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Mail Tribune Fishing Report, 4/22/2021

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for wind up to 15 knots winds and swells up to 4 feet, dropping to 3 feet by evening amid rain. Saturday’s forecast is for much of the same, except the wind saves should drop to 2 feet with showers. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds up to 15 knots and wind waves building to 5 feet by the afternoon. No new rain, however.

The general marine bag limit is six fish in aggregate. Anglers can keep just one copper, quillback or 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 improving this week amid calmer seas as perch moved closer to shore. Sandshrimp and mussels are the best bets, with plastic sand worms and shrimp a secondary bait.

Recreational crabbing is open coastwide.

Razor clamming is open on a sliver of the South Coast from the mouth of Coos Bay to Cape Arago. That’s it for the entire Oregon Coast. Bay clamming is open on the south coast. Morning minus tides begins Monday and run into the weekend, with the best tide Thursday at minus 1.9 feet at 8:16 a.m. That’s killer. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake received 2,500 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago as state fish biologists look to steer anglers toward Agate because of relatively stout water volumes. Troll worms or fish worms or PowerBait under bobbers near the county boat ramp, but bank anglers need to stay off the ramp. The lake is 99% full and should hit full pool this weekend, but it remains extremely turbid. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The lake was stocked last week with another 10,000 legal-sized rainbows, the same as a few weeks ago. 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 37 feet from full Thursday, about 32 feet short of the typical filling schedule. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept releases at 150 cfs as part of a more aggressive strategy to fill the lake.

DIAMOND: The ice is starting to melt off dramatically and is not considered safe to venture onto. Expect the ice to melt off within two weeks. When it does, look for good trout fishing on the south end and near the marina.

EMIGRANT: The lake is 28% full and still of no real use to boaters and anglers. The lake received another 3,500 legal-sized rainbows two weeks ago to go with the 1,000 legal-sized rainbows late last month. They were all released at the county boat ramp. Fish for them off the bank with chartreuse garlic or rainbow PowerBait or slowly troll worms from boats.

EXPO: The pond was stocked again last week with 1,500 legal-sized rainbows. Catches have been fairly good for rainbow trout on worms under bobbers. Some bass and panfish are available. Parking fees are required.

FISH: The ice is off and fishing is decent in the open water near the marina for rainbow trout. The lake received another 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout this past week. Find them in the cove near the Forest Service boat ramp with worms or PowerBait. All tiger trout must be released. The lake was listed Thursday at 44% full.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The ice is breaking up and there is plenty of open water but not decent boat access to it. The lake was not stocked with rainbows as normally planned in spring. It was listed Thursday at 10% full.

HYATT: The lake is 20% full and ice-free. The lake received 5,000 legal-sized trout this past week, all released near the dam. Fish them with worms or PowerBait off the bank.

LAKE OF THE WOODS: The ice has sunk and trolling for rainbow trout is fair to good with worms behind flashers in the shallows. Go slow. Perch fishing is good near the resort.

LOST CREEK: The lake received 15,000 legal-sized rainbows last week, to go along with the 20,000 legals stocked there at the end of March. They were split between the marina and the Takelma boat ramp. Bank fish with PowerBait near the Taklema ramp or troll worms behind flashers near the boat ramp and the dam areas. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good. The lake Thursday was 23 feet shy of full and about 21 feet lower than the normal filling schedule. Outflows have held steady at 875 cfs to aid in filling amid drought conditions.

WILLOW: The lake received another 4,000 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago and they have acclimated well. Fish them with worms or PowerBait near the county boat ramp and deeper water across the lake.

SELMAC: The lake was stocked two weeks ago with another 5,000 legal-sized rainbows, making it the only put-and-take trout fishery working well in Josephine County. For trout, fish with worms or PowerBait. Bass are getting active.

MEDCO: The first trout stocking of the season came this week with 2,000 legal-sized rainbows that has jump-started fishing interest here.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Winter steelhead are still holding on but waning in the upper Rogue while steelhead fishing has grinded to a halt on the middle Rogue. The early spring chinook salmon season has yet to materialize in the lower and middle Rogue amid very low water flows. Salmon just aren’t moving.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, just to cut down travel time until the spring chinook start showing up. Another 230 winter steelhead showed up this week at Cole Rivers Hatchery, pushing the count to date up over 900 adult steelhead. That’s inching closer to the year-to-date average of 1,640 steelhead over the past decade. Catch them on eggs, small fake egg clusters coated with scent, single egg flies, small plugs and worms. The entire arsenal is open this month. However, flows are problematic. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept the outflows down to 875 cfs, and that will make driftboating a bit bumpy and loud. Flows at Dodge Bridge were a paltry 1,148 cfs and dropping through the weekend with no rain expected.

In the middle Rogue, where the winter steelhead are around but a bit finicky on the bite, most of the best catches are from Ennis Riffle down to the Galice area, with roe and yarn balls far out-fishing plugs, but action has been slow this week. Most of the fish are in deeper water, particularly as the day goes on.

Flows at Grants Pass were a paltry 1,194 cfs and forecast to continue to slide downward until midweek.

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.

In Agness, flows Thursday were at 2,194 cfs of clear and cold water. Those are brutal conditions, more akin to late summer than spring. Spring chinook salmon anglers from Lobster Creek down are catching a half-dozen fish a day, but fewer than half are hatchery chinook that can be kept.

Wild steelhead can be part of the daily two-fish limit, which includes hatchery fish. Wild chinook must be released river-wide, but anglers can keep up to two hatchery chinook as part of the two-fish daily salmon/steelhead limit.

APPLEGATE: The river is closed to all angling.

CHETCO: The river is closed to all angling.

ELK/SIXES: The rivers are closed to all angling.

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