Rogue River

Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports for March 20th, 2020

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Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports

From ODF&W

Springtime 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.

Retention of yelloweye rockfish is prohibited by all anglers.

The all salmon except coho season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened on March 15 with a limit of 2 salmon per day (closed to coho): Chinook minimum size of 28 inches total length and steelhead 20 inches total length. This season is expected to continue through Oct. 31, but will not be finalized until early May when the Pacific Fishery Management Council finalizes seasons for 2020, and then is approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Secretary of Commerce.

Details for the 2020 ocean salmon season, full catch and quota updates will be available here. http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/

Surfperch fishing usually sees an uptick in spring and early summer.

Bottomfishing is now open to fish at all depths. Fishing for lingcod has been good when anglers can get out on the ocean. 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.

Anglers are also allowed 2 lingcod per day. The harvest of cabezon will not open until July 1.

Angling pressure has been light on the Chetco River. In lower clear water conditions like we’ve had recently, anglers will likely have better luck if they switch to lighter tackle. In varying water conditions, fly-fishing, tossing spinners, running plugs, bobber, and jig, and drifting/bouncing eggs are all tried and true options.

ODFW has been conducting some spawning surveys/redd counts this year to monitor steelhead during these low flow periods. Surveys have indicated this has been a really good year for steelhead spawning on the south coast. In addition, anglers have noticed quite few down-running spawned-out steelhead 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, rockfish, and greenling while 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 anglers continue to catch bright steelhead on the South Fork Coquille River. The river level is still very low but steelhead are being caught in the deeper pools. Anglers having success are using lighter lines and small baits/lures.

Whoop, whoop! Arizona Pond got an unscheduled stocking of trophy and legal-size trout this week.

There are a lot of fish in Garrison Lake, and fishing is good.

Bank anglers willing to do a little walking on the Elk River have been very successful catching steelhead. Steelhead are spread throughout the system, but very little angling pressure. Flows have been too low for boats, but bank anglers willing to do a little walking are have great success. Fishing is open through March 31; then May 22 – Dec. 31. The wild steelhead bag limits are 1/day and 3/year as part of a zone-wide accumulative daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit.

It will be a good weekend for trout anglers, as several area waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked this week, including Cooper Creek Reservoir, Marie Lake, Garrison Lake, Reinhart Park Pond, Willow Lake, Galesville Reservoir, Ben Irving Reservoir, Powers Pond, Selmac Lake, Lost Creek Reservoir, Look Lake and Emigrant Reservoir.

Low water conditions have kept angling pressure pretty low on the lower Rogue. 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 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.

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 lookout 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.

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.

Chinook fishing is open on the mainstem of the Umpqua River but usually doesn’t pick up ‘til late March. Wild harvest of Chinook is closed in 2020 in the main. Hatchery harvest is still allowed.

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.