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Fishing report, Sept. 23

OCEAN OUTLOOK

COASTWIDE: The forecast calls for 15-knot winds and 6-foot wind waves Friday off Brookings, followed Saturday by much of the same Saturday. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds to kick up to 20 knots outside of Brookings before backing down to 5 knots with swells up to 5 feet.

Ocean salmon fishing is closed for all species off Southern Oregon, so salmon anglers have been pushed into bays. Tuna anglers are finding fish about 50 miles offshore from Brookings, and that’s a deal breaker for most ocean anglers. This weekend does not look good for long-range running after tuna.

Bottomfishing has been excellent for black rockfish, lingcod and halibut when weather permits. The bottomfish limit is down from five to four. Halibut have been found in waters as shallow as 100 feet, mostly north of Brookings. The halibut limit is up to two fish per day off Southern Oregon. Halibut season runs through October off the South Coast.

Surfperch fishing is likely to be a bit sketchy due to forecast winds. Shrimp, mussels and Berkly Gulp sand worms or shrimp are the best baits.

Bay clamming should be good, despite a lack of morning minus tides that were very helpful late last month.

Razor clam digging is closed at Clatsop County beaches until Sept. 30. Razor clam digging has been poor on the South Coast, but 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 has been good in places like the Coquille Bay in Bandon and lower Coos Bay at Charleston. Many Dungeness are firm and ready to harvest. It’s the first month of those ending in R, and they’re the best for Dungeness.

LAKE OUTLOOK

AGATE: The lake has not seen a new infusion of trout since June. Bass and perch fishing have been good amid hot weather and warm water. The lake was listed at 13% full Thursday, with turbid water that’s no longer dropping now that irrigation season is over. Electric trolling motors are OK but no gas motors. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are open, and there is plenty of water for the boat ramps. The lake was last stocked with rainbow trout in June. 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 good with plastic worms and grubs fished slowly off the bottom along rocky points and flats on warm days. The lake is dropping quickly and listed Thursday at 27% full, with outflows down to 225 cfs. The lake has a 10 mph speed limit.

DIAMOND: The lake is fishing fairly well again for rainbow trout, as cooler weather always makes fall fishing here better. Catches are best on the south end near the pizza parlor, in the Silent Creek channel or the lake’s far side near the Scout camp. Most of the action is in shallow water in the mornings and evenings. Fish deep with PowerBait during the day. Mosquitoes are thick along the bank but thin out as you get farther from shore. PowerBait and small leech flies fished slowly will work best, with worms under bobbers close to the bottom another fine bet. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some are eclipsing 5 pounds.

EMIGRANT: The lake is holding steady at 4% full now that irrigation season is over. Angling activity is primarily for smallmouth and largemouth bass off rocky points with crankbaits and rubber worms worked off the bottom. Very little angling activity for trout. Some bank-fishing for catfish with chicken livers has been reported.

EXPO: State wildlife biologists stocked 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout here more than two months ago, and their numbers are now thin. Catch them with Panther Martin lures, single salmon eggs or worms under bobbers. Parking fees are required.

FISH: Fishing for rainbow trout has been best near the springs. The lake was actually up a hair to 16% full Thursday, which makes locating the springs that much more important. PowerBait and worms are working best, plus trolling lures that look like small tui chub. Tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some of the most reachable springs are off the Fish Lake Resort marina.

HOWARD PRAIRIE: The lake is open to angling, but water levels are very low, and no legal-sized trout were stocked this spring. There are some holdover trout getting caught by anglers using PowerBait off the bank near the dam. Not much other action. The lake level stabilized briefly this week at 6% full.

HYATT: The lake was listed Thursday at dead, with only a modicum of holdover storage available. That’s water too low for release at the dam. A very limited amount of bank-fishing remains near 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 continues to fish well for holdover rainbow trout in shallower water. Lots of perch are getting caught just outside of the resort ramp. Water conditions remain excellent.

