SW Oregon Fishing Reports

From ODF&W, Tim Moran is out this week

Trout fishing in lakes and ponds has slowed due to the hotter days and warmer water conditions. However, there’s still good trout fishing for those willing to adjust their tactics. Fish higher lakes and early or late in the day.

Water temperatures for many of the area lakes in the Coos, Coquille, Tenmile District are in the lower 70s. Largemouth bass and bluegills are in their summer patterns, which means fishing will be best in the mornings and late evenings.

The fly-only season is in effect from Fishers Ferry to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Anglers have been picking up summer Steelhead. Spin-casters can still employ a very effective set-up called the “bug and bubble.” Excess summer steelhead were also recycled back in the river last week around the Denman Wildlife Area.

The Rogue River and tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir should be a good place to target trout throughout the summer. Trout are stocked weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This week no trout were stocked in the Minnehaha area due to lower water flows. Target calmer pools and pocket water for resting trout. Stocking sites are from Woodruff Bridge all the way upstream to Minnehaha Creek. Trout limits here are 5 trout per day, only 1 over 20 inches, and bait is allowed.

Oceans and Beaches

Bottomfishing is restricted to inside the 40-fathom regulatory line until Sept. 1. Fishing for rockfish and lingcod has been spotty recently when anglers can get out on the ocean. The daily bag limit for marine fish was recently increased to 7. But anglers must release all cabezon, copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat.

Anglers are also allowed 2 lingcod per day.

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, blue, deacon, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, chillipepper, 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.

Surfperch anglers are having some success on the beaches around Bandon using sand shrimp or Berkley Gulp sand worms.

The ocean Non-Selective Coho season starts on September 4-5 from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain. The Non-Selective Coho Season will open on each Fri -Sat starting on Sept. 4 through Sept. 30 or attaining the 4,650 non-marked selective coho quota. Ocean Chinook salmon fishing is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain through Oct 31 and from Humbug Mountain to the OR/CA Border through August 7.

The Nearshore Halibut season for the Central Coast Subarea is open 7 days a week, inside the 40-fathom line, through the earlier of the quota of 32,591 pounds or Oct. 31. As of Aug. 23, there is 34 percent of the quota remaining.

The Summer All-Depth Halibut season for the Central Coast Subarea starts on Aug. 6-8 and continues every Thursday – Saturday until Oct. 31 or the quota is caught. As of Aug 22, there is 92 percent of the quota remaining.

The Southern Oregon Subarea for halibut is open 7 days a week through the earlier of the quota of 8,000 pounds or Oct. 31. As of Aug. 23, there is 29 percent of the quota remaining.

Agate Lake has a good population of crappie and yellow perch, as well as brown bullhead. Expect poor water clarity.

Applegate Reservoir is 23 percent full with an elevation of 1,923.4 ft. Reservoir operations, elevations and boat ramp levels can be viewed by hovering over icons on the US Army Corps Rogue Basin Teacup webpage.

The USFS has closed Hart-tish boat ramp for the season due to low water. Copper becomes unusable around 1920 feet elevation, so the best bet is French Gulch for the rest of the year.

Good tactics for trout at Applegate lake include trolling a wedding ring lure or Little Cleo. All visitors should practice leave no trace tactics and pack out their own trash if facilities are closed.

Nearby is Squaw Lakes. This quaint, but popular weekend destination is a non-motorized boating waterway. It has a large population of illegally introduced yellow perch. Like many local lakes where these have been illegally introduced, perch tend to overpopulate and stunt themselves. Anglers can easily catch these fish from shore and are encouraged to harvest as many as possible

Ben Irving Reservoir – Daytime temps are forecasted to be high. The morning should be the best time. The lake was recently stocked with trophy trout, which means the trout bite should be on.

With some seriously warm days in the forecast, anglers should focus on the early morning if they want a chance to catch fish in Cooper. Some anglers find the trout and smolts hang out in the small arms of the reservoir, and anglers should find more after the lake was stocked with trophy trout.

Beginning in 2016, Cooper has been stocked with coho and Chinook salmon juveniles (20,000 coho in 2019). These are often mistaken for kokanee. Anglers may retain up to 5 salmon juveniles in the reservoir as part of their daily trout bag limit. Please remember to release salmon and trout less than 8 inches.

