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Fishing report, Jan. 6


COASTWIDE: Friday’s forecast calls for winds up to 30 knots with combined seas up to 18 feet with rain. That’s followed up Saturday will winds dropping to 20 knots in the afternoon but swells remaining at 16 feet. Sunday looks much the same, meaning its another weekend to watch the storm instead of attempting to play in it.

Bottomfishing has been very good recently for those on larger boats fishing near shore for lingcod on the rare days when conditions are good. The ling limit is two, and the bottomfish limit is back up to five per day with the new year starting. No cabezon can be kept until July 1. Also, quillback and yelloweye rockfish still cannnot be kept.

Surfperch fishing is another major no-go along the South Coast because of big winds and gargantuan surf. That will push the perch outside of casting range. Shrimp, mussels and Berkley Gulp sandworms or shrimp are the best baits when fishing conditions improve.

Bay clamming should be good, despite a lack of morning minus tides that were very helpful earlier this fall. Bay crabbing is good. The ocean is open to sport crabbers, but rough days have kept everyone inside. Coos Bay and Winchester Bay remained closed to bay clamming because of elevated domoic acid levels.

Razor clam digging remains closed coastwide, but bay clamming remains open and good in places like lower Coos Bay. However, the digging tides are not favorable this week. Before digging, call the shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474.

Mussel harvest is open statewide.


AGATE: The lake has not seen a new infusion of trout since June. Bass and perch fishing have been fair at best amid cold air and water conditions. The lake has dropped a hair to 25% full as of Thursday, with turbid water. Fishing is slow. Electric trolling motors are OK but no gas motors. The park closes at dusk.

APPLEGATE: The Hart Tish Park boat ramp and dock are closed, but Copper and French Gulch are open and usable. It’s just that virtually no one is using them. 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 slow amid cold air and water conditions. The lake has held somewhat steady and was listed Thursday at 20% full, with outflows growing to 1,000 cfs this week as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to operate the reservoir for flood control. The lake has a 10 mph speed limit.

DIAMOND: The lake is a mix of ice and open water thanks to increased air temperatures and heavy snows. The ice is not safe. More cold weather is needed to jump-start the popular ice-fishing season. All tiger trout must be released unharmed. Some are eclipsing 8 pounds.

EMIGRANT: The lake has started to fill slowly, and it was listed Thursday at 11% full but not full enough for boat ramps to be operable. That has put the kibosh on most fishing opportunities and interest.

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: The lake is icing over, but ice conditions are not safe for fishing. The lake was up a hair to 39% full Thursday, which makes locating the springs that much more important. 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 snow encircles the lake. Ice is forming, but it is not thick enough for safe travel, and recent warm weather does not help much. Some holdover trout are getting caught by precious few anglers using PowerBait off the bank near the dam. Not much other action. The lake level stabilized briefly this week at 12% full, up one-third from last week.

HYATT: The lake was listed Thursday at a whopping 12% full, and that’s double what it was just last week. 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 is icing up rather quickly now, but ice thickness generally isn’t safe yet for ice fishing. More snow is accumulating.

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 rising and releases are holding steady at 1,050 cfs as the Corps of Engineers is in the midst of its December flood-control regimen. 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 fair near rocky outcroppings of late, with crankbaits and rubber worms the top offerings. The lake was listed Thursday at 35% full and just 2 feet 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. Ice is forming rapidly.

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


ROGUE: The upper Rogue will see some bouncing around of water levels, but the higher and warmer water has jump-started migration of both late summer and early winter steelhead. The middle Rogue is much the same, but with higher water and a nice early-season mix of summer and winter steelhead while the lower Rogue has winters around but few anglers.

That makes the upper Rogue the best bet because of its mix of more predictable and fishable water conditions and a mix of steelhead that will bend rods but not necessarily lead to much anglers may want to keep.

And a note: Rogue, Applegate and other South Coast winter steelhead anglers will need their new regional steelhead validation to fish. For those looking to legally kill wild winter steelhead, a special winter steelhead tag also is needed.

In the upper Rogue, flows were down to 1,887 cfs Thursday but on the way up. More importantly, the influx of water has warmed the river, getting steelhead on the move. Technicians at Cole Rivers Hatchery captured 296 new summer steelhead and 168 recycled retread steelhead, which is the best showing since early in the run. Water conditions will be yo-yoing, but Thursday’s forecast makes early Saturday and Monday the best bets for now.

The entire upper Rogue is now open to bait fishing, but all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Steelhead catches are best side-drifting small pieces of roe or roe-soaked egg yarn. Plugging with MagLip 3.0s is often very good now, with hard-plastic salmon eggs with scents on them also excellent choices.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake were holding steady at 1,050 cfs. 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.

In the middle Rogue, plug-fishing for winter steelhead has been good in the Ennis Riffle area while worms and watermelon corkies are the baits of choice for bank anglers and side-drifters in the Galice area. Most are wild summer steelhead that must be released unharmed.

Flows at Grants Pass were down to 2,200 cfs Thursday and set to rise to about 5,500 cfs late Saturday before dropping. Sunday could be good for some fresh winter steelhead

Galice Road remains closed downstream of Galice because of impacts from the Rum Creek Fire, but river access is restored at places like Indian Mary and Hog Creek boat ramps. Fishing is slow there, and the effort is light.

APPLEGATE: The river is open to winter steelhead and cutthroat fishing, but all wild fish must be released unharmed. A few winter steelhead were reported on the lower stretch of the river this week. Catch them casting worms and watermelon corkies during and in between rain events.

CHETCO: Winter steelhead fishing has been decent to good farther up in the system, but rains began again, and flows were on the rise Thursday. Forecasts have flows peaking at more than 15,000 cfs Saturday evening then dropping before spiking again Monday. In between the spikes, fish for steelhead on the dropping water. Side-drifting roe or fishing plugs from driftboats has been best. Bank anglers have not fared as well so far. Anglers must get a new South Coast steelhead validation to fish for winter steelhead beginning Sunday, and a wild harvest tag is needed for those wanting to kill a wild steelhead.

ELK/SIXES: Winter steelhead fishing was fairly good this past week, but conditions were rising and will be high through Saturday. Anglers must get a new South Coast steelhead validation to fish for winter steelhead beginning Sunday, and a wild harvest tag is needed for those wanting to kill a wild steelhead in the Elk River.