LOST CREEK: The lake got its last complement of catchable, legal-sized rainbow trout in late June at the Takelma ramp. Those fish are well-dispersed, inflows are dropping and releases are holding steady at 1,100 cfs as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preps the reservoir for winter flood control. 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. Bass fishing has been good near rocky outcroppings of late, with crankbaits and rubber worms the top offerings. The lake was listed Thursday at 40% full and more than 2 foot shy of the normal winter flood-control level. This has been the norm for the Corps to drop below normal low pool in the fall.

MEDCO: The lake was stocked in June with 2,000 legal-sized trout. Catch what’s left of them on PowerBait or worms.

SELMAC: The lake was stocked with 1,000 legal-sized trout again more than a month ago, and that’s it for the season. Fish for them with worms or PowerBait.

WILLOW: The lake received another 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout in late June. Catch them with worms or PowerBait near the county boat ramp, where the fish were released.

RIVER OUTLOOK

ROGUE: The upper Rogue is deep in the midst of the two-month flies-only season, and success has tapered off a bit as water temperatures drop and fewer steelhead are in the mix. The middle Rogue is seeing a nice uptick in summer steelhead catches, particularly by fly-fishermen swinging streamers as well as plug anglers from driftboats. The lower Rogue has been pretty steady for a mix of fall chinook and now coho salmon for trollers in the bay.

That makes the upper Rogue the best bet of the weekend, but the popularity of flies-only season coupled with a good overall showing of summer steelhead this year have made for a busy river.

Anglers can use up to three flies. The use of strike indicators and even bobbers cast with spinning rods are legal, but no other added weights or attachments are allowed. That means no weights or swivels.

Fly-fishing is good now, either swinging big streamers through riffles or nymphing with a combination of a stonefly nymph for weight and a point fly that is either a prince nymph or a single salmon egg. Plastic eggs also are illegal. Scents are legal.

So are spinning rods and floats with flies, but no plastic worms. The chinook season between Dodge Bridge and Fishers Ferry is now closed for the season.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are down to 1,100 cfs. That has dropped flows at Dodge Bridge to 1,201 cfs, and that’s awfully skinny for driftboaters.

Fishing for summer steelhead is open year-round, but all wild steelhead must now be released unharmed through the remainder of the year riverwide.

Downstream of Fishers Ferry, steelhead are biting everything from worms and small clusters of salmon eggs to nymph flies and an assortment of smaller plugs. The best include pink, black and/or silver.

The Hatchery Hole is open for steelhead fishing from the bank and wading. There is no fishing from boats there. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

Lower Rogue fishing for late-run fall chinook has seen a mix of coho and chinook, some of which are bound for the Indian Creek Hatchery. Cooling water temperatures have some chinook on the move upstream to spawn. Along with chinook, look for hatchery coho salmon now. Troll anchovies with chartreuse and copper blades or other combinations of chartreuse, yellow and bronze. Look for catches to improve as more fish will start moving into the bay.

Lots of smaller chinook this year, and get used to it because the run is forecast to be dominated by 3-year-old fish in the 14-pound range. But there’s still going to be a nice showing of very large chinook.

The estuary also is loaded with perch, and their taste for anchovies can be frustrating. For those targeting perch, use perch flies, sandshrimp or anchovy pieces.

In the middle Rogue, a few summer steelhead are getting caught daily by those swinging streamers (black or dark purple are some local standards) as well as smallish MagLip 3.0 plugs from driftboats. Most of these local fish are wild and must be released unharmed. The half-pounder steelhead are starting to show up in decent numbers in the Agness area as well as the Lower Rogue River Canyon.

Galice Road remains closed downstream of Galice because of the Rum Creek Fire, but river access is restored at places like Indian Mary and Hog Creek boat ramps. Lower Rogue River Canyon floaters need to start at upstream boat ramps, and new permits are being offered now. These conditions can change daily. Updates on whether the Lower Rogue Canyon is open for boating will be posted by 6 a.m. daily at facebook.com/rumcreekfire2022.