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Mail Tribune Fishing Report March 12, 2021

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: The forecast calls for 15-knot winds to start Friday off Brookings, with 5-foot swells, followed Saturday by winds starting around 5 knots and building to 15 knots with 4-foot swells. Sunday sees a new storm front coming in with winds up to 25 knots and wind waves up to 8 feet and rain.

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 cabezon until July 1. The lingcod limit is two fish over 22 inches.

Surfperch fishing was slow this week as rough seas continue to 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. No new minus tides are in the mix this week. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake is 62% full and rising, and is extremely turbid. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk. Fishing is poor.

APPLEGATE: The lake last received rainbow trout in July and is set to receive new fish later this month. 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 60 feet from full Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has held water releases at 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, but most of the action is off the North Ramp area. Worms dangled about 5 feet under the ice is a good first bet for those who choose to venture onto the ice. Anglers can use up to five rods while ice fishing if they have a two-rod ODFW license endorsement.

EMIGRANT: The lake is 14% full and still of no real use to boaters and anglers. No trout stocking is planned until spring.

EXPO: The pond was scheduled to be stocked this week, and fishing should be very good for rainbow trout on worms under bobbers. Some bass and panfish are available. Parking fees are required.

FISH: Ice fishing has been fair to good off the Forest Service ramp and around the resort. 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 41% full.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is holding steady at 8% 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 13% of capacity, with some ice fishing occurring near the dam, but there is some soft ice and open water along the shore. Snow is forecast through the weekend. Be careful.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: Some ice fishing is occurring right off the resort ramp area. Catches have been very good for perch, with the occasional nice rainbow trout. Worms and small jigs are working best. Augers and snow shelters are available for rent at the resort.

LOST CREEK: The lake will get another shot of 20,000 legal-sized rainbows stocked next week, the first infusion of rainbows since October. That should jump-start fishing interest. 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 36 feet shy of full and about 23 feet lower than the normal filling schedule thanks to drought and poor inflows. Outflows are stable at 1,100 cfs.

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

SELMAC: The lake was stocked last month with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout for the spring fishery. For trout, fish with worms or PowerBait.

MEDCO: The pond is partially iced over and there is very little angling interest.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: A nice group of winter steelhead finally has showed up in the middle Rogue, with yarn and eggs working best in deeper water. A few winter steelhead are starting to show in the upper Rogue, but water levels and catch rates remain low. In the lower Rogue, some fresh winter steelhead are showing up surprisingly. However, no confirmed spring chinook caught so far.

That keeps the best bet on the middle Rogue, where the winter steelhead are finally showing up in some decent numbers. Most of the best catches are from Ennis Riffle down to the Galice area, with roe and yarn balls far out-fishing plugs. Most of the fish are in deeper water and less so in riffles, particularly as the day goes on higher flows last week failed to bring as many fish into the area as expected. Flows at Grants Pass were a paltry 1,935 cfs and forecast to drop through the weekend before rising again early next week.

Roe, yarn balls and soft egg clusters are working best in deeper runs. For plugs, use MagLip 3.5s or 3.0s, with Misty River colors as well as gold, black and chartreuse. K-11 Kwikfish in gold or copper are also decent choices.

The upper Rogue drew 55 fresh winter steelhead into Cole Rivers Hatchery this past week. That’s by far the best showing to date but still lagging significantly from the 10-year average that’s about 4 times that amount. With just 1,100 cfs coming out of Lost Creek Lake, flows at Dodge Bridge were down close to 1,437 cfs Thursday and forecast to remain fairly stable through the weekend.

The entire angler arsenal is available in the upper Rogue now. Plugs, roe, yarn balls soaked in egg juice and even worms with watermelon corkies are all decent bets. Look for fly-fishing to be poor until flows ebb later next week.

In Agness, flows Thursday were at 5,4654 cfs and dropping. But a late run of winter steelhead mysteriously showed up this week with great numbers of fish caught by boat anglers anchored and fishing anchovies for spring chinook, which have yet to materialize. The wild steelhead can be part of the daily two-fish limit, which includes hatchery fish.

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

CHETCO: The river was at 3,400 cfs and dropping for late-season winter steelhead anglers doing well on a new set of fish that moved into the river this past week. Side-drifting roe and fake eggs has been best.

ELK/SIXES: Water levels were low and clear for winter steelhead fishing. However, fresh steelhead have moved into the river this past week.

UMPQUA: The mainstem Umpqua is closed to all retention of wild chinook salmon, including jacks.

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.