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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, Feb. 5, 2021

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: A small-craft advisory is in effect through Friday evening, with 25-knot winds and wind waves up to 5 feet. Saturday sees winds backing down to 15 knots outside of Brookings, and 6-foot swells. Sunday calls for winds up to 20 feet and swells up to 7 feet.

The general marine bag limit is six fish in aggregate. 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. Afternoon minus tides are forecast Sunday and should be good for clammers through at least Wednesday. Thursday’s minus tide, however, is after sunset. Be very careful of sneaker waves. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is 40% 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 88 feet from full Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dropped water releases to 200 cfs as it begins to fill the reservoir.

DIAMOND: The lake has a combination of hard ice, slush and snow. Ice fishermen are hitting the area near the resort as well as the south end. 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 5% full and still 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 38% 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. The ice is not safe for ice fishing.

HYATT: The lake is at 9% of capacity, with some ice fishing occurring near the dam, but there is some soft ice and open water along the shore. Be careful.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Some ice fishing is occurring right off the resort ramp area. Catches have been very good for perch; not so much for rainbows or brown trout.

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 9 feet above the normal bottom pool and filling at the best rate so far this season. Outflows are stable at 1,100 cfs,

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 remains low and cold, while the middle Rogue is in decent shape as winter steelhead are finally showing up for boat anglers and plunkers.

That makes the best bet the middle Rogue as early as Friday as water turbidity starts to drop along with flows. Flows were hovering around 3,300 cfs and starting to drop and warm, while turbidity peaked Thursday at 9 NTUs. Look for plenty of fresh winter steelhead, mostly from the mouth of the Applegate River on down. That’s a staple for Super Bowl weekend. But also look for some large, spawned-out summer steelhead.

Boat anglers should side-drift roe and corkies, worms and watermelon corkies, or drag plugs. Side-planers should focus on places like Rainbow and Chair riffles. Beginning Monday, anglers riverwide 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 dropping and clearing through the weekend after hitting about 1,300 cfs Thursday. That could make for good plunking mid-week using Spin-Glo’s 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. Boat fishing for winter steelhead has been slow at these levels.

In the upper Rogue, steelhead fishing has been in flux. Flows at Dodge Bridge were down around 1,800 cfs Thursday and falling, which could trigger a small bite on roe or plugs. 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 at 6,800 cfs and dropping into decent shape for winter steelhead despite high flows for the weekend. Side-drifting roe and puff balls will be best for driftboaters; bankies drifting the same should do OK. Steelhead are riverwide.

ELK/SIXES: Water levels were high but good Thursday with flows at the Elk River Hatchery at 5 feet, perfect green and 50 degrees. Conditions should stay very good for winter steelhead through the weekend for drifters fishing roe and fly-fishermen using single egg patterns.

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

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune A native winter steelehead is released on the Sixes River. A group of wild fish advocates is working on a emergency ban on killing wild winter steelhead in 2020 on south coast rivers.