SW Oregon Fishing Report – April 3rd, 2020

SW Oregon Fishing Report – From the ODF&W recreation report

COOS RIVER BASIN: marine species

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.     

Trout fishing in streams and rivers will reopen May 22, 2020.  

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: steelhead, striped bass

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. 

Anglers fishing in the upper portions of tidewater of the Coquille River are catching striped bass. Most of the fish are 20 – 26 inches long. 

Trout fishing in streams and rivers is now closed until May 22, 2020.  


The Forest Service has closed all boat ramps and campgrounds at Diamond Lake. There are no other public launches.

Anglers should also check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camp and ramp closures.

The Diamond Lake Lodge is also closed, but you are be able to access the lake via the lodge. When they reopen, anglers can check fishing and water conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort Facebook page, or call 541-793-3333 for updates. Diamond Lake is open year-round.

With variable winter conditions, fishing at Diamond is tough to predict. A recent report showed anglers having success on the ice. Moderately low temperatures are forecasted for the weekend with some snow as well.

Diamond Lake has been stocked with tiger and brown trout. These fish are intended to assist in controlling illegally introduced tui chub. These trout are catch-and-release only and need to be released immediately and unharmed if caught.

EEL LAKE: trout

Oregon State Parks has temporarily closed public access to Eel Lake and Tugman State Park.  

Approximately 13 miles north of North Bend off Hwy 101, located in Tugman State Park. 


Closed to fishing until May 22, when the river reopens for trout.

EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead

Boat ramps and facilities at Emigrant Reservoir that are managed by Jackson County Parks are currently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on park closures visit the Jackson County Parks website.

Emigrant has been recently stocked. There are other locations at Emigrant Reservoir accessible for bank fishing or by small personal watercraft. Just make sure to practice social distancing measures currently in place for our area, and please pack out your trash to keep our public waters clean!

Rocky points may produce some largemouth bass. Smallmouth should be on the gravel flats.

If targeting rainbow trout, the Emigrant channel of the lake would be worth some exploration.

The reservoir is currently at 62 percent full with clearing conditions. 

EMPIRE LAKES: trout, warmwater species

Empire Lakes was stocked with trophy trout last week. Anglers did very well catching trout casting spinners or fishing PowerBait.   

EXPO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie

Expo Pond day use lot and facilities are closed to the public as they are managed by Jackson County Parks.

The Southern Oregon RV Park developed by Jackson County offers parking in the lot to the right as you drive in Gate 5. It is currently open to essential workers and first responders. 

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake is ice-free. The USFS ramp is a developed recreation site and may be closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. More information on National Forest Developed recreation sites and campground closures for the Rogue Siskyou Forest please visit here.

Anglers should call ahead for updates on the private Fish Lake Marina, which as of writing this is open Friday-Sunday.

The lake is now 49 percent full and should continue to slowly fill. The resort is now on winter hours and is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tiger trout, Chinook salmon, brook trout, and larger rainbow trout are available. Remember that tiger trout must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers are encouraged to report their catch of tiger trout to fish district staff at 541-826-8774.


Closed to fishing until May 22, when the river reopens for trout.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

There is limited bank access, so the lake is best accessed by boat. There’s a public boat ramp is available at Boice-Cope Park. For further detail on this waterbody, please consult the southwest zone section of the ODFW Sport Fishing Regulations book. And, as always, please obtain landowner permission before crossing private land.

FORD’S POND: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie

The city of Sutherlin says that the park is open, but please maintain social distancing and observe health recommendations.

This shallow pond supports populations of warmwater fish. Bass fishing looks like it’s picking up. In addition to bass, there are other warmwater fish species that can make for a fun outing.

Ford’s Pond (just west of Sutherlin) was purchased by the city of Sutherlin in 2016. The pond is open to the public and has a lot of bank access. Ford’s is restricted to electric motors and does not have access for boats on a trailer.

GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

The current info from Douglas County Parks is that the day use area and campground is closed, but the boat ramp is open.

Galesville was stocked with trout last week. Fishing could be good after recent rains. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions. Check out the Lake Level Gage for more information.

In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20 inches long allowed for harvest.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow and cutthroat trout

Good fishing as the lake is full of trout. Anglers can expect trout fishing to remain good all month and through April. 

