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Mail Tribune Fishing Report Dec. 18, 2020

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory is in effect through Saturday evening. Winds Friday are forecast to hit 30 knots, with swells to 11 feet. Saturday calls for showers, with winds to 10 knots from Brookings on south, but swells will still hit 13 feet. Sunday calls for winds around 10 knots and swells to 9 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.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide.

Razor clamming is 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 16% 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. The reservoir was 123 feet from full Thursday.

DIAMOND: The lake is starting to ice over but it’s far from safe 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.

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 5% of capacity with very little angling interest. Ice is starting to form but 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 10 feet below the normal bottom pool. Outflows are 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: Low and cold water flows continue to hamper late-run summer steelhead fishing in the upper Rogue, while recent rains have raised and muddied the middle and lower Rogue. That makes the upper Rogue the best bet by default.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were up to 2,388 cfs Thursday and were forecast to peak around 3,000 cfs early Friday before dropping. That could infuse a bit of a late-season bite in the upper Rogue for late-run summer steelhead.

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.

Flows at Grants Pass were 4,240 cfs and rising Thursday and forecast to start dropping Saturday and continue to drop through early next week. Turbidity will be the issue.

Steelhead numbers at Cole Rivers Hatchery remain dismal, with just 41 new steelhead discovered Wednesday in the hatchery’s collection pond. That boosts the total run to date to 1,343.

The lower Rogue has seen very few true winter steelhead so far. 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 was up to about 11,000 cfs Thursday and starting to drop but it will still be at least a few days before the conditions will be good enough to resume winter steelhead fishing. When it drops, look for good numbers of winter steelhead river-wide. Find them side-drifting roe or with plugs.

ELK/SIXES: Water levels began to drop and clear Thursday and will be high but fishable for a mix of late fall chinook and early winter steelhead this weekend.

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