Rogue River

Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports for December 20th, 2019

Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports

From ODF&W

With this week’s rain, steelhead fishing in the mainstem Umpqua should be picking up. River levels may be high for drift fishing, plunking may be a better strategy.

Anglers have reported catching a few steelhead in the tidewater sections of the Coquille River.

Some anglers have been catching trout at Eel Lake.

Lost Lake Reservoir will remain a good trout fishing destination throughout the winter.

Anglers who harvest a hatchery winter steelhead in the Umpqua Basin are asked to turn in the snouts from those fish. Some of these snouts contain small tags. Anglers who turn in snouts with these tags are entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card. Snoot collection barrels are located around the basin, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roseburg, or the Roseburg ODFW office. Tags obtained from the fish will inform ODFW on the best hatchery release timing strategy to provide the most fish back to anglers in the future.

Bottomfishing is open to fish at all depths. 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.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year-round.

Chetco River – Chinook harvest and bag limits remain in effect.

Temporary fishing regulations will be in place Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 this year for wild Chinook salmon. Adult wild Chinook may be harvested, 1 per day and 5 per year, as part of daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. However, of the 5 no more than 2 adult wild Chinook may be harvested for the period of Oct. 1 – Dec. 3.

For more information, please see the in-season regulation change tables here.

See a map of the low water closure area on the Chetco.

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 are fishing the Coos Basin rivers with little to no success. The rain forecasted for the end of the week should get steelhead moving into the rivers as the water levels come down. 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.

Anglers have reported catching a few steelhead in the tidewater sections of the Coquille River near Arago 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 and winter.

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 upriver.

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.

Steelhead fishing was good this past weekend due to the bit of rain we got. This upcoming storm should also get fish moving and active for some great fishing until the river blows out. Fish are especially likely to move as the river clears up and is dropping back down to normal levels, but this may not happen until after the 25.

Summer steelhead may begin moving into tributaries to spawn if water conditions allow. Spinners and flies are bringing in some nice large fish as they continue to move upstream. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Some coho have been reported throughout the river, but they may be getting dark and ready to spawn. Only hatchery coho can be retained. Please release wild coho back into the river unharmed with minimal handling. Coho are aggressive and bite on flashy spinners with black, pink or purple.

Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of the river, and know their takeouts. Experienced oarsmen/women 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.”

Upper Rogue River – Above Hog Creek, Chinook fishing is now closed.

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.

Sixty-three new summer steelhead entered the trap at Cole Rivers last week, for a total of 3,200 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 40 swam in last week for a total of 202 so far this season.

Above Lost Creek Reservoir – Above Hog Creek, Chinook fishing is now closed.

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.

Sixty-three new summer steelhead entered the trap at Cole Rivers last week, for a total of 3,200 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 40 swam in last week for a total of 202 so far this season.

Smith River (Umpqua) Smith River opened up to Bridge 10 on the North Fork and Sisters Creek on the mainstem beginning Dec. 1. There might be a few early steelhead lower down.

Tenmile Creek is open to steelhead fishing but Eel Creek won’t open to fishing until Jan. 1.

A couple steelhead anglers have been fishing Tenmile Creek but there have been no reports of any steelhead caught yet.

Umpqua River Mainstem – 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, the river may be a little high for drift fishing. A lot of anglers fish the main by “plunking.” This is usually a good strategy for water with more color and when the water is high. 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.

The mainstem South reopened to steelhead fishing Dec. 1. Fishing usually picks up in January, but with recent rains there may be a few steelhead around.

The river may be high for the weekend with lots of rain in the forecast. Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery fish for a chance to win a gift card.

North Umpqua River – We are in the shoulder season for steelhead, but it should pick up for winter steelhead in January. Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery winter steelhead for a chance to win a gift card.

The North is closed to all fishing for Chinook.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps