SW Oregon Fishing Report December 28th, 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 until July 2019.

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.

Ocean salmon fishing is closed.

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

There should be winter steelhead throughout the main Umpqua and the river might come into shape for the weekend. 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.

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

Steelhead fishing should pick up with recent rains on the North Umpqua. Usually winter steelhead are around in high numbers in mid- to late December. The largest steelhead caught in the North are usually the first to arrive.

Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout.

The South reopened after the annual closure to winter steelhead on Dec 1. Steelhead should be in the lower South especially after recent rains.

Steelhead anglers have caught a few hatchery steelhead in the mainstem Coquille and lower reaches of the South Fork Coquille.

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

Anglers started to catch a few hatchery winter steelhead this past weekend in the Coos Basin. The West Fork Millicoma River will probably be low and clear the remainder of the week. Best chances to catch a steelhead will be on the East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers. 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. Cabezon retention is closed until July 2019.

Just in time for winter break from school, Arizona Pond was stocked with rainbow trout. 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.

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 44 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.

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.

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.

On the middle river, 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 has been producing when water clarity is better.

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.

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.

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.

Anglers have started fishing for steelhead in Tenmile Creek but no reports of any hatchery steelhead being caught yet.


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