SW Oregon Fishing Report December 21st, 2018

From ODF&W

Bottomfishing should be decent if the ocean lays down.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed for the remainder of the year.

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, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, 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.

Ocean salmon fishing is closed.

The Applegate River is open to trout fishing through Dec. 31. Only hatchery rainbow trout may be retained. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released.

Just in time for winter break from school, this little Arizona Pond will be stocked with rainbow trout early next week. Many holdover trophy trout from earlier this year are also still lurking in the deeper water. Youth anglers fishing this pond are allowed to keep five trout per day; one of which can be over 20-inches. Oregon State Parks manages Arizona Pond for youth fishing ages 17 and under.

Bradley Lake was stocked with fall trophy trout in mid-October. Anglers trolling a wedding ring or other type of spinner are still having luck catching trout.

No bank fishing without permission from land owners, but an ODFW boat ramp allows anyone to fish from a boat. Anglers can also fish from the new dock at the boat ramp. Located about three miles south of Bandon and is one mile west of Hwy 101.

Butterfield Lake was stocked with 1,300 fall trophy trout the week of Oct. 15. Anglers have had success catching trout with spinners or by fishing PowerBait.

Excess hatchery steelhead juveniles were also stocked in Butterfield Lake this past month. Most of these fish are under 8-inches long but should grow to a legal-size fish by next spring.

On the Chetco, chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the river mouth to Nook Creek through Dec. 31. The Southwest zone recently received significant rain and flows are back on track for the year. As of Nov. 27, the temporary strike indicator/bobber rule has been lifted. Beginning January 1, 2019, wild Steelhead may be harvested one per day and three per year as part of the daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. Please see the Southwest zone special regulations and exceptions for current regulations. A visual and status update on the river bar crossing can be found here at the NOAA bar camera webpage.

Anglers are encouraged to drop hatchery fish snouts in the kiosk at the Port of Brookings cleaning station (instructions on how to remove and package snouts are available at the kiosk). Please see the southwest zone regulation exceptions in the regulations book for more details.

In the Coos River basin there has not been enough rain to get steelhead moving up the rivers yet. Steelhead should be entering the rivers with the next big rain. Steelhead anglers wanting to fish the South Fork Coos River will need to purchase a Dellwood Fishing Permit from the Weyerhaeuser website.

Recreational fishing for bottomfish is open in the ocean along with bays and estuaries. The daily bag limit for marine fish is back to 5 plus 2 lingcod. The cabezon retention is closed for the rest of the year.

Trout fishing in streams and rivers will reopen May 22, 2019.

In the Coquille River basing steelhead anglers have started plunking the upper reaches of tidewater in hopes for the first returning steelhead. Steelhead should be entering the rivers with the next big rain.

Trout fishing in streams and rivers will reopen May 22, 2019.

Fishing at Diamond is slow with recent snowfall. If the weather stays cold for a while the lake might ice up.

Fishing for trout has been decent in deep water near the boat ramp at Ell Lake.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the mouth of the Elk River to Bald Mountain Creek through Dec. 31. With recent rainfall, fish have really begun moving into the river system. Water levels are now high enough for anglers to consider floating in addition to bank fishing. Anglers please see the southwest zone regulation exceptions in the ODFW Sport Fishing Regulations book for more details. Please note: there is a wild Chinook aggregate bag limit rule for Floras/New, Sixes, and Elk Rivers.

Upper Empire Lake was stocked with over 3,000 fall trophy trout the week of Oct. 15. The lake has had lot of fishing pressure and the success rate has started to slow down.

Fishing for bass and panfish should be good at Expo Pond. The Southern Oregon RV Park developed by Jackson County offers parking in the lot to the right as you drive in Gate 5. A $4 day use fee to park applies here, or an annual parking permit can be purchased from Jackson County Parks Department.

Expect snow at Fish Lake for the weekend. Water levels have been rising and resort ramp is now usable for small boats. The resort is on winter hours and open Friday-Sunday, but anglers should call ahead to check on conditions and open hours. The USFS ramp offers a launching point for small boats, individual watercraft and inflatables; however, watch out for stumps.

Tiger trout, Chinook salmon, brook trout, and larger rainbow trout are available. Larger tiger trout can be targeted by casting lures or streamer flies around structure, but 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.

Chinook retention is open from the mouth to the bridge at mile post 1.5 on Floras Creek. The season for Chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead is open through Dec. 31. The fishery typically turns on when the bar opens up after fall rainfall. Please note: there is an aggregate bag limit rule for Floras/New, Sixes, and Elk Rivers for wild Chinook. For further detail on this water body, please consult the southwest zone section of the ODFW Sport fishing Regulations book. And as always, please obtain landowner permission before crossing private land.

The best fishing will be from a boat at Floras Lake. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. Anglers are allowed five trout daily; only one over 20 inches. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals. The lake can be very windy, so anglers will want to check weather before heading out. Early mornings or late evenings tend to be the best.

