Southwest Oregon Fishing Reports
The weather cooperated for a couple of days last week allowing anglers to get out on the ocean and do some fishing. Anglers from the south coast reported good catches of lingcod several days last week. Limits of rockfish were able to be caught as well. When the weather cooperates, winter can be a good time to catch lingcod as they are in shallower waters to spawn.
Offshore trips out of Newport over the weekend landed some smallish lingcod plus rockfish limits consisting mostly of deacon rockfish with a smattering of rosethorn, yellowtail, and other rockfish species. Nearshore trips along the central coast are also getting rockfish limits and most of their lingcod.
Anglers have been catching lingcod while fishing along the jetty 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.
Steelhead fishing in the Coos Basin has been very slow due to the very low rivers levels. Steelhead anglers have been able to catch a few fish per day even in low clear water by targeting the deeper water especially with a riffle at the head of the pool.
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.
Trout fishing in Eel Lake has been good recently. Anglers trolling a wedding ring spinner behind flashers have caught several trout recently. Most of these trout are holdover rainbow trout from last spring’s stocking but anglers could catch native cutthroat trout also.
Some anglers have caught juvenile coho while trolling for trout. Coho are not legal to harvest in Eel Lake.
Reinhart pond in Grants Pass, and Expo Pond in Central Point would both be good local destinations for those wishing to stay close to home this week and weekend. Both received stocked legal-size rainbow trout this week.
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.
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.
As the flows begin to drop and the water colors up, folks might also want to consider spinners, spoons, bobber dogging, and bouncing eggs.
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.
Reports of early-run spring Chinook are already coming in. Hatchery Chinook salmon may be harvested year-round.
February precipitation was essentially non-existent, which has kept the Rogue low and clear for this time of year. A number of reports have come in that there are still a good amount of winter steelhead below Graves Creek. Boat anglers and bankies are picking fish up in the Galice Area more regularly, and there is very little pressure down here right now. Some reports indicate that some fish have shown in the Grants Pass area.
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 recommend 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.
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.
Anglers continue to catch some steelhead in the mainstem Umpqua, in spite of unseasonable low water levels.
Several waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked this week, 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.