SW Oregon Fishing Report November 30th, 2018

From ODF&W

There may be a few winter steelhead that start poking their way into the river in early December

Smallmouth bass fishing should be starting to slow as the water temperatures dip.

On the North Umpqua River, summer steelhead fishing is slowing down, but winter steelhead should start moving in in late December.

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 50 degrees but should continue dropping over weekend.

Last weekend the action was sporadic but anglers were catching fish up to 16-inches long. Red wedding rings fished with a worm behind a dodger or flashers produced fish, as did PowerBait fished deep while trolling.

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. There was an exceptional number of half-pounders and steelhead running up river all fall. This push of fish offers an oddly timed fishing opportunity on the Rogue.

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.

In the middle, fishing for summer steelhead should be good. The river remains open for hatchery summer steelhead, and the 2018 runs appears to be very strong. With recent rains and the river expected to rise, fish will be pushed to banks. Running plugs from a drift boat may be best options or drifting nightcrawlers. With the Rogue slowly rising, fish should be on the move. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Fishing for summer steelhead below 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.. . 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, in the Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove reach, anglers can still only fish artificial flies and lures, no bait.

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. This area will likely be pretty dead for adult summer steelhead, so anglers will be waiting for winter steelhead to begin showing in December. There are many BLM public access points to fish for these from Hog Creek to Graves Creek.

And on the upper, 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.

Excess hatchery steelhead (162 fish) were recycled downstream to Touvelle last week.

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.

Fall Chinook fishing typically slows in the lower Umpqua River this time of year and anglers usually switch to coho. Coho and Chinook should move into spawning habitat after recent rains, but there may be a few left in the upper river. Please also follow good catch-and-release techniques of unclipped coho.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the Chetco 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.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the Elk River mouth 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.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open through Dec. 31 from the Pistol 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.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the Winchuck 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. 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.

There is snow in the forecast and that could limit access to some higher elevation lakes. Check ahead for road conditions, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

With several water bodies beginning to ice over, anglers need to be cautious during first-ice conditions. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice.

Lingcod and other bottomfishing in the ocean was going well, but with winter weather on its way crossing the bar may be difficult.

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.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

We’ve received a fair amount of rain in the last several days and could certainly use more, but the rain we have received, combined with some very high tides, has allowed some good things to happen. Coho salmon can now enter and navigate Tenmile Creek to reach the lakes; Tahkenitch Lake should receive some new coho and there should be enough water coming down the Siltcoos River to make the fish ladder usable – should they close the dam gates again.

Hopefully when the coho reach the tributaries of these lakes, their usual spawning sites will still be viable.

Farther south, the Elk, Sixes and possibly Floras Creek should have chinooks in them and they should be able reach the upper portions of these rivers.

It also appears that the rains came before the more shallow sand dunes lakes near North Bend, like Horsfall and Beale suffered a fish kill – or major population shrinkage.

Locally, crabbing is not yet over in coastal rivers and bays, but the most productive crabbing will move closer to the ocean as river flows increase.

With the possible exception of the Umpqua River, it’s still a little early for winter steelhead.

Butterfield Lake and Saunders Lake should be the top bets for uncaught planted trout. But anglers willing to travel might consider Junction City Pond which is located on the west side of Highway 99 between Eugene and Junction City. The eight acre pond is heavily planted all winter long and gets some broodstock fish that can weigh more than eight pounds.