Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
A series of winter storms have continued to hit the Oregon coast over the last several weeks and has pretty much kept recreational anglers off the ocean. So no new reports or information on how bottomfish fishing has been. If ocean conditions cooperate, lingcod fishing in January can be very good.
Steelhead are here! Fishing has been pretty hot on the Chetco. Conditions lately have been most favorable for bank anglers with a plunking set-up.
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.
The Coos Basin rivers will most likely be high and unfishable early in the week. But they could be dropping into shape by the weekend depending on the amount of rain we receive during the week.
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.
The South Fork Coquille River will likely not be fishable for drift boat anglers this week. Bank fishing near Powers should be an option later in the week.
The North Fork Coquille is high and muddy early this week but maybe fishable before the weekend. When fishable, the North Fork Coquille has been very busy with bank anglers.
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.
The river is open year-round for hatchery steelhead harvest. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, wild steelhead may be harvested 1/day and 3/year as part of a daily or annual salmon steelhead bag limit from the mouth of the Rogue up to Hog Creek. The wild steelhead bag limit is accumulative zone-wide.
Half-pounders are still present in the Rogue Canyon and up to about Robertson Bridge, but anglers are reminded only hatchery trout can be retained. Remember, wild steelhead over 24 inches cannot be retained above Hog Creek until Feb. 1. SW Zone aggregate bag limits apply.
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.
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 forecast.
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.
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.”
There is excellent bank access in this section of the river, and recent reports indicate that some plunking/side planner techniques are starting to pick up fish. Plugs from a drift boat, or a Spin-n-Glow on the inside bend of a sweeping gravel bar fished in 2-4 feet of water are both effective methods.
Plenty of naturally produced trout are always present in the upper Rogue, however, water has cooled significantly and these fish will be very slow to bite. The river may be inaccessible in some areas due to snow as well.
Anglers can cast flies or smaller lures like a Panther Martin or rooster tail. Often tipping the lure with bait helps to produce. In slower holes, fishing straight bait such as nightcrawler, Pautzke eggs or even PowerBait will produce.
Tenmile Creek and Eel Creek are open to steelhead fishing. Steelhead have been caught near Spinreel Park and the mouth of Eel Creek by bank anglers. Bank fishing on Tenmile Creek is limited to the area from the mouth of Saunders Creek to the mouth of Eel Creek, so those spots have been very crowded with anglers.
Beginning with the opening of the upcoming spring Chinook season, the mainstem Umpqua River will be closed to retention of all wild spring Chinook in 2020. Harvest of hatchery Chinook remains open. The North Umpqua also remains open to Chinook under permanent rule. In the North Umpqua, anglers may harvest two wild Chinook per day and ten per year from Feb. 1 through June 30.
Chinook fishing will reopen on the mainstem Feb. 1. Wild harvest of Chinook is closed in 2020. Hatchery harvest is still allowed
Steelhead fishing has been decent throughout the main. The river is pretty high right now, but should be dropping. A lot of anglers fish the main by “plunking.” This is usually a good strategy for water that is high and has more color.
Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery fish for a chance to win a gift card. Snout collection barrels are found at Scott Cr, Sawyers Rapids, Elkton, Yellow Creek, Osprey, James Woods, Umpqua, Cleveland, and River Forks boat ramps.
Trout fishing is currently closed on the Main and its tributaries, but will reopen next Memorial Day.
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.
The North reopens to Chinook Feb. 1 under permanent rule. Anglers may harvest up to 10 wild Chinook per year and two per day.
The mainstem South reopened to steelhead fishing Dec. 1. Fishing usually picks up in February and anglers have been picking up some fish.
The river may be in decent shape and should be dropping. Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery fish for a chance to win a gift card.
Snout collection barrels can be found at Douglas County Fairgrounds, Happy Valley, Lookingglass, Myrtle Creek, Lawson Bar, Stanton boat ramps and Seven Feathers access area.