Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
A series of winter storms arriving at the Oregon coast over the last week or so has pretty much kept recreational anglers off the ocean. So no new reports or information on how bottomfish fishing has been.
Trout anglers can still catch fish that were stocked earlier in the year. As long as conditions allow, places like Lost Creek Reservoir can fish throughout the winter.
The East Fork Millicoma River and South Fork Coos River have been very high and muddy most of the week. Steelhead anglers have been able to fish several days this past week on the West Fork Millicoma River but steelhead catching has been slow. 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.
Fishing for rockfish inside the bay has slowed down from the combination of big swells and the amount of freshwater moving into the lower bay from all the recent rain. 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. A jig with a twister tail can be a great bait for catching rockfish.
There may be snow at Lost Creek Reservoir this week, so use caution when driving. Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked in October with legal-size and larger trout.
The Tekelma ramp is the only boat ramp accessible right now. 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 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.
Winter steelhead fishing should start to pick up in the Lower Rogue. Anglers might want to try swinging flies, tossing spinners or running plugs. When expecting rain and rising river levels, consider switching tactics and anchor up and back-bounce eggs.
Bank anglers will want to look for fish on inside of bends in the river and slots along willow banks.
Half-pounders are still present in the Rogue Canyon, but anglers are reminded only hatchery trout can be retained.
There have been some good steelhead fishing reports lately, especially during or after a rain event. Summer steelhead may be looking skinny as it nears their time to spawn, and some anglers may begin to encounter kelt or “down-runners,” fish that have already spawned and headed back to the ocean. Please treat these wild steelhead with care and release them unharmed so they can come back again next year.
There have been a few reports of some bright winter steelhead making their way up the river, mostly down in the Galice area. Their numbers will be increasing, especially with the rain we’re getting.
Steelhead will bite on bait, yarn balls, spinners, spoons or a well-placed fly. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed unless you are below Hog Creek Boat Ramp, there anglers may keep 1 wild steelhead per day and 3 per year.
Steelhead and trout remain open in the upper Rogue, and summer steelhead fishing has been good, especially during or after a rain event while the water level is receding.
Bait is again allowed throughout the entire Rogue basin. A simple setup of bouncing bait, or using lures such a spinner, a plug or a bead can be very effective in steelhead fishing.
79 new summer steelhead entered the trap at Cole Rivers last week, for a total of 3,963 steelhead to date. Excess hatchery adult summer steelhead from Cole River Hatchery were recycled back into the system for the final time before Jan. 1. Anglers are reporting success in catching these fish.
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.
Tenmile Creek and Eel Creek are open to steelhead fishing. A few steelhead have been caught near Spinreel Park and the mouth of Eel Creek.
Steelhead fishing has been decent throughout the main. With rain in the forecast, the river may be a little high this weekend. 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.
Some anglers are giving it a try in the lower North Umpqua. The river is up but looking like it might fall into shape for the weekend.
Effective Feb 1 through June 30, 2020, retention of hatchery Chinook salmon is allowed on the mainstem Umpqua River. Retention of wild Chinook salmon is prohibited.