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Fishing Report: Friday, March 18

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds to 15 knots and swells to 7 feet. Saturday calls for winds to 15 knots and wind waves to 8 feet. Sunday’s forecast sees winds of 10 knots, with swells holding at 8 feet and 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, including bays, is open for clamming. A round of evening minus tides begins Wednesday evening. 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 last week to complement the 1,000 legals released there two weeks earlier. Fishing 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 51% 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 72 feet from full, and outflows have been holding steady at 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 9% full, with very little angling activity. Some bank fishing for catfish with chicken livers has been reported.

EXPO: State wildlife biologists stocked 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout two weeks ago. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required.

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 8% 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 6 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.

MEDCO: The lake is ice-free and was stocked two weeks ago with 2,000 legal-sized trout.

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

WILLOW: The lake received another 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout late last month, and that means game on for trout fishing with worms and PowerBait near the county boat ramp, where the fish were released.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: Winter steelhead are starting to bite in the middle and upper Rogue after long-awaited action, and the first confirmed hatchery spring chinook fell to a Bandon guide on the lower Rogue Wednesday. That means life is looking better.

The middle Rogue around Galice will be the best bet for the weekend. Flows at Grants Pass were a low 1,535 cfs Thursday and are forecast to rise Saturday to about 2,200 cfs before dropping quickly again. That should help catches beginning late Sunday and Monday as the water drops.

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 1,170 cfs, and they are expected to rise to about 1,400 cfs Tuesday. Things weren’t much better at the old Gold Ray Dam site Thursday at 1,413 cfs. Flows at Agness were a paltry 3,100 cfs.

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. The first confirmed springer of the year went to guide Rick Howard of Bandon, whose customer caught a 12-pound hatchery fish. Let the games begin.

Steelhead movement into Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery is still very poor due to extremely low flows. But don’t give up yet for a decent late season. 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, but catching is very slow amid 150 cfs releases from Applegate Lake. That’s low and cold. No winter steelhead have been captured yet at the collection facility at the base of Applegate Dam. Don’t fret; that’s the same counts to date over the past five years. When conditions improve, cast spinners into 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 at about 2,150 cfs Thursday and dropping quickly, but it is forecast to bump up again Saturday for some good late-season steelhead fishing early next week. Look for fish river-wide, with plug fishing expected to be very good in migration lanes.

UMPQUA: Flows were low and clear Thursday, but look for the North and South Umpquas to rise a bit this weekend and be good again for winter steelhead fishing beginning Sunday.

ELK: Flows were dropping Thursday and the color was getting clear and tough for late-run winter steelhead fishing. Winter steelhead fishing should improve by midweek next week with roe, yarn balls and plugs.