Anglers slow trolling spinners, flies, or wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm all typically do well hooking up with some feisty rainbow trout. Five trout per day/3 daily limits in possession; 8-inch minimum; only one trout over 20 inches long may be taken per day.

Bank anglers can find access at the 12th street or Pinehurst boat ramps and off Paradise Point Road. The lake can be very windy so anglers will want to check the weather before heading out.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS (Douglas County): trout

The USFS has closed all developed sites, including day use, campgrounds and boat ramps. You may still be able to access the lakes from other areas. Anglers should also check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camp and ramp closures.

With cool and possibly snowy weather, the lakes might be difficult to access and fishing might be slow. A recent report mentioned a vehicle getting stuck near Hemlock Lake.

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions and potential road closures. Remember to only keep trout at least 8 inches long, and only one trout over 20 inches per day.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass

Facilities maintained by Jackson County at Howard Prairie are currently closed (marina and boat ramp, willow point, restrooms). For more information on Jackson County Closures, please visit their website. 

Bank fishing is possible, with social distancing precautions, near the dam and on the opposite bank of the Marina, off the 37 road access. Howard Prairie will see snow/rain this weekend and be cold. 

Hunter Creek:

Closed to fishing until May 22, when the river reopens for trout.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Hyatt lake ramp is snowed in and the BLM gate is closed. Some bank access available near dam and shoreline along Hyatt Prairie Road. Expect no day use facilities. Expect snow/rain for the weekend and cold conditions.

ILLINOIS RIVER: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

The Kerby guage was reading 448 cfs and rising, but still extremely low for this time of year. Steelhead should be in the system but water conditions are very low and clear.

The Illinois River is now closed to all fishing through May 22. There is not a hatchery on the Illinois, so fishing is primarily catch-and-release for wild fish. Wild rainbow trout and cutthroat trout may not be retained at any point during the year. Trout fishing reopens on May 23.

JOHNSON MILL POND: rainbow trout,

Johnson Mill Pond was stocked with legal-size trout in March.

LAKE MARIE (Marie Lake): rainbow trout, yellow perch

Oregon State Parks are closed to all visitors. Anglers can call the Parks Department at (800) 551-6949 for more information or visit their website.

The lake was stocked the week of March 16 and will be stocked again soon. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch.

The local STEP hatchery released clipped rainbow trout into Lake Marie for the last three years. Please e-mail Greg.F.Huchko@state.or.us if you catch an adipose fin-clipped fish. This information will help inform ODFW and the local STEP group on the possibility of continuing the project.

LAKE SELMAC (Selmac Lake): trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Lake Selmac facilities operated by Josephine County Parks are currently open, with the exception of the campgrounds being closed. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer and practice social distancing recommendations. More information about Josephine County Parks and responses to COVID-19 can be found on their website.

Bass and panfish are available here year-round but may be slow to bite with the cold weather expected this weekend. This time of the year, the aquatic vegetation should be at its lowest. Warmwater fish in Lake Selmac are often found in the aquatic vegetation near the shore. Stripping leaches can be a very effective stillwater method for targeting bass here.

Lake Selmac continues to be stocked with trout. Anglers boating should only be doing so with member of their own household as most vessels do not provide the minimum 6 feet of social distancing recommended by the CDC.   

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

The USFS has closed all developed sites, including day use, campgrounds, and boat ramps. You may still be able to access the lake from other areas. Anglers should also check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camp and ramp closures.

Lemolo KOA is closed for the season, but is scheduled to reopen April 15.

The lake is scheduled be stocked later this spring. Fishing is likely slow with winter conditions.

Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of 5 per day with only one of those measuring over 20 inches.

Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-643-0750 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Visit the Loon Lake Resort website for information on opening dates and camping. The BLM site is closed.

Loon was stocked with trout the week of March 16, so fishing should be good.

Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass should be slow with cooler temperatures. Slower presentations such as jigging can be a good technique.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

The Joseph Stewart State Park and boat ramp are currently closed. All federally managed improved recreation sites, including boat ramps, campgrounds, and trailheads are currently closed during the COVID 19 pandemic. For more information on Lost Creek closures managed by the Army Corps, please visit the Lost Creek Lake Facebook page.

