Fishing report: Friday, May 6
COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds rising to 30 knots and swells to 9 feet. Saturday calls for winds to back down to 15 knots and swells holding on up to 9 feet. Sunday’s forecast looks identical to that of Saturday, except afternoon swells will built to 12 feet. Definitely not a weekend to spend on the ocean.
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 much improved after this weekend when more favorable conditions return. Look for a good spring bite as they school up near river mouths and the beach for spawning. 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. Look for good bay clamming on the south coast, especially around Charleston in Coos Bay. 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. Many Dungeness are starting to get soft shells from molting. Make sure to cull the soft ones because meat amounts are not ideal.
AGATE: The lake got another 3,000 legal-sized trout last month to complement the 1,000 legals released there three weeks ago. 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 listed as 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. The lake is scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout next week. 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 with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats on warm days. The lake is filling slowly and is 39 feet below where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prefers it to be on its normal filling schedule. The lake was scheduled to be full last week, but that’s not a possibility this year. Outflows have been holding steady at 125 cfs.
DIAMOND: The lake is ice-free and fishing decently for rainbow and tiger trout, mostly in shallow water in the mornings and evenings when the trout are looking for bugs in warmer water. The lake’s insect populations are not yet very busy, so holdover trout are hungry. PowerBait and small leech flies fished slowly will work best. All tiger trout must be released unharmed.
EMIGRANT: The lake is up, but it’s still at just at 20% full, with very little angling activity. Some bank fishing for catfish with chicken livers has been reported, as well as some casting with grubs or plastic worms for bass off rocky points on nice days. Legal-sized trout were set to be released there last week, but muddy banks precluded the stocking truck from reaching the water’s edge. The stocking will be rescheduled.
EXPO: State wildlife biologists stocked 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout here again earlier this month. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required.
FISH: The ice has thawed and fishing for rainbow trout has been fair near springs with PowerBait. The water is cold. The lake was listed Thursday at 43% full.
HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is open to angling and is ice-free, but few are taking advantage of it. The lake level was up a hair to 15% full Thursday. Most action is near the dam access. The lake was stocked with 50,000 fingerling rainbows Oct. 8, and catches of them should be very good with worms and PowerBait as well as small streamers for fly-fishers. Anglers can keep five trout a day, with only one longer than 20 inches.
HYATT: The lake was up to 20% full Thursday and is mostly ice-free, with some fishing in the dam area for trout. The limit is five trout a day, with just one over 20 inches. No fingerling trout were stocked last year, so trout numbers are very low. Some warmwater fish such as black crappie are showing up in the catch.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: The lake is ice-free and fishing fairly well for holdover rainbow trout in shallower water. These fish are cruising looking for meals in warmer water. Try PowerBait or small lures that look like minnows.
LOST CREEK: The lake got a new complement of catchable, legal-sized rainbow trout again this past week, with stocking started Wednesday at the Takelma ramp. More stocking is planned this week as state fish biologists concentrate on adding more catchable trout to open waters early this year. 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 28 feet below the normal level for filling at this time of spring, and the lake is normally scheduled to be full by last Monday. Outflows have increased a hair to 700 cfs in an effort to capture as much water as possible for later releases to benefit salmon and steelhead downstream.
MEDCO: The lake is ice-free and was stocked last month with 2,000 legal-sized trout. Catch them on PowerBait or worms.
SELMAC: The lake was stocked with 1,000 legal-sized trout again two weeks ago. Fish for them with worms or PowerBait.
WILLOW: The lake received another 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout late last month. Catch them with worms or PowerBait near the county boat ramp, where the fish were released.
ROGUE: What had been a very good spring chinook salmon bite has tapered off in the lower Rogue, but look for it to turn on again early next week amid favorable flow conditions. The middle Rogue and upper Rogue are full of spawned-out winter steelhead that need to be avoided and, if caught, released unharmed. A few more springers are showing up in the upper Rogue, but not enough to get too excited about yet.
That makes the lower Rogue the best bet early next week. It’s been the best spring bite in a decade there, with hatchery fish now up to 20% of the catch. Many multiple-fish days have been reported for guides anchored in lower Rogue haunts such as Elephant Rock. Springers have been hitting on rising flows and even at temperatures of around 47 degrees. Normally things don’t take off until flows hit the magical 52 degrees.
Rain has jumped Rogue flows river-wide.
Flows at Dodge Bridge were up to 1,242 cfs Thursday and are set to more than double by Saturday before bumping around a bit and dropping significantly again. Flows at the former Gold Ray Dam site were up to 1,663 cfs Thursday and also set to bump up to about 3,200 cfs by Saturday.
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. Lots of spawned-out summer steelhead and a few winter steelhead are in the catch. These all should be released unharmed; their meat quality is very poor and not worth the loss to the resource.
Upper Rogue fishing has been best with plugs and pink plastic worms. Lots of adults are now spawning in the mainstem river, and boaters should try to avoid spooking them when passing through shallow steelhead redds.
All wild steelhead must now be released river-wide for the rest of the year.
In the middle Rogue, flows at Grants Pass were down to 1,640 cfs Wednesday and will fluctuate into midweek. And that is with releases from Lost Creek Lake forecast to hold steady at 700 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks to recoup lost water volume in the reservoir.
The Hatchery Hole is closed to all angling from April 1 to July 31. The Hatchery Hole is permanently closed to all chinook fishing.
The Rogue is closed to trout fishing to protect downstream migrating salmon smolts. They cannot be targeted even for catch-and-release fly-fishing at this time.
APPLEGATE: The river is closed to trout and steelhead fishing.
CHETCO: The river is now closed to fishing.