SW Oregon Fishing Report for October 19th, 2018

From ODF&W

Coos River Basin

Streams and rivers are open to trout fishing through Oct. 31. Trout fishing in streams and rivers is slow to due to low water conditions. Trout anglers can now use bait in all streams that are open to trout fishing. The daily limit for trout in streams is 2 fish per day and they must be 8-inches or longer.

The use of the two-rod validation for salmon fishing in Coos Bay ended on Sept. 30.

Salmon fishing continues to be slow but anglers have caught some Chinook salmon from the Marshfield Channel up to the head of tide. Bank anglers are catching a few fish at the mouth of Daniels Creek, upper Isthmus Slough, Coos Bay boardwalk and Pony Slough. Boat salmon anglers have been catching and releasing wild coho near the airport. There is no retention of wild coho in Coos Bay this season.

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 retention of cabezon is no longer allowed for the rest of the year. Fishing for rockfish and greenling continue to be good inside Coos Bay near the north jetty and other submerged rock structures.

Trout fishing on Tenmile Lakes has slowed down with the best fishing is in the early mornings. Anglers should focus on fishing in deeper water.

The wild coho fishery opened in Tenmile Lakes on Oct. 1 and will run through December 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. The water level in Tenmile Lakes is very low so it will take a few good rains to bring the coho into the lake.

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. Yellow perch are starting to transition away from the weedlines into the deeper mudflats in the lake. Anglers are using small jigs or a worm on a hook fished near the bottom.

Rogue River above Lost Creek

Anglers will still find plenty of trout at most sites for the next several weeks.

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.

Lower Rogue

Water levels are low and with cooler than average water temperatures, fish are moving up river. The bay fishery has slowed way down and anglers have begun to shift tactics. It’s worthwhile to start thinking about side drifting with eggs farther up river.

Coho salmon have started pushing through as well. 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.

Both adult and half-pounder steelhead have been moving up river in decent numbers. Lower flows are ideal fishing conditions for anglers swinging flies or tossing lures. Anglers who are traveling up river should contact the Forest Service for updates on road closures during fire season.

Middle Rogue

Beginning Oct. 1, the river between Hog Creek boat ramp and Fishers Ferry boat ramp is closed to fishing for Chinook.

The river remains open for hatchery summer steelhead, and the 2018 runs appear to be very strong. Anglers are catching summer steelhead on plugs fished from a drift boat or drifting night crawlers/roe or yarn balls with scent. Fishing has been fair to great, depending on the angler and reach floated. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

There are reports that Coho are starting to show in the Grants Pass Area, and definitely within the Rogue Canyon. You have to target coho if you want to catch them. Use black or pink, black and orange jigs or panther martin or blue fox spinners with a pink body. Coho typically bite on the fall, so don’t retrieve gear quickly.

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. There are half-pounder steelhead present from near Robertson bridge downstream throughout the Rogue Canyon. There are many BLM public access points to fish for these from Hog Creek to Graves Creek.

Upper Rogue

The artificial fly season is underway between Fishers Ferry boat ramp and Cole Rivers Hatchery. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, anglers may only fish artificial flies on any type rod and reel: no added weights or attachments except a bubble. This reach of the Rogue is open to fishing for hatchery summer steelhead and trout. Fishing for Chinook is now closed.

Fly anglers fishing from drift boats have been doing quite well in the Dodge Bridge to Fishers Ferry Reach of the Rogue. Anglers report catching a 50/50 ratio of wild to hatchery steelhead. Cole Rivers Hatchery recycled approximately 1000 summer steelhead at Touvelle and Modoc last Friday.

Lost Creek will be the primary draw for trout anglers in the Rogue watershed now through early spring. Large rainbow were stocked last week to complement fish remaining as holdovers from earlier releases. In addition, Lost Creek is the only place where trailered boats of any size can be launched. Both the Takelma and Marina boat ramps are usable at this time.

Lake surface temperatures continue to cool, and have dropped to 59F. Trout fishing should be very good, and bass anglers should continue to have good success through fall. Trolling a wedding ring spiked with a piece of worm or Gulp worm behind an oval egg sinker can produce very well at Lost Creek.

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

Apple Gate Reservoir

The water level continues to drop, and now the only access for boats is the low water ramp at French Gulch. The lake surface temperature has cooled to 60 degrees. Trout fishing has been very good, and fishing for bass should still be productive.


Other Reports out of Depoe Bay reports of good fishing for rockfish and slower fishing for lingcod have been posted. Offshore weather has been hampering fishing offshore but forecasts look favorable.

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

Based upon California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projections of the recreational fall Chinook salmon catch on the Klamath River, anglers will meet the Upper Klamath River adult fall Chinook Salmon quota below Iron Gate Dam for the 2018 season as of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct.14. This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook Salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec. The fishery at the mouth of the Klamath was closed as of Sept. 4, and will remain closed to all fishing for the rest of the calendar year, and the fishery on the lower Klamath closed as of Sept. 13. All reaches on the main stem Klamath (except the within 100 yards of the mouth) remain open for harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook Salmon (22 inches or less). All adult Chinook Salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card.

It appears that there is no chance of duplicating the 59 pound chinook salmon that was caught in Hunter Creek over Thanksgiving Weekend several years ago because Beginning October 15 through December 31, 2018 the stream is closed to fishing for Chinook salmon.

While salmon fishing is tough for everything except wild coho, which are unkeepable, some chinooks and finclipped cohos are still being caught.

Jetty anglers are doing fair to good for lingcod, striped surfperch, greenling, and rockfish. Boat anglers fishing in waters beyond 180 feet are getting limits of lingcod and rockfish.

As of October 15th, recreational ocean crabbing is closed. Both commercial ocean crabbing, which closed on August 15th, and recreational crabbing will reopen on December 1st – although commercial crabbers may voluntarily delay their season opener if tested crabs lack sufficient meat content.

Planted trout are, once again, on the menu. Several Coos County waters are slated to receive trout plants this week. They are: Bradley Lake (800 15-inch rainbows); Butterfield Lake (1,390 15-inch rainbows); Upper Empire Lake (3,210 15-inch rainbows); Powers Pond (1,300 15-inch rainbows) and Saunders Lake (1,300 15-inch rainbows).

The ODFW refers to rainbow trout plants where most of the fish measure 15-inches as trophy rainbows – but this writer has a hard time referring to 15-inch trout as “trophies”.

For the anglers that have an aversion to fish hatcheries, yet continue to complain about the shrinking average size of returning adult salmon, there are two possible solutions. the “best” solution is to make the ocean more productive. With a stronger forage base, salmon survival rates and their average size would both increase.

Unfortunately, this “solution” is pretty much unachievable – leaving the only realistic solution to the problem of “shrinking adult salmon” is salmon hatcheries. By striving to match the eggs from the largest female salmon with the milt from the largest male salmon the average size of returning salmon could be increased.

The effectiveness of this method was demonstrated four decades ago by a rainbow trout breeder in the United Kingdom who managed to raise trout to 36 pounds – nearly twice the national record – in his small ponds.

But average size is only one of the “problems” fish hatcheries can address and alleviate.

Instead of “bashing” fish hatcheries, let’s make them better – and more responsive to disturbing trends.

Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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