Crabbing is now open coast-wide now that concerns about high domoic acid levels in crabs has passed. Bays also are open to crabbing, and while catches have been predicted to be good until the next storm passes through, some recreational crabbers have noted slower results since commercial efforts started on January 4th.
Launch early to take advantage of a little softer swells and lighter ocean breezes and to take advantage of excellent jigging nearshore for black rockfish and lingcod.
The Alsea can be a productive destination for boaters drifting for winter steelhead but recent storms have changed rivers and this one is no exception. the latest report id of an underwater automobile which was relocated by high water at mile 21.7. Watch out for it.
Reports from Tenmile Creek indicate there have been some steelhead taken near Spin Reel Park now that the water has dropped and cleared.
Winchester Bay crabbing has been slow around Half Moon Bay with the majority of the crabs reported as being undersized. While the mainstem Umpqua River cleared up somewhat this week, there is more rain in the forecast for the week to come. If this raises the water level, those counting on back-trolling plugs may end up plunking instead. Drifting eggs have been the most popular approach. Some decent reports have come in from the South Umpqua near Myrtle Creek and Canyonville. The stretch behind the casino has produced some winters this week.
The Coquille should continue to improve over the next couple of weeks. Steelheaders fishing it recently have reported it as pretty slow but somewhat better on the middle fork along Hwy 42. The South Fork is also reported as good.
Crabbing has been best on the coast in the lower half of Coos Bay near Charleston. straight across and slightly east in about 30 feet of water.
Winter steelheading has been worthwhile on the lower Rogue with bank anglers using Hot Shots also doing well this week from Agness downstream. Flows at Agness were at 8,141 cfs and dropping slowly Thursday, so look for improved conditions throughout the week. The Rogue’s new limit as of January 1 includes one wild steelhead over 24 inches long and five per year downstream of Hog Creek. Anglers this week are catching early winter steelhead and a few summer steelhead from Grants Pass on down. With bait use now legal river wide, steelheaders have been using a combo of cured eggs or night-crawlers on a watermelon-colored corkie to good effect. In the Grants Pass, following rising water mid-week, the middle river is forecast to drop through Monday, then return to a rising trend. Mag Lip 3.0 and 3.5 lures, with purple and pink variations are among the most popular plugs on this stretch of the Rogue. Steelheaders are pursuing late-run summer steelhead on the upper Rogue with recycling of summers ongoing from the hatchery down to TouVelle and the Modoc Unit of the Denman Wildlife Area. With the water cold, summers won’t be moving too quickly upstream. try a cop car-colored Hot Shot.
Winter steelheading on the Chetco River has a number of positives going for it but anglers will have a challenge as well. On the plus side, there are good numbers of winters scattered throughout the system and a high percentage of those are hatchery fish. A rule change in 2016 allows anglers to keep one wild steelhead per day up to five per year, making for a potential three fish-per-day limit. Snow melt is keeping the river at decent flow but also contributing to the excellent steelhead green hue of the water. On the other hand, the periodic melting of the snowpack will have the water level on a roller-coaster over the coming week. Catch it on the drop, cast bait from shore or side-drift cured eggs or puff balls and you’ll be in business. There has been some comment about small steelies this season that’s not universally the case; a winter landed this week was just eight ounces short of the 20-pound mark.
The Elk and Sixes rivers have fished pretty well off and on this week with a few Chinook landed by steelheaders thanks in part to the late salmon run here. Side-drifting roe has been the most effective technique for winters here.
While a few anglers have advised to the contrary, the ice cover at Diamond Lake is sufficient for fishing now according to the local resort. There have been people drilling holes and dropping lines since early this week with no negative (or positive) reports. So that’s the scoop.