Fishing report: Friday, Feb. 25
COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds up to 10 knots and 4-foot swells, followed Saturday by winds to 15 knots and swells to 10 feet and rain. Sunday’s forecast sees winds up to 20 knots, with wind waves cresting at 8 feet and a chance of showers.
The general marine bag limit is five fish in aggregate, with copper, quillback and China rockfish no longer part of the daily limit for boat anglers. Bank anglers are under a different quota for those species and can still keep them. That includes those fishing off jetties. The lingcod limit is two fish over 22 inches.
Surfperch fishing is likely to be decent Friday but will fall apart as rough seas build through the weekend. Sandshrimp and mussels are the best baits, with plastic sand worms and shrimp as secondary choices.
Razor clam digging is closed from Cape Blanco to the California border because of elevated levels of domoic acid in clams. However, the rest of the state is open for clamming. All bays are also open. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.
Recreational crabbing is open in the ocean, and catches have been excellent in the ocean and bays such as lower Coos Bay at Charleston.
AGATE: The lake got its first stocking of the season last week when 1,000 legal-sized trout were released at the county boat ramp. Fishing right around the ramp should be good through the weekend on Power Bait, worms or anything that smells like a hatchery food pellet. The lake was at 43% full Thursday, with turbid water. Electric trolling motors are OK. The park closes at dusk.
APPLEGATE: The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are closed due to low water. The French Gulch and Copper ramps are usable, and the lake’s filling schedule is underway. Fish for rainbows with PowerBait or worms from the bank or slowly troll Tasmanian Devil lures spiced with a piece of worm. Bass fishing has been fair to good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats on warm days. The lake is 89 feet from full, and outflows have been cut to 150 cfs.
DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been very good, with clear, hard ice. Action has been best near the resort simply because that’s the best access. Snowmobilers are also fishing on the south side near the channel.
EMIGRANT: The lake is up a hair to 8% full, and that has all but shut off angling activity. Some bank fishing for catfish with chicken livers has been good.
EXPO: State wildlife biologists stocked 120 trophy trout in late November. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required. More trout stocking is expected in March.
FISH: Ice fishing has been good for a mix of rainbow and tiger trout. Use caution. Fishing is typically best near the springs off the resort and near the Forest Service ramp. Worms and small jigs are usually the best bets. All tiger trout must be released.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is open to angling, and the ice is mostly good, but always use caution. The lake was stocked with 50,000 fingerling rainbows Oct. 8. The lake is 6% full. Fishing access is best near the dam. Anglers can keep five trout a day, with only one longer than 20 inches.
HYATT: The lake was up to 7% full Thursday. Ice conditions are basically good but the new inflows have caused some cracking. Access is poor. The limit is five trout a day, with just one over 20 inches. No fingerling trout were stocked last year.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: Ice fishing has been good near the resort, mostly for perch, with a few trout and bass in the mix. The resort is open.
LOST CREEK: The lake received 7,300 more trout in October, including 2,300 trophy trout. Bank fish with PowerBait near the Takelma ramp, or at the Medco access point off Highway 62. Wind-drifting worms above Peyton Bridge has been good. The lake Tuesday was 9 feet below the normal target for flood control for Jan. 1 as outflows have steadied at just under 900 cfs in an effort to kickstart this year’s winter fill.
MEDCO: The lake is ice-free and was stocked last week with 2,000 legal-sized trout.
SELMAC: The lake was last stocked with 1,000 legal-sized trout in mid-May. Fish for them with worms or PowerBait.
WILLOW: The lake received another 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout last week, and that means game on for trout fishing with worms and PowerBait near the county boat ramp. That’s where the fish were released.
ROGUE: Winter steelhead fishing has been largely dormant river-wide as anglers from Gold Beach to Trail are looking for some rain to raise and warm the river enough to jump-start a fishery that should get really good. A slight bump in water to around 2,300 cfs in the upper Rogue is forecast for late next week.
Until then, the best bet is in the lower Rogue River canyon, where there are reports of some small schools of nice winter steelhead waiting for rain. Until then, watch the flows.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were down Thursday to 1,050 cfs, and things weren’t much better at the old Gold Ray Dam site at 1,259 cfs, and 1,329 cfs at Grants Pass. Flows at Agness were a paltry 1,993 cfs. While flows are forecast to improve a bit by week’s end, they will not be the kind of late February flows that drag steelhead upstream into the Rogue Valley.
But there are some winter steelhead around. A few are getting caught by boat and bank anglers in the Agness area fishing slowly along the bottoms of deeper canyons and near the heads of pools. Roe, worms or egg balls are best, with plugs secondary because of cold water.
In the lower Rogue the occasional fresh winter steelhead is getting caught daily by those plunking with Spin-Glo’s from the bank at places like Huntley Park and the old mill site. But that’s not inspiring.
In the upper Rogue, low and cold flows have not helped lure winter steelhead into the area, but some late summers are still around. Also, there are a lot of spawned-out summer steelhead that should be released unharmed.
Steelhead movement into Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery remains very poor due largely to extremely low flows. To date, just nine winter steelhead have reached the hatchery. More rain is needed to jump-start everything.
The Hatchery Hole is open for summer steelhead and coho, and a few fish have been caught by fly-fishers nymphing with Ugly Bugs and single salmon egg point flies. The Hatchery Hole is permanently closed to all chinook fishing and will be open only for steelhead. Bait such as worms and roe are legal, and that has worked for some coho prepping to move into the hatchery.
APPLEGATE: The river is open to winter steelhead fishing, and fishing is very slow amid 150 cfs releases from Applegate Lake. That’s low and cold. When conditions improve, cast spinners in deeper holes as these fish are hunkered down awaiting better flows. There is no fishing from a floating device, but roe, worms and corkies, flies and plugs all work for wading anglers.
CHETCO: The river was flowing at a woeful 417 cfs and forecast to continue to drop throughout the week.
UMPQUA: Flows are low and clear, and winter steelhead angling has slowed significantly in the North and South Umpqua.
ELK: Flows were low, clear and cold.