Galesville has been stocked several times this year and should have trout from previous stockings. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015. The reservoir is very low and fish should be kegged up.

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.

Fishing for bass and other panfish should be decent. Good areas are near dead snags and the boat ramp. Try a slow retrieve with a diving crank bait.

Garrison Lake was stocked for the last time this year with a little over 800 trout the week of Oct. 29. Anglers slow trolling spinners, flies, or wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm all did well. Five trout per day/2 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. Bass have been hanging around riprap areas in shallower portions of the lake. The lake can be very windy. Anglers will want to check the weather before heading out.

Fishing for fall trout in Hemlock and Lake in the Woods can be great. Spinners or “plunking” with worms and/or PowerBait can be effective methods for fishing these lakes. Some anglers are having success with flies. Recent snow and cool temperatures might slow things down.

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.

Fishing at Howard Prairie Reservoir is now limited to bank fishing, although smaller watercraft such as kayaks or canoes can still be launched for the angler willing to brave the cold water, partial patches of ice and snow!

The access road to the dam remains locked. Anglers can still walk the shoreline and fish the point to the south of the dam. There is good bank access via BLM property on the NW side of the lake via the Keno Access Road.

Fall fingerling trout have been stocked this season. Please handle these undersized trout with care and release them unharmed. The shoreline near the dam and near Fawn Island can be very productive during periods of low water.

Lake Marie has been stocked several times this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch. The local STEP hatchery released clipped rainbow trout into Lake Marie in the spring of 2017. 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.

Loon Lake should have plenty of trout from recent stockings including trophy-size trout. Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass has been decent. Slower presentations such as jigging can be a good technique. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping.

Lost Creek will be the primary draw for trout anglers in the Rogue watershed now through early spring. Large rainbow have been stocked to complement fish remaining as holdovers from earlier releases. Water levels are lower than usual right now, so trailered boats can only launch at the Takelma boat ramp currently. Surface temperature is 46 degrees.

Last weekend the action was sporadic but anglers were catching fish up to 16-inches long. Recent reports indicate anglers have found success on red wedding rings fished with a worm behind a dodger or flashers have produced fish, as have PowerBait fished deep while trolling.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open through Dec. 31 on Pistol River from the river mouth to Deep Creek. One adult salmon per day and 5 per year are allowed. As a result from recent heavy rain, the river flow increased significantly enough to breach the mouth of the river allowing entry of salmon and steelhead. Please remember that anglers will need to obtain landowner permission before crossing private land adjacent to the river.

Plat I should have plenty of trout from earlier stockings. In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Where access is available, anglers may have success catching trout and bass with bait such as PowerBait and nightcrawlers. Water levels may be low this time of year so contact the Sutherlin Chamber of Commerce (541-459-3280) for lake level information.

Powers Pond was stocked with fall trophy trout the week of Oct. 15.

After a significant rainstorm, the Rogue received some much-needed water. This has encouraged fish to move upriver as well as into the tributaries for spawning.

Anglers may want to consider plunking during these higher water events. As the water drops, anglers should switch to side drifting with eggs or tossing spinners.

Coho salmon are also still moving up river. Anglers have reported catch in the lower sections of the Rogue. Only hatchery coho may be kept as part of an angler’s adult and jack salmon daily bag limit.

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

On the middle, fishing for summer steelhead has slowed as many of these fish will be entering seasonal tributaries to spawn soon. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The river remains open for hatchery summer steelhead, and the 2018 run still has some hatchery fish moving through the system. Running plugs from a drift boat is not a bad option as the river is higher, but drifting nightcrawlers and even throwing blue fox or mepps spinners have been producing.

Gold Hill to Rogue River, Baker to Lathrop or Ferry Hole, or Griffin Park to Robertson Bridge are all good floats this time of year. Remember, upstream in the Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove reach, anglers can still only fish artificial flies and lures, no bait.

Half-pounders are worth targeting this time of year from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek. Fishing for these from Hog Creek boat ramp to Graves Creek has been good, however only experienced driftboaters should be floating these floats as you will encounter Galice Chute and Argo Rapid; know where your take outs are if you don’t want to run these rapids. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish for these from Hog Creek to Graves Creek.

The Rogue River is also open for trout fishing. Only hatchery rainbow trout may be retained. All wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released.

On the upper river fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures between the Shady Cove boat ramp and Fishers Ferry. Bait is allowed between Shady Cove and Cole Rivers Hatchery. There is good public access at McGregor Park, Casey Park, and Rogue Elk where bait is allowed. Most floats in the upper Rogue have been from the Hatchery or Rogue Elk downstream to Shady Cove. Dodge Bridge to Touvelle is an excellent float but anglers should be aware that they will encounter Rattlesnake Rapids. If you are not ready for Rattlesnake, many floats will start at the ODFW Modoc Access Site and float to Touvelle or Fishers Ferry.

