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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, Jan. 29, 2021

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small craft advisory is in effect through Friday morning and then a gale watch is in effect into Sunday, with forecasts of waves up to 18 feet. No other breakdown of the specific forecasts through the weekend were available Thursday afternoon.

Another good weekend to watch the coast and not participate in it.

The general marine bag limit is six fish in aggregate a day to open the 2021 season. Anglers must release all copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat. Boat anglers can not keep a cabezon until July 1. The lingcod limit is two fish over 22 inches.

Surfperch fishing was slow this week as rough seas pushed fish off the beach.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide.

Razor clamming is closed along the entire Oregon Coast. Bay clamming is open on the south coast. Some late-night minus tides are now in effect through Sunday, but they are all after dark and not considered good for clamming, especially with the rough seas and potential for sneaker waves. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is 38% full and extremely turbid. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake last received rainbow 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 fair with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats. The reservoir was 75 feet from full Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing about 630 cfs of water, which Thursday was about twice the inflow. The lake does not officially begin to fill until Monday.

DIAMOND: The lake is starting to ice over, and some ice fishing has taken place near the north boat ramp. However, there has been some soft ice and open water near shore. Those areas could firm up through the weekend, but it’s not good for high-mountain travel at this time. Worms dangled about 5 feet under the ice is a good first bet for those who choose to venture onto the ice.

EMIGRANT: The lake is 4% full and of no real use to boaters and anglers. 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: Ice fishing has been fair off the Forest Service ramp for those venturing onto the ice. Fish around the springs if you can find them. That’s where the rainbows are hovering. All tiger trout must be released. The lake was listed Thursday at 36% full and rising.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is holding steady at 9% 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 is not safe for ice fishing.

HYATT: The lake is up slightly to 8% of capacity with some ice fishing occurring near the dam but there is some soft ice and open water along the shore. Be careful of cracked or thin ice.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Some ice fishing largely for perch is occurring right off the resort ramp area.

LOST CREEK: The lake last received legal-sized and trophy trout in October and anglers are still catching them on the lower end of the lake. The boat ramp at the Takelma day-use area is open, while the marina is closed. Fish near the Taklema area and near the dam trolling worms behind flashers. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good, but remember the no-wake boating rules. The lake was listed Thursday at about 3 feet above the normal bottom pool. Outflows are stable at 1,100 cfs, with inflows above 1,390 cfs, so the lake is filling well.

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

SELMAC: Fishing for bass is fair. For trout, fish with worms or PowerBait.

MEDCO: Ice is forming but there is some open water.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue is low and cold, while the middle Rogue is slow and the lower Rogue has been decent for winter steelhead for both plunkers and boaters. But the latest storm front with be a short-term bust but hopefully a long-term boon for winter steelhead anglers waiting for good conditions and the presence of fresh fish.

That makes the best bet the middle Rogue...but not until late Tuesday at the earliest. Flows that were hovering around 1,600 cfs this past week are forecast to spike to over 9,000 cfs Tuesday and then drop quickly. Once turbidity improves, look for plenty of fresh winter steelhead, mostlyl from the mouth of the Applegate River on down. The first of February is often the start of middle-Rogue steelheading. But also look for some large, spawned-out summer steelhead. Boat anglers should side-drift roe and corkies, worms and watermelone corkies or drag plugs. Side-planers should focus on places like Rainbow and Chair riffles. Beginning Monday, anglers river-wide can keep one wild winter steelhead a day and no more than three a year. The wild steelhead can be part of the daily two-fish limit, which includes hatchery fish.

In the lower Rogue, flows will be rising starting Saturday and peak Tuesday around 27,500 cfs before dropping quickly. That could make for good plunking mid-week using Spin-Glo’s fared at places like Huntley Park and Dunkelberger Bar. One of those plunkers could end up catching the first spring chinook salmon on the Rogue this year.

In the upper Rogue, steelhead fishing has been in flux. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down aroud 1,400 cfs all this past week but forecast to get to over 4,000 cfs Tuesday before dropping consistently through the week. That culd make for some decent winter steelhead catches later next week should the fish present themselves.

The entire upper Rogue is open for bait-fishing. Fish late summer steelhead with roe or roe-soaked yarn flies. Some fly-fishing is decent with nymphs and single egg patterns.

APPLEGATE: Fresh winter steelhead were caught recently in the lower sections of the river with roe and spoons. The river opened Jan. 1 and is open through March. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

CHETCO: The Chetco was fishing well for winter steelehad the past few days with flows around 4,800 cfs. They are forecast to drop slowly through the weekend before shooting up to about 22,000 cfs Tuesday. That will wash out winter steelhead fishing until flows drop dramatically later next week.

ELK/SIXES: Water levels were looking good Thursday with flows at the Elk River Hatchery at 4.7 feet and green. Those conditions should hold for winter steelhead through Saturday before new rains blow out the system into early next week.

UMPQUA: The mainstem Umpqua closes to all retention of wild cinook salmon, including jacks, beginning Monday.

Dad and son fishing at lake