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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, Aug. 28, 2020

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A gale warning is in effect through Sunday night, and that has dampened a lot of ocean interest this week. Forecasts call for 15-knot winds and 9-foot wind waves Friday from Brookings south, followed Saturday with much of he same in the Brookings area. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds rising to 30 knots in the evening and wind waves of up to 11 feet. Not good news.

Rockfish catches have been good when anglers can get out, and the general marine bag limit was increased from five fish in aggregate a day to seven fish for the rest of the year. Catches of black, blue and deacon rockfish are projected to fall short of this year’s quotas, which led to the relaxed limit. However, anglers must release all copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat.

Boat anglers must release all the cabezon they catch through the remainder of the year. However, bank anglers can still keep cabezon based on a shore-based quota.

The ocean chinook season is done for the year on the south coast.

Surfperch fishing has been very good off most beaches from Brookings to north of Gold Beach, but success is very surf-dependent. This isn’t quite the weekend. When conditions calm down, 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. Some California halibut are also getting caught out of Brookings.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide.

All nonresident angling in Oregon is allowed, but out-of-staters are not allowed to clam other than at the extreme north end of the state. Razor clamming off Clatsop County beaches is closed through Sept. 30. Razor clamming for residents is open north of Cape Arago but is closed south to the California border. Some decent morning minus tides begin Saturday, but it looks like the first one near sunrise won’t occur until Tuesday. Clamming before dawn amid large surf can be dangerous, especially after the tide starts to come back in.

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 40% full, and the boat ramp is still open. Look for some good early catches of bass and crappie on worms and small jigs off the face of the dam and 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, and that’s been it. The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are closed, but French Gulch and Copper are open. Fish for rainbows with PowerBait or worms from the bank or slowly troll Tasmanian Devil lures spiced with a piece of worm. Bass fishing on nice days has been fairly good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats. However, poor access has made for little angling interest. The reservoir was 61 feet from full Thursday.

DIAMOND: The boat ramps on the north and south ends are open. The lake has been fishing fairly well, but water quality is starting to diminish as an algae bloom has hit the south end. Try worms under bobbers or corn-flavored PowerBait, and small leeches or woolly buggers for fly-fishers. The midge hatch has ended, and mosquitoes are bearable. All brown trout and tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some tiger trout are eclipsing 20 inches.

EMIGRANT: The lake is down to 17% full and dropping quickly. The county boat ramps are not viable options now. A few 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.

EXPO: The pond hasn’t been stocked with trout since June. Some bass and panfish are getting caught. Parking fees are required.

FISH: The lake received some legal-sized rainbows early last month. Fish over underwater springs or troll along the banks. 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 23% full and dropping quickly.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: Size restrictions and bag limits were eliminated 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 11% of capacity.

HYATT: The lake is 13% full and dropping very 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. The resort is very crowded on weekends. Fishing is good 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 been light. The boat ramps at the marina and the Takelma day-use area are open. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good. The lake was listed Thursday at about 11 feet from bottom pool and dropping. Outflows have remained at 2,000 cfs, with inflows down near 900 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 was fishing fairly well for stocked rainbow trout on PowerBait or worms.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The lower Rogue bay has remained quite productive for fall chinook, including some big fish, when the winds and barometer haven’t messed with the bite. The upper Rogue sees its last weekend of bait and plug fishing before the two-month flies-only season begins Tuesday, and the middle Rogue remains slow for fall chinook.

That keeps the best bet emphatically on the lower Rogue, because the fall chinook are showing up and they are big, bright beasts destined for the barbecue. Some excellent catch days amid somewhat crowded conditions occurred this week, though high winds this weekend could hamper effort and catch. Most of the catches have come by trolling anchovies, but a lack of summer dredging in the bay means all the fish and all the anglers are huddling along the lower end of the North Jetty. Outgoing tides have been best.

A high percentage of fish are in the 30-plus-pound range. Chartreuse or copper spinners are the current favorites in front of anchovies. Catches should improve as the season continues.

In the upper Rogue, spring chinook and summer steelhead numbers remain low, as does interest.

Counts Wednesday at Cole Rivers Hatchery show just 54 new chinook this week, bringing the total to 1,676. That’s terrible, far less than one-fourth of the 10-year running average for this time in the run. 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 were ramped up to 2,000 cfs this week to make up for the heat. Fall chinook are starting to make their way upstream from the bay so they need that higher, cooler water to survive a potential disease outbreak in the lower Rogue canyon.

For chinook, focus on migration lanes, with back-bouncing roe and sandshrimp or larger plugs wrapped with sardine fillets or tuna bellies. Chinook fishing is relegated to below Dodge Bridge now, and that ends for the season Monday evening.

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. That’s through Monday, then it’s flies-only through Halloween, with strike indicators allowed but no other added weights or attachments. 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.

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 cutthroat in tidewater.

John Linson releases a trout at Diamond Lake. Mail Tribune File Photo