Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
The weather cooperated for a couple of days last week allowing anglers to get out on the ocean and do some fishing. Anglers from the south coast reported good catches of lingcod several days last week. Limits of rockfish were able to be caught as well. When the weather cooperates, winter can be a good time to catch lingcod as they are in shallower waters to spawn.
The bottomfish fishery is open at all depths. The General Marine Species bag limit is 5 fish. Retention of yelloweye rockfish is prohibited by all anglers.
Fishing continues to be hot on the Chetco. Higher water conditions are most favorable for bank anglers with a plunking set-up, but as the water levels drop fishing by boat becomes another great option.
Flicking flies, tossing spinners, running plugs, bobber dogging, and bouncing eggs are all tried and true options. ODFW has been conducting spawning surveys/redd counts in tributaries and have noted a plethora of spawning wild adults. Additionally, anglers have noticed down-running spawned-out kelts in their catch.
Steelhead may be harvested through March 31. Wild steelhead bag limits are 1/day and 3/year (accumulative zone-wide) as part of a daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit.
Anglers have been catching lingcod while fishing along the jetty in Coos Bay. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 of which only one can be a copper, quillback or China rockfish. Anglers are also allowed 2 lingcod per day. The harvest of cabezon will not open until July 1.
Steelhead fishing in the Coos Basin has been very slow due to the very low rivers levels. Steelhead anglers have been able to catch a few fish per day even in low clear water by targeting the deeper water especially with a riffle at the head of the pool.
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.
The South Fork Coquille River has been running very low for this time of the year. A couple of fish have been caught from the Beaver Creek boat ramp downstream to the 7 mile marker but most fish and anglers are in the stretch from the 7 mile marker to below Myrtle Point.
The North Fork Coquille continues to be very low and clear. Anglers have been struggling to catch fish in LaVerne Park for the past couple of weeks.
Excess hatchery steelhead from the Eel Lake fish trap have been planted in Butterfield and Saunders lakes. Anglers trolling a wedding ring spinner behind flashers were catching several trout last month. Most of these trout are holdover rainbow trout from last spring’s stocking.
Winter steelhead has picked up in the Lower Rogue. Anglers have had luck using many techniques; currently, the most common being plunking.
Bank anglers will want to look for fish on inside of bends in the river and slots along willow banks.
As the flows begin to drop and the water colors up, folks might also want to consider spinners, spoons, bobber dogging, and bouncing eggs.
A number of reports have come in that there are a good amount of winter steelhead below Graves Creek. Boat anglers and bankies are picking fish up in the Galice Area more regularly, and there is very little pressure down here right now.
Half-pounders are still present in the Rogue Canyon and up to about Robertson Bridge, but only hatchery trout can be retained. Wild steelhead over 24 inches can be retained through April 30, 1/day and 3/year as part of the SW zone wide daily and aggregate bag limit. Both hatchery and wild fish are present in the system and numbers will continue to increase through March and April.
The week of Feb. 25 had four new winter steelhead show in the Cole Rivers Hatchery Ladder, bringing the total to 32 for the year. In addition, 24 new summer steelhead also entered the trap at Cole Rivers, for a total of 4,581 summer steelhead to date.
Anglers should still keep on the look out for tagged hatchery summer Steelhead. 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 ext 226.
Check out the trout bite in the Holy Water, the stretch of the upper Rogue between the hatchery and the Lost Creek Lake spillway. Anglers are reminded this is a fly-fishing only section of water.
Both Reinhardt Pond and Lake Selmac received their first stocking of the season earlier this month. There should still be fish around for this weekend.
Steelhead fishing continues to be decent on the mainstem Umpqua River. The river is dropping and more anglers are focusing on the main and drift fishing. A lot of anglers fish the main by “plunking.” This is usually a good strategy for water that is high and has more color.
Chinook fishing is open, but usually doesn’t pick up till March. Wild harvest of Chinook is closed in 2020. Hatchery harvest is still allowed.
Fishing has been good for steelhead anglers. Some good numbers are coming in from the South with some anglers harvesting their limits of hatchery fish.