Trout continue to be stocked in Lost Creek. 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.

Lost Creek Reservoir is 73 percent full and 1,846 feet elevation. Water visibility is clear.

Some of the trout have external parasites called copepods. Fish parasites generally do not pose a threat to humans when fish are cooked, and copepods can be scraped off prior to cooking. Anglers are encourage to keep fish that have copepods while staying within the daily limit, since release simply allows the parasite to expand to other hosts.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Fishing for bass and panfish has likely slowed with the cooler water temperatures.  This is a private pond and access can be revoked at any time. 

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, salmon, halibut, surfperch

Douglas County Parks are closed but they state that the ramps are still open which would include those in Winchester Bay.

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.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, blue, deacon, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, chillipepper, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips. Find information about a longleader setup here.

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.

Both halibut and ocean salmon fishing are now closed.

2020 Sport Bottomfish Seasons


Closed to fishing until May 22, when the river reopens for trout.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: bass, trout

It looks like Plat I is open to the public for fishing and launching boats.

Some warmwater species are likely being caught, but it can be fairly slow this time of year.

This reservoir was stocked with trout the week of March 4. This is the only time it will be stocked this year. With temperatures in excess of 80 in the summer, the trout likely wouldn’t survive the summer months.

POWERS POND: trout, warmwater species

Powers Pond was stocked with trophy and legal-size rainbow trout in March.

Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and brown bullhead catfish are available year-round.

REINHARDT PARK POND: trout, bluegill, bullhead

Reinhardt has received trout and bass and panfish are available year-round.

Being a relatively small location, anglers should practice social distancing at this facility. If a fishing platform is occupied, you should move to another, less busy location. A relatively simple set up includes either a nightcrawler fished below a bobber. There are many areas to easily bank fish and the pond is small enough to be able to cover the majority of the water.


Rogue River, lower: steelhead, spring Chinook

Rain this week has brought the river up and should get the spring Chinook on the move.  Higher water is ideal plunking conditions for spring Chinook. Plunking can be very effective and it is a good way to get out and do some fishing while maintaining social distancing.

Very few spring Chinook have been caught so far this season, but it is only the start of the run. Steelhead are still being caught on a regular.

Current river flows are reported by the gage in Agness on the USGS website. Note that this gage is above the Illinois River mouth and does not account for that additional water flow.

For a current view of the Rogue from the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge in Gold Beach, check out the ODOT’s camera.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, rainbow trout

Fishing in a drift boat with persons outside of your household does not provide the recommended 6 feet of social distancing recommended by the CDC during this COVID 19 outbreak. The Oregon Marine Board has guidelines for guides and outfitters. There isbank angling opportunities along this stretch of water from Robertson Bridge and downstream. Fortunately, this is where the majority of fish currently are in the Rogue.

The Rogue closed to trout fishing on April 1 through May 22. All anglers on the river will need to possess a valid combined angling tag when fishing the river through the end of April. 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 best 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. Much of this is managed by the BLM.  According to the BLM regional website, developed recreation sites are closed or will not have public facilities. Visitors are expected to practice leave no trace tactics, which include packing out trash in order to protect public resources. 

As of Wednesday, the flow in Grants Pass was approximately 1490 cfs and steady, temperature hovering around a 46 degrees, turbidity at 2 NTU.  For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s websiteoffers information on river conditions at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera. Anglers can check all the gauging stations here.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, rainbow trout

The only boating access in the upper rogue at this time is the ramp at Cole Rivers Hatchery, the Denman Wildlife Area’s Modoc Access Point (near the Upper Table Rock trailhead), and Fishers Ferry. The Modoc access point requires a day use or seasonal pass to wildlife areas and a key. Only patrons that already have a key from ODFW should access this spot. ODFW Denman Office is currently closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modoc to Fishers Ferry would probably be the float to run if planning to fish from a drift boat.  All of the other boat ramps in the upper river are managed by Oregon State Parks or Jackson County Parks, and are closed at this time.

The week of March 17 had 34 new winter steelhead arrived in the Cole Rivers Hatchery Ladder, bringing the total to 87, well below the average for this time of year. Again, with such a dry February and March fish have not been moving.

