Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
Spring time fishing! Beautiful weather allowed for a nice and calm ocean this past week. Many anglers were able to get out on the water and try for some deep-water lingcod and rockfish, with high success. A flat ocean allowed kayakers to get out on the water as well and catch some nice size lingcod. There appears to be plenty of bait in the water, as many of the rockfish were reported to be full of squid. Near limits of both lingcod and rockfish catches were reported.
The bottomfish fishery is open at all depths. The General Marine Species bag limit is 5 fish.
When conditions are good, surfperch anglers have been catching a few redtail surfperch from the beaches using sand shrimp or Berkley Gulp sand worms. Surfperch anglers fishing near the jetties have been catching a few striped surfperch.
Anglers have been catching lingcod, rockfish, and greenlingwhile fishing along the jetty and submerged rock structures 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.
Even in the extremely low, clear water steelhead are still moving upriver. Steelhead are congregating in the deeper pools before moving upriver through the shallower water. Steelhead anglers should use lighter lines and smaller baits/lures.
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.
Steelhead continue to move upriver in both the South Fork and North Fork Coquille rivers. Most fish are congregated in the deeper pools. Anglers having success are using lighter lines and small baits/lures.
Trout fishing in streams and rivers is now closed until May 22, 2020.
With the continued unseasonably nice weather, local reservoirs such as Emigrant and Selmac would be great places to try for the bass bite. Applegate Reservoir has even produced some bass as of late. Fishing plastic worms, jigging on the flats and points may produce. Stripping streamers or leaches can also entice largemouth bass hiding around the weeds.
Garrison Lake and Empire Lakes are scheduled to be stocked with trophy trout the week of March 9.
Several waterbodies were stocked with trout the week of March 2, including: Plat I Reservoir, Johnsons Mill Pond, Eel Lake, Bradley Lake, Ben Irving Reservoir, Loon Lake, Saunders Lake, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Expo Pond, Reinhart Park Pond, Galesville Reservoir and Powers Pond.
Lost Creek Reservoir is 63 percent full and 1,840 feet elevation. Water visibility is clear. Trout should be biting well with the cool temperatures. Bass and panfish are available here year-round but will be slow to bite in cooler weather. Trolling a wedding ring and worm combination behind an oval egg sinker is always a good bet. One angler caught a limit that included trout to 16 inches recently, fishing from a boat along the northern shoreline near the Takelma ramp; mostly moving slowly with PowerBait.
Winter steelhead are distributing in the Lower Rogue. Anglers have had luck using many techniques. Currently the most common are plunking and side-drifting with eggs.
Bank anglers will want to look for fish on inside of bends in the river and slots along willow banks.
With current low water conditions, folks might also want to consider using lighter tackle like spinners, spoons and bobber dogging.
Boat anglers are picking up winter fish in the Galice area. Fish are starting to show in the Grants Pass area. Bankies willing to hike in below Graves Creek are still finding fish in the Wild and Scenic section. Side planing and plunking are picking up fish from the bank in the Galice Area.
The moisture and cold weather expected this weekend, should get fish moving more. Whether or not they feel’ll like biting, is up to them.
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. March through April is the month for winter fish on the Rogue.
Some anglers may encounter kelt or “down-runner,” summer Steelhead that have already spawned and are headed back to the ocean. Please treat these wild steelhead with care and release them unharmed. Keeping the fish in the water is the best tact for a healthy release.
Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of river, and know their takeouts. Locals would recommended against floating through Hellgate Canyon if flows are over 5,000 cfs. Experienced oarsmen/woman 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. Bankies have ample opportunity at places like Griffin Park, Matson and Finley Bend, and the BLM Access points below Hog Creek.
The week of March 11 had 15 new winter steelhead arrived in the Cole Rivers Hatchery Ladder, bringing the total to 53, well below the average for this time of year. Again, with such a dry February and March fish have not been moving. In addition, 11 new summer steelhead also entered the trap at Cole Rivers, for a total of 4,619 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.
Trout have still been biting well in the Holy Water, the stretch of water between the hatchery and the Lost Creek Lake spillway. Multiple reports of leeches and wooly-buggers were enticing some healthy, large trout. Blue-winged or crippled blue-wing olives have produced as well later in the day. March can be a great month up here, as afternoon hatches really pick up.
Anglers are reminded this area is fly-only and catch-and-release, and are encouraged to fill out voluntary angler creel cards (even if they didn’t catch anything) at eight access sites along this stretch of water. Also, please especially fill out a card if a tagged fish was caught.
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.
On the Umpqua River, steelhead fishing has been decent throughout the main. 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.
Very low river conditions may make floating most of the South difficult. Fishing has been good for some steelhead anglers and some are bringing home limits.