as Panther Martins. Some bass and panfish are getting caught as well. Parking fees are required.

FISH: The lake received another complement of legal-sized rainbows early last month. Fish over underwater springs or troll along the banks, and focus a little more this weekend around the Forest Service boat ramp near the marina and the immediately adjacent cove. The resort ramp is open for launching with a fee. Still-fishers and bank anglers are doing well with worms or garlic-flavored PowerBait. All tiger trout must be released. The lake was listed Thursday at 62 percent full and dropping.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The size restrictions and bag limits have been lifted for rainbow trout and bass in the lake, which is threatening to drain to the lowest level in its 62-year history. The marina, boat ramp and restaurant at the resort are closed. The campground is open. Some anglers are finding a few big rainbows working the edges with worms or PowerBait. Fishing is best in the morning and troublesome when the afternoon winds rise. The lake was down Thursday to 19 percent of capacity.

HYATT: The lake is 30 percent full and dropping quickly, with a few anglers working the water around the dam for a mix of rainbows and bass on worms. All public boat ramps are closed.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The resort is open, but services are not at full capacity because of COVID-19. Fishing is improving for a mix of brown trout, perch and rainbow trout, mostly in the shallows during mornings and evenings. Some anglers are fishing off the bank near the resort.

LOST CREEK: The lake a month ago received 10,000 more legal-sized rainbows and 1,500 larger rainbows, however angling pressure has remained light. The boat ramps at the marina and the Takelma day-use area are open. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good. Some fly-fishers are using stonefly imitations to catch rainbows and bass near the dam. The lake was listed Thursday at 26 feet from full and dropping, even though outflows have held steady at 1,700 cfs.

WILLOW: Another 4,000 legal-sized rainbows and 1,500 lunker rainbows were stocked last month. Fish with worms and PowerBait or streamer flies near the county ramp and on the far side along the edges in the shade.

SELMAC: Fishing for bass is fair, and 1,000 legal-sized trout were stocked last month. Fish them with worms or PowerBait.

MEDCO: The pond is fishing fairly well for stocked rainbow trout on PowerBait or worms. It was stocked with 2,000 legal-sized trout three weeks ago. Worms and woolly bugger flies are working well.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Continued poor spring chinook salmon returns and a lackluster start to the summer steelhead season have the upper Rogue in a tough tweener period for anglers, while a few late-run early fall chinook are getting caught in the lower Rogue bay.

The middle Rogue is spitting out a summer steelhead or two a day at best for bank anglers, but it has been far from interesting.

That keeps the best bet this weekend on the upper Rogue, where lower water levels and a dearth of fish have made for slow going for chinook and not much better for steelhead.

A lack of returning spring chinook to Cole Rivers Hatchery led fish managers to close the popular Hatchery Hole to bank fishing through the remainder of the season, which ends July 31 on the upper Rogue.

Counts Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery show just 55 new chinook this week, bringing the total to 1,271. That’s terrible, far less than one-fourth of the 10-year running average for this time in the run. Only hatchery fish can be kept in the upper Rogue above Dodge Bridge, and those are pretty rare these days. Downstream of Dodge Bridge, the river is open to keeping hatchery and wild chinook, but most wild spring chinook are already above Shady Cove at this time of the run.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are at 1,700 cfs this week amid slow spring chinook movement and cooler water.

For chinook, focus on migration lanes, with back-bouncing roe and sandshrimp or larger plugs wrapped with sardine fillets or tuna bellies the best bets.

A few more summer steelhead are trickling into the upper Rogue, and fishing for them has been slow, but it could pick up soon as it often does in early July. Another 100 summer steelhead were captured this week at Cole Rivers Hatchery, inching the running count to 321 steelhead. However, the early returns are still the third-lowest this past decade.

Fish summer steelhead in the upper Rogue with everything from streamer flies and prince nymphs to MagLip 3.0 lures, worms and even pink plastic worms under bobbers. Focus on riffles where water oxygenation is best. Fly-fishers are doing OK on ugly bug droppers with prince nymph point flies or swinging large streamers at evening.

In the middle Rogue, some nice summer steelhead have been caught around Grants Pass on worms and Panther Martin spinners. But it’s just a handful a day.

In Agness, bank angling for springers has been slow, but that’s predictable at these river flows. Salmon catches in the Gold Beach area have been slow, with just a few fall chinook caught in the bay this past week. That’s a late showing.

APPLEGATE: The Applegate River is open for trout. Anglers can target rainbow trout and cutthroat, but not steelhead. Fishing should be decent, but try to steer clear of the steelhead and wild coho juveniles that now dominate the river. No hatchery rainbow trout are stocked in this system.

CHETCO: The Chetco is open. Look for some sea-run cutthroats in tidewater.

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