The land surrounding the Holy Water is managed by the US Army Corps and is currently closed. Facilities and access at McGregor Park are also closed. More information the US Army Corps’ local website or their Facebook page for more information. 

The McLeod gage is currently reading 1,310 cfs. The Dodge Bridge gage is at 2,030  cfs. For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434. For real time streamflow from USGS gauges on the Rogue click here.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

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.

SAUNDERS LAKE: trout, warmwater species

Excess hatchery steelhead from the Eel Lake fish trap have been planted in Saunders Lake. Once in the lake, these fish are considered trout and can be harvested as part of you daily trout bag limit, which is 5 trout per day with only 1 fish over 20 inches.  

Saunders Lake was stocked with rainbow trout the week of March 2.

Largemouth bass and bluegill are available year-round.


Closed to fishing until May 22, when the river reopens for trout.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead

Smith River boat ramps are in mixed ownership, but there are some are owned by ODFW and are not developed sites should still be open to access. There are also a fair amount of bank fishing spots that would be open.

Smith River opened up to Bridge 10 on the North Fork and Sisters Creek on the mainstem on Dec. 1.

There should be some steelhead throughout most of the system. The river is fairly low and clear. Smaller presentations are better in low clear water. The Smith sees only light pressure for most of the season and can provide a great experience for anglers looking to get away from the crowds.

SPALDING POND: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead

Spalding is stocked with trout and fishing should be good.

Spalding pond is located on USFS land between Grants Pass and Selma.


Soda Springs remains CLOSED. The reservoir is closed to evaluate its use by salmon and steelhead.

SRU LAKE: trout

Sru Lake is scheduled to be stocked this spring. 

Located on the US Forest Service’s Powers Ranger District, nearly 20 miles south of Powers. 

TENMILE CREEK: trout, steelhead

Trout fishing in rivers and streams will reopen May 22, 2020. 

TENMILE LAKES: trout, warmwater species, largemouth bass

Bass anglers will find largemouth bass starting to move into shallow water on warm sunny days. Anglers have been catching most of the bass along the deeper weedlines and submerged trees.

Trout anglers are catching a few trout by trolling deeper water with wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

The USFS has closed all developed sites, including day use, campgrounds, and boat ramps. You may still be able to access the lake from other areas. Anglers should also check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camp and ramp closures.

There some non-developed site access points anglers should be able to fish from.


Snow will likely be found at most of the higher lakes and winter conditions may result in slow fish activity. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions as lakes may still be difficult to access.

Lakes typically accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked in the last couple years are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Pitt, Wolfe and Skookum lakes.

Clearwater Forebay Two can be a great place to fish as well with brook trout and rainbow available.

Red Top Pond offers excellent bank fishing opportunities was stocked in the last week of August. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-size trout from previous stockings in these waterbodies. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, Chinook

A lot of boat ramps on the main are managed by Douglas County and should be open, just not the parks. However, the BLM sites are closed. This would affect Osprey and the day use/campground at Tyee.

Chinook fishing is open, but not many anglers are trying. 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 came up but 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.

Make sure to turn in snouts from hatchery steelhead 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.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, trout

A number of ramps are managed by Douglas County and are open, but not the parks. Federally-owned developed sites are closed which includes The Narrows, Swiftwater and other access points at campgrounds and day use parks in the fly water.

The river came up in flow with recent rains. Fishing should be good. Try smaller presentations during low clear water conditions.

Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout (those above Slide Creek Dam): check the fishing regulations to see which areas are closed.

Note that as of Oct. 1, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless, artificial fly.


Many of the boat ramps on the South are managed by Douglas County are accessible, but the parks are closed. Contact Douglas County Parks with questions about accessing the ramps (541) 957-7001. Seven Feathers is still open to bank access. The Winston boat launch is accessible, but the restroom is closed.

Fishing has been great for those fishing from the bank. Lots of bright fish are being caught. The River came up and should be in good shape for floating.

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.

ODFW with the assistance of the Cow Creek Tribe released 80,000 juvenile winter steelhead into the South. Look for these to return in about two years.

Webinar Driftboating and bank fishing the Wilson River with Pro Guide Bob Rees January 20th