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Fishing report: Friday, March 4

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds up to 25 knots and 5-foot swells and rain, followed Saturday by winds to 15 knots and swells to 9 feet and rain. Sunday’s forecast sees winds up to 20 knots, with wind waves cresting at 4 feet. None of these days are ideal for coast fishing.

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.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake got another 3,000 legal-sized trout stocked this week to complement the 1,000 legal-sized trout released there two weeks earlier. 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 76 feet from full, and outflows have been cut to 125 cfs.

DIAMOND: Ice fishing has been very good, with clear, hard ice. Action has been best near the resort 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 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout this past week. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required. More trout stocking is expected throughout the spring.

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 7% 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 8% 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 8 feet below the normal target for flood control for Jan. 1, so the filling is way behind the normal schedule. Outflows have steadied at just under 900 cfs in an effort to capture as much of this year’s winter fill as possible.

MEDCO: The lake is ice-free and was stocked last week with 2,000 legal-sized trout.

SELMAC: The lake was stocked with 1,000 legal-sized trout this past week. Fish for them with worms or PowerBait.

WILLOW: The lake received another 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago, and that means game on for trout fishing with worms and PowerBait near the county boat ramp. That’s where the fish were released.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The latest rains have raised and warmed the Rogue but not enough to really jump-start the languishing winter steelhead fishery throughout the river.

But that doesn’t mean steelheaders don’t need to fish. Those who do likely will migrate to the middle Rogue around Galice hoping to intercept fresh steelhead moving out of the Rogue River Canyon after hunkering down the past month waiting for better migration conditions.

That’s the best bet for the weekend. Flows at Grants Pass were rising Thursday and forecast to stop short of 2,000 cfs. That’s still lower than most pre-rain fall days, and that’s definitely not good.

Slowly drift-fishing roe, soaked yarn balls or pink plastic worms will be best at the heads of pools and in migration riffles. Plug fishing should be OK but in slower water than normal because of the cold temperatures.

Flows at Dodge Bridge were up Thursday to 1,125 cfs, and rising, and not forecast to eclipse 1,200 cfs. That’s very low for a winter steelhead float. Things weren’t much better at the old Gold Ray Dam site at 1,393 cfs. Flows at Agness were a paltry 2,851cfs.

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. Lately it’s been mostly halfpounder steelhead in the catch and no confirmed first spring chinook salmon of the year.

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 wonderful 2,385 cfs and dropping Thursday for what should be a good weekend of winter steelhead fishing. Look for fish river-wide, with plug fishing expected to be very good in migration lanes.

UMPQUA: Flows were high and muddy Thursday, but look for the North and South Umpquas to pull into good fishing shape by early next week.

ELK: Flows were up, and the color was dark green Thursday after more than an inch of recent rain. Winter steelhead fishing should improve with roe, yarn balls and plugs.