Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports for January 5th, 2018

From ODF&W

2018 Sport Groundfish (beginning Monday, Jan. 1, 2018)

Bottomfish fishery

  • Open at all depths, Jan-Mar and Oct –Dec.  Only open inside of 30 fathom line Apr-Sept.
  • General Marine Fish daily bag limit is 5 fish; no sub-bag limits except for cabezon when open.
    • Cabezon opens July 1, with a 1 fish sub-bag limit.
  • Lingcod daily bag limit is 2 fish, separate from the General Marine fish bag limit.  Minimum size of 22 inches.
  • Yelloweye rockfish prohibited at all times and in all waters.

Flatfish Fishery

  •  Flatfish daily bag limit is 25 fish for species of sanddab, sole, flounder, etc.  Does not include Pacific halibut.
    • Open all depths year round.


  • The recreational bottomfish fishery reopened Jan. 1, 2018.  For details see the Sport Groundfish Seasons Webpage.
  • Open at all depths, with a general marine fish daily bag limit of fish.
  • Anglers are reporting fair surfperch fishing from southern Oregon beaches.
  • Anglers from Winchester Bay are reporting good surfperch fishing in the Triangle and south jetty areas.
  • With steelhead rivers vacillating between low and clear, and high and muddy, anglers may want hit Garrison Lake for some trout fishing.
  • Winter steelhead should pick up on the Coos and Coquille rivers once we get some significant rain.
  • Winter steelhead fishing has been good on the Umpqua.
  • Anglers have been catching trout up to 19-inches while trolling in Tenmile Lakes.
  • Anglers have been catching some surfperch when ocean swells have been small.
  • Ocean fishing for bottomfish has been great when conditions allow.

 CHETCO RIVER: winter steelhead

  • Low and clear. Anglers are picking up a few fish, but continued low water has been making for some tough fishing conditions. Rain is expected by the weekend which should improve fishing conditions.
  • The ODFW angler caught winter steelhead broodstock program started last week. This is an annual program to collect adult steelhead to be spawned for the hatchery program on the river. Anglers interested in participating or would like more information can call the ODFW Gold Beach office at 541-247-7605.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, steelhead

  • Streams and rivers are now closed to trout fishing until May 22, 2018.
  • The local rivers are still low, clear water due to the lack of rain. Some anglers have been catching a few winter steelhead near the head of tide on the Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers. Steelhead should move up river to the more “traditional” fishing areas on the next significant rain. Anglers fishing the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a permit from Weyerhaeuser, which allows the angler to access up to the Seven Mile Bridge. Permits can be obtained at Weyerhaeuser’s Coos Bay office. In the Coos Basin, 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.
  • Recreational fishing for bottomfish is opened on Jan. 1 in the ocean along with bays and estuaries. The daily bag limit will be 5 marine fish plus 2 lingcod. There will be no retention of cabezon until July 1. 

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

  • Lost Creek Reservoir is a winter trout fishing hot spot in the Rogue Valley, with the vast majority of water users being anglers this time of year. Many more large trout are being stocked in Lost Creek than in past years as a result of data from recent trout tagging studies.

 Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead

Low and clear.  A few winter steelhead are being picked up by anglers plunking Spin-n-Glos. Very few boats are on the river. This is just the beginning of the winter steelhead run.

With the first of the year approaching, anglers are reminded to check the 2018 fishing regulations before heading out.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Summer steelhead are available, but cold, clear water is making fishing challenging. Anglers should down-size their tackle and work their offerings slowly along the bottom. The river is also open for trout fishing. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead

Steelhead fishing opened Dec. 1 upstream to Sisters Creek on the mainstem and to bridge ten (~14.5 miles up the N.F. Smith River Rd.) on the North Fork. Chinook fishing closes on Dec. 31. Steelhead fishing should pick up as we move closer to January. The Smith can be one of the first to clear after a large storm.

Trout fishing in the mainstem and tributaries reopens May 22, 2018


Bank and boat anglers are having some good success in the middle section of the mainstem.

From Pete Heley at

Any vessel fishing for, or in possessing, bottomfish, including flatfish species, or Pacific halibut in the ocean must have a functional descending device onboard(handy), and use it when releasing any rockfish outside of 30 fathoms. Functional descending device means one that is ready to be used.

Beginning Jan. 1, the daily bag limit for Marine Fish will be 5 with a 2 lingcod limit IN ADDITION to the 5 fish marine bag limit. Yelloweye rockfish retention prohibited at all times and in all waters. An offshore longleader fishery will have a daily bag limit of 10. Check the ODFW website for keepable fish species when using this method.

The ALL-DEPTH bottomfish season runs from Jan. 1st through March 31st and from Oct. 1st through December 31st. In other words, bottomfishing at depths greater than 30 fathoms IS CLOSED from April 1st through Sept. 30th. This all-depth closure affects retention such marine fish as rockfish, greenlings, lingcods, skates and sharks.

Crabbing continues to be very good, especially in the ocean, but the reopening of the commercial crab season on Jan. 15th will undoubtedly have a negative effect on recreational ocean crabbing. However, recreational crabbing in the lower tidal reaches of bays and larger rivers should remain productive until we get a lot more rain.

For the third consecutive year the Oregon Coast Anglers will be collecting used Christmas trees this year. The trees will be placed by high school students in tributaries of the Umpqua and Smith rivers to provide more favorable habitat for young salmon and steelhead. The ODFW will coordinate with the OCA in picking the actual sites for tree placement.

Those wanting to donate a tree to the worthwhile project can stack their used trees in the vacant parking lot on the northwest corner of the Les Schwab store in Reedsport . Please remove all decorations, tinsel and fake snow flocking before dropping the tree off. LocalBoy Scout Troop #310 will also be picking up trees from the curb in front of your house on Saturday, December 30th. Same rules: no decorations, tinsel or fake snow flocking. For more information contact Steve Godin at 541 – 255 – 3383.

If 2017 is any indication of when trout plants will start in 2018 – most of the Florence-area lakes received their first planted trout during the second week of February. The Coos County lakes received their first plants during the fourth week of February and some of the Roseburg-area lakes, including Loon Lake, also received their first trout during the fourth week in February. Lake Marie received it’s first trout plant during the third week in March.

Since there seems to be a lot of griping about the nominal 2018 price increases for ODFW issued licenses, I feel compelled, in the interest of fairness, to mention a few licenses that did not become spendier. They are the youth combo license, the youth combined angling tag and the pioneer license.

I cannot believe how many Oregonians are still upset that the Pioneer License is no longer completely free.  I don’t feel that I paid a “price” to live beyond age 65 and I definitely do not feel it was a heavy “burden” to live in Oregon for 50 years – and I want Oregon to get its full share of the excise taxes collected on sporting goods sales which are based on land and water area – and more importantly, fishing and hunting licenses ACTUALLY SOLD.

The amount of money collected and redistributed is considerable. In 2011 the amount was 749 million dollars and Oregon did not get its full share due to its pioneer and disabled veterans licenses being completely free. I know that a $6.00 license is not the “bargain” it was when it was completely free – but it’s still a bargain and there are so many that have more legitimate gripes concerning ODFW license prices.

Pete Heley works part-time at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.