From Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com
Trout plants in our area start during the second week in February (actually Feb. 4-8) with several Florence-area lakes being stocked.
Alder Lake (3 acres) 738 trout (566 legals + 172 trophies; Carter Lake (28 acres) 750 trophies; Cleawox Lake (88 acres) 2,636 trout (2,000 legals + 636 trophies); Dune Lake (2 acres) 602 trout (566 legals + 36 trophies); Lost Lake (6 acres) 500 trophies; Munsel Lake (105 acres) 1,650 trophy trout and Siltcoos Lagoon (3 acres) 460 trophy trout. The reason for including the surface acreage of the lakes being stocked is to help the anglers that base their choice of fishing location on stocking density.
So far, almost all the winter steelhead streams in our area are lagging behind the average of the last several years catch-wise – but there’s a good chance that the best fishing on many streams will occur in February.
Offshore bottomfishing continues to be very good – especially off 10-Mile Reef which draws anglers launching out of both Charleston and Winchester Bay. Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has also been fishing well when wave conditions allow it.
Most serious bass anglers are pulling a few fish per trip out of Tenmile Lakes, , but fishing for yellow perch has recently been slow. Fishing has also been slow for walleyes on the Columbia River and even Lookout Point Reservoir despite increasing interest from walleye anglers.
Outdoor Sports Shows this week are:
February 1st – 3rd KEZI EUGENE Boat and Sportsmen’s Showat 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene (Lane Events Center)
Feb. 6th – 10th Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Showat the Portland Expo Center2060 North Marine Dr, Portland
ODFW will be asking for public input on the upcoming Central Oregon Coast spring all-depth halibut season at a meeting on Monday, Feb, 4 from 6- 7:30 p.m. at the ODFW Marine Resources Program Conference Room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport.
Ocean conditions smiled on anglers again last weekend. Out of Newport, lingcod fishing continued to be hot in nearshore waters. Rockfish have been harder to find, but those caught offshore, like canary rockfish and yellowtail rockfish, have been large.
The bottomfish fishery is open at all depths with a General Marine Species bag limit of 5 fish, and a separate lingcod limit of 2 fish. No cabezon may be retained until July 1. The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line is open all year. Catches often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes.
Late winter/early spring can typically be good for surfperch fishing on Coos County beaches, when surf conditions allow.
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.
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.
A series of water-laden storms have moved through the southwest zone. Rivers are up and fish are moving. Winter steelhead and hatchery chinook have now spread throughout the Rogue. Anglers may want to consider plunking during these higher water events. As the water drops, anglers typically switch to side drifting with eggs or tossing spinners.
The Rogue is open for hatchery rainbow trout through March 31; 5/day. Wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released.
On the middle river, in the coming weeks, anglers will likely be encountering down runner summer steelhead or kelts, and should limit their handling of these fish by not removing them from the water, if possible. Reports of winter steelhead being caught in the Galice area continue to roll in. Some fish are showing in Grants Pass. Winter steelhead doesn’t really heat up in the Rogue until later in February. The river is holding steady around 1900 cfs and should rise a bit this weekend with measurable precipitation in the forecast for Friday through the weekend.
One wild steelhead per day and 3 per year may be retained below Hog Creek boat ramp if they are at least 24-inches long. Beginning Feb. 1 through April 30, the rest of the Rogue River to Cole Rivers Hatchery will open to retention of wild steelhead at least 24-inches long as part of the daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit of 1 wild steelhead per day and 3 per year SW zonewide. Consult the 2019 sport fishing regulations for further information and clarification.
Running plugs from a drift boat is not a bad option. Drifting nightcrawlers, roe, or yarn balls are always a good call. A diversity of bait will always help your chances when steelhead fishing.
Fly anglers that nymph will want to use prince nymphs or copperswans, steelhead brassies, stone flies, ugly bugs, or will want to fish large dark flies if swinging. Don’t be afraid of color such as black and chartreuse, black and blue, black and purple, black and pink, or black and red. If tying your own flies, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of flash dubbing or tinsel in the body of your fly. Also, covering lots of water when working through a run is a good technique when swinging flies. Trying moving 4-5 feet downstream every cast or two.
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.
Half-pounders are worth targeting throughout the winter. Target these fish from Galice to Grave Creek by boat, or for the hardy angler willing to hike into the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue. Anglers report great half-pounder fishing downstream of Rainie Falls. Remember, only 5 hatchery rainbow trout may be retained per day. All wild rainbow trout and cuttroat trout must be released throughout the river.
Boaters floating from Hog Creek to Graves Creek should be familiar with the rapids in this section of river, and know their takeouts. Experienced oarsmen/woman are recommended here. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. Boats should not attempt to float through Hellgate Canyon during high water. Drifting roe or nightcrawlers are very effective.
Further upstream, Griffin Park and Robertson Bridge are good places to plunk or use a side-planer setup with plugs or Spin-N-Glos for bank anglers.
Bait is again allowed throughout the entire Rogue basin. There is good public access for bank fishing and boat access at Cole Rivers Hatchery, McGregor Park, Casey Park, Rogue Elk, Shady Cove, Takelma, Dodge Bridge, Modoc, Denman Wildlife Area, Touvelle State Park, Gold Ray and Fishers Ferry. 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. Waterfowl season is now done, so boat traffic will now just be anglers.
The last stragglers of this year’s summer steelhead run are still making their way to the hatchery. The upper Rogue water levels don’t typically fluctuate dramatically upstream of Elk Creek. So while the rest of the river is falling into shape after a storm, this is a great section of river to explore. Try fishing roe, nightcrawlers, spinners or jigs under bobbers.
Fly anglers that nymph will want to use prince nymphs or copperswans, steelhead brassies, stone flies, ugly bugs, or will want to fish large dark flies if swinging. Don’t be afraid of color such as black and chartreuse, black and blue, black and purple, black and pink, or black and red. If tying your own flies, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of flash dubbing or tinsel in the body of your fly. Also, covering lots of water when working through a run is a good technique when swinging flies. Trying moving 4-5 feet down every cast or two.
River forks in the South Coos and Millicoma basins were back in shape over the weekend, with the sunny clear weather. Steelhead fishing conditions improved with river flows dropping and clearing. Steelhead anglers wanting to fish the South Fork Coos River will need to purchase a Dellwood Fishing Access Permit from the Weyerhaeuser website.
Heavy rains in the Coquille basin caused high/turbid water over the weekend. Look for improved steelhead angling conditions with river flows decreasing as the week progresses.
Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open on the Chetco. Wild chinook may be harvested 1/day and 5/year as part of the daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. Wild steelhead may be harvested 1/day and 3/year as part of a daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit.
There have been some really good reports throughout the main Umpqua River. The current forecast has the river coming into shape by the weekend. All wild steelhead must be released in the Umpqua so please follow good catch-and-release techniques.
Fishing for trout has been decent in deep water near the boat ramp. Eel Lake has some holdover trout in excess of 15-inches long.
Tenmile Creek and Eel Creek have been producing a few winter steelhead so far this season. The run tends to be a month later than other Coos County rivers, so hatchery fish may be available through March and into April.
Trout can be caught year-round at Tenmile Lakes, but fish may not be too aggressive in cold water. Some holdover trout measure over 17-inches long. Look for fishing on holdover trout to improve in the next few months.
Fishing for largemouth bass and other warmwater species will slow down in cold weather. Presentations will need to be slow, as fish may be lethargic.