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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, Dec. 11, 2020

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A hazardous seas warning is in effect though Saturday morning on the South Coast, with winds up to 20 knots and swells up to 10 feet in the rain Friday. Saturday calls for a slight ebbing, with 15-knot winds and wind waves up to 7 feet. Sunday’s forecast calls for things to fall apart, with 15-knot winds and swells up to 18 feet.

The general marine bag limit is seven fish in aggregate a day. Anglers must release all copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat. Boat anglers must release all cabezon through the remainder of the year, but bank anglers can keep cabezon under a separate shore-based quota.

Surfperch fishing was slow this week as rough seas pushed fish off the beach. When waves die down, try casting Berkley Gulp sandshrimp, sand worms or prawns.

The recreational halibut season is closed throughout the Oregon Coast.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide. No new minus tides are in the immediate horizon.

Razor clamming is now closed along the entire Oregon 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 holding at 14% full. Fishing activity is nearly nonexistent. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake has received very little angling interest of late. The lake last received 15,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 500 lunker trout in July. The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are closed, but the low-water access at 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 122 feet from full Thursday.

DIAMOND: The lake is starting to ice over but its far from safe to get out yet for ice-fishing. That could take at least a few weeks.

EMIGRANT: The lake is 2% full and of no real use to boaters and anglers. The county boat ramps are not viable options now. No trout stocking is planned until spring.

EXPO: The pond hasn’t been stocked with trout since June. Some bass and panfish are available. 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 25% full and rising thanks largely to underwater spring flows.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is holding steady at 7% of capacity with no usable boat ramps and very little interest from anglers other than from the bank near the dam. Early ice is starting to form but it is not safe for ice fishing.

HYATT: The lake is holding steady at 4% of capacity with very little angling interest. Ice is starting to form but it is not safe for ice fishing.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is starting to ice over but it is not yet safe for human traffic for ice fishing.

LOST CREEK: The lake in July 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 12 feet below the normal bottom pool. Outflows continue to be stable at 1,100 cfs, with inflows down below 1,000 cfs.

WILLOW: The lake is open, but fishing pressure is very light.

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: Perpetual low and cold water flows continue to hamper late-run summer steelhead fishing in the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue has actually picked up for halfpounder steelhead and migrating coho salmon in the Grants Pass area. The lower Rogue remains slow for winter steelhead and everyone is likely sittting out this weekend as several storm fronts rise rivers that should all pull into fishing shape early next week.

That puts the best bet on the middle Rogue for Friday. Halfpounders are hitting spoons, spinners, worms and jigs throughout the lower Grants Pass area. The Galice area had been hot for them, but the fish seem to be moving upstream. A few decent hatchery cohos have been caught on purple plugs or spoons fished far out the front of driftboats.

Flows at Grants Pass were 1,256 cfs Thursday and forecast to start rising Saturday before peaking mid-day Monday at around 4,000 cfs. As it drops quickly, look for migrating steelhead and cohos in migration lanes.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were holding steady at 1,100 cfs. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a paltry 1,170 cfs Thursday and forecast to rise steadily but not spectacularly through the weekend before peaking around 2,500 cfs Monday.

Fish summer steelhead with roe or roe-soaked yarn flies upstream of the Shady Cove ramp; downstream of the ramp it’s all artificial flies and lures through December. Roe has been decent in the bait water, while plugs are the offering of choice in the remaining water. Some fly-fishing continues to be good with nymphs and single egg patterns.

Steelhead numbers at Cole Rivers Hatchery remain dismal, with just 28 new steelhead discovered Wednesday in the hatchery’s collection pond. That boosts the total run to date at 1,299, but that’s still very poor.

The lower Rogue has seen very few true winter steelhead so far, largely because flows remain so low. After the next series of storms, look for some very good plunking for winter steelhead in the lower Rogue at places like Dunkelberger Bar and Huntley Park.

CHETCO: The Chetco has dropped to low and clear and was just less than 700 cfs Thursday. It is forecast to rise quickly Sunday before peaking around 5,500 cfs Monday before dropping. When it drops, look for good number of winter steelhead river-wide. Find them side-drifting roe or with plugs.

ELK/SIXES: Catches of fall chinook have improve at the river mouth but the river has remained low. Flows have dropped after a good shot of fall chinook salmon fishing last week. Flows were listed Wednesday at 2.1 feet of clear, 48 degree water. Look for flows to shoot up through the weekend before dropping and clearing for a mix of chinook and winter steelhead by mid week.

Matt Blume, ODFW biologist, handles a cabezon during a black rockfish tagging trip last spring.