Anglers are still picking up the sporadic Coho from the hatchery to Rogue Elk. There’s still probably 10-20 percent of the summer steelhead run expected to enter the Hatchery. Try fishing spinners or jigs as slow as possible in the deeper holes. The Coho run is just about done.

The upper Rogue water levels don’t typically fluctuate dramatically upstream of Elk Creek, but the rain forecasted throughout the week should get fish moving. Water color should also improve.

As of Dec. 18, 2,445 summer steelhead had entered Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 240 new for the week. For the week, 40 additional coho entered, bringing the total to 474 for the year. Anglers should be aware of their identification. Only hatchery coho may be retained, so when in doubt, release the fish. Find updated fish counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery here.

The river discharge from Lost Creek Reservoir on Tuesday was 1,170 cfs and 44oF. For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434.

Above Lost Creek Reservoir anglers will still find trout at most sites for the next several weeks but fishing has slowed with very cold water. Expect snow. The Prospect gauge is reading 39 degrees. With cold water, you’ll want to swing your lure right in front of fish.

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, even PowerBait will produce.

Saunders Lake was stocked with 1,300 fall trophy trout in mid-October. Fishing has been good for anglers fishing with Powerbait or casting spinners or flies.

On the Sixes River chinook salmon and Steelhead season is open from the river mouth to Edson Creek through Dec. 31. Recent rainfall encouraged fish to move into the river system.Anglers can target steelhead up to the South Fork of the Sixes River. Please see the southwest zone regulation exceptions in the ODFW Sport Fishing Regulations book for more details. Please note: there is an aggregate bag limit rule for Floras/New, Sixes, and Elk Rivers for wild Chinook.

Steelhead fishing opened on Smith River up to Sisters Creek Dec. 1. There should be a few fish coming into the river with recent rains and the river should be fishable.

Trout fishing is starting to pick up again on Tenmile Lakes. Trout anglers are catching rainbow trout and cutthroat trout, some measuring nearly 20-inches long.

The wild coho fishery opened in Tenmile Lakes on Oct. 1 and will run through Dec. 31. Salmon anglers may harvest 1 wild coho per day with up to 5 wild coho for the year in aggregate with Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes. A few wild coho were caught in the lake earlier in November but has been slow since. Fishing should improve when we get more rain.

Fishing for largemouth bass has been good. Bass are hitting plastics and jigs fished in deeper water.

Yellow perch fishing is very good this fall with lots of fish in the 9- to 12-inch range. Look for yellow perch in the deeper mudflats in the lake. Anglers are using small jigs or a worm on a hook fished near the bottom.

Upqua high lakes typically accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked in the last couple years are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Pitt and Skookum lakes. These lakes can be tough to get to in the winter and with the cold temperatures, fishing will likely slow.

Red Top Pond offers excellent bank fishing opportunities and was stocked around Labor Day with large rainbow trout. 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.

There should be winter steelhead that are starting to poke their way into the Umpqua River and the river should be in good shape. There have been reports of fish being caught all the way in the upper maintstem near Roseburg. All wild steelhead must be released in the Umpqua so please follow good catch-and-release techniques.

Smallmouth bass fishing is still an option, but cool temperatures will likely slow the bite

Trout fishing will reopen in May 2019.

On the North Umpqua steelhead fishing will be transitioning to winter steelhead as we enter December. Usually winter steelhead are around in high numbers in mid- to late December.

Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout: check the fishing regulations to see which areas are closed.

The South reopened after the annual closure to winter steelhead on Dec 1. A few fish should start moving into the river in December, but more should follow as we get closer to January.

At Winchester Bay fishing in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful.

On the Winchuck River chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the river mouth to Wheeler Creek through Dec. 31. Due to significant recent rainfall, flow levels are back on track and the temporary strike-indicator/bobber rule has been lifted. Beginning Jan. 1, retention of wild steelhead will change to one per day and three per year as part of a daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. Please see specific rules in the southwest zone of the ODFW Sport Fishing Regulations book prior to fishing. Also note: no fishing from a floating device is allowed on the Winchuck River.


From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

With the commercial crabbers currently under a voluntary closure through at least December based on low meat content in the northern and southern sections of the Oregon coast, it’s good news for recreational sport crabbers – especially along the central Oregon coast where the meat content of recently tested crabs is just fine.

The reason that the central Oregon coast is not open for commercial crabbing is that it would take two lines of demarcation to separate it from the areas of low meat content. As soon as one of the two areas of low meat content improves sufficiently, then a single line of demarcation could separate the coastal area of sufficient meat content from the area of insufficient meat content and commercial crabbing would most likely begin where the tested dungeness crabs had acceptable meat content.

I think it is quite admirable that the commercial crab fleet “polices” itself to ensure that the crab-buying public gets a product of acceptable quality.