Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
Bottomfishing is now open to fish at all depths. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish was very good this past weekend. Many anglers caught big lingcod while fishing out past 40 fathoms. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod.
The harvest of cabezon along with copper, quillback, and China rockfish are now all closed to boat anglers. Shore anglers will still be able to harvest these rockfish species (but are encouraged to release them) and 1 cabezon a day.
Effective Dec. 7, the emergency angling closures in the Winchuck, Chetco, Elk and Sixes Rivers have been lifted. Reduced wild Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.
Coos River Basin – Fishing for rockfish inside the bay has been good near the submerged rock piles. Fishing is typically best near slack tide. Boat anglers are no longer able to harvest copper, quillback, or China rockfish for the remainder of the year because we reached our catch limit on these species. A jig with a twister tail can be a great bait for catching rockfish.
A few winter steelhead anglers have starting fishing the East Fork and West Fork Millicoma rivers. We have not received any reports of steelhead being caught but with the rain in the forecast some fish should move in soon. Steelhead anglers wanting to fish the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a fishing permit from Weyerhaeuser to access this portion of the river.
Hatchery steelhead returns in the Coos Basin will be down this year due to low smolt releases two years ago. Because of disease issues at the hatchery then, we were only able to release less than 40 percent of our production goal.
Winter steelhead anglers have started fishing along the mainstem Coquille River in areas around Argo and the town of Coquille. Most anglers will plunk in these areas with a Spin-n-Glo tipped with eggs or sand shrimp.
Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked the week of Oct. 2 with legal-size and larger trout and both Tekelma and the Marina boat ramps are accessible. This is probably the best lake for launching larger trailered boats at this time and the trout fishing will continue to be good throughout the fall.
Trout should be biting well with the cool temperatures. Bass and panfish are available here year-round but will be slow to bite now that the weather has cooled. Trolling a wedding ring and worm combination behind an oval egg sinker is always a good bet.
Lower Rogue River – As we ease into fall/winter weather, the water temperature will continue to drop, which should encourage some fish to move up river.
When expecting rain and rising river levels, some people may want to consider switching tactics to anchoring up and back-bouncing eggs. Bank anglers will want to look for fish on inside bends in the river and slots along willow banks.
Middle Rogue River – Half-pounders are still present in the Rogue Canyon, but anglers are reminded only hatchery trout can be retained.
Adult steelhead fishing continues to be good throughout the river. Spinners and flies are bringing in some nice large fish as they continue to move upstream. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. As the most recent storm did not produce much precipitation, steelhead are still holding in the same areas and are slow to move upriver.
Some coho have been reported around Grants Pass. However, most coho on the Rogue are wild and must be released. Only hatchery coho can be retained. Please be mindful to release wild coho back into the river unharmed with minimal handling. Coho are aggressive and bite on flashy spinners with black, pink or purple colors.
Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of river, and know their takeouts. Experienced oarsmen/woman are recommended here. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. This is often referred to the “Galice area.”
Summer steelhead and trout remain open in the upper Rogue, and summer steelhead fishing has been good. Bait restrictions are in effect in some areas so be aware of the regulations where you are fishing. From Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove anglers cannot use bait. A simple setup of bouncing bait, or using lures such a spinner, a plug or a bead can be very effective in steelhead fishing.
This has been a great run of summer steelhead with not only many fish available, but larger fish as well. Cold, low water has been keeping steelhead from moving around much right now, so if you can figure out where they are holding it can still be good fishing.
Ninety-one new summer steelhead entered the trap at Cole Rivers last week, for a total of 3,037 steelhead to date. Excess hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery are being recycled back into the fishery and anglers are reporting success in catching these fish. Cole Rivers is starting to see coho back at the hatchery and 68 swam in last week for a total of 114 so far this season.
Some summer steelhead have red, blue or green tags extending from the top of the fish near the dorsal fin. ODFW encourages anglers that catch these fish to call the upper Rogue office at 541-826-8774.
Umpqua River, main stem – Chinook fishing closed Dec. 1. Please note there is no retention of unclipped coho salmon in the river, but fin-clipped coho is open in the river as part of your two adult salmon daily limit.
Steelhead fishing should be starting up on the main. With rain in the forecast fishing could pickup over the weekend. Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery fish for a chance to win a gift card.
Trout fishing is currently closed on the Main and its tributaries, but will reopen next Memorial Day.