Anglers have been catching a few rockfish in the lower Coos Bay estuary fishing along the jetty and submerged rock structures. Smaller jigs with a twister tail or 1-ounce jigging spoons have been working to catch rockfish and greenling. The daily bag limit for marine fish was recently increased to 7, which for boat anglers cannot include any copper, quillback or China rockfish.

Bank anglers can still retain one copper, quillback or China rockfish as part of their daily bag limit. Anglers are also allowed 2 lingcod per day. The harvest of 1 cabezon per day as part of your general marine fish daily limit opened on July 1.

Temporary wild fall Chinook regulations are in effect starting Aug. 1 for salmon anglers fishing in Coos Bay. Anglers cannot harvest no more than one (1) adult wild Chinook salmon daily / five (5) for the period of Aug 1 – Dec 31 from all waters of Coos River basin, Floras Creek/New River, and Sixes River. See specific rules for Floras/New River and Sixes.

Salmon anglers are having some success catching Chinook salmon from the Chip Pile/North Bend Airport upstream into the Coos River. Fishing has been the best around the high slack tides.

Trout fishing in streams and rivers is open through Oct. 31. Anglers may use bait in streams and rivers above tidewater starting Sept. 1

Emigrant has been dropping 8 feet per week. All boat ramps are currently unusable. There is very little fishing pressure here. Now would be an exceptional time to camp, if you can handle the daytime heat. For more information on park facilities closures visit the Jackson County Parks website. The water park is closed for the season.

Water surface temperatures will be very warm this week and next with an unusual September heat wave hitting the Rogue Valley. It’s best to fish early if you can get on the water, or are willing to hike toward the dam or along the Emigrant arm. Try fishing Texas-rigged plastics, instead of nightcrawlers, when targeting bass to reduce the chance that your catch deeply swallows a hook.

The reservoir is currently 13 percent full, lower than most staff have ever seen.

Fish Lake Marina and store is open, and the lake is 36 percent full. The reservoir has been dropping pretty significantly in the last few weeks, but clarity seems to be ok according to a recent report, with no report of a noticeable algae bloom. The little turbidity is likely due to the dropping water levels.

This facility has been very busy on weekends. Get here early, or if you’re fishing, try to get here during the week.

The boat ramp at the Resort marina is usable for small trailered boats like driftboats, but the USFS ramp is no longer usable (photo attached). For Labor Day weekend the resort will open at 9 a.m. Friday-Sunday.

More information on National Forest Developed recreation sites and campground closures for the Rogue Siskiyou Forest please visit here.

There is a 10 mile/hour speed limit on Fish Lake, which does help provide a tranquil experience while you enjoy views of Mount Mcloughlin.

Tiger trout, Chinook salmon, brook trout, and larger rainbow trout are available. 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 ext 234 or 226.

Galesville Reservoir continues to drop, but the bass should still be biting in the morning.

The current info from Douglas County Parks is the parks are open. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions. Check out the Lake Level Gage for more information.

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

The Joseph Stewart State Park day use, boat ramp and marina are currently open. Camping reservations can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time. For more information, please visit the Oregon State Parks website. Takelma boat ramp and facilities are also currently open. Expect weekend traffic here.

Lost creek has some exceptional bass fishing during July through August. Consider targeting catfish cove, or some of the points off the southwestern portion of the lake.

Trout will not be stocked until mid-September, but there are plenty of trout still in Lost Creek Lake. Trolling up the Lost Creek Arm, near the Dam, or above Highway 62 are good bets. Trout will be deep as surface temperatures are still warm.

Trout anglers may try trolling a wedding ring and worm combination behind an oval egg sinker in the Lost Creek Arm, or up under Hwy 62 where the mainstem meets the lake. As the water warms up through the summer, the trout will be deeper.

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 encouraged to keep fish that have copepods while staying within the daily limit, since release simply allows the parasite to expand to other hosts.

Lost Creek Reservoir is 47 percent full and 1,817feet elevation, and 75 degree surface temperature. Water visibility is clear. Anglers can get the latest surface temperatures by calling the US Army Corps Lost Creek Lake and Applegate Reservoir projects information line at 1-800-472-2434.

ODFW monitoring in the lower Rogue River has shown Chinook movement the last two weeks. These fish should be starting to show in the Galice through Grants Pass area. Chinook fishing is open from Fishers Ferry downstream to Hog Creek through the month of September. Upstream of Fishers Ferry, all Chinook fishing is closed for the entire river.

As of Sept. 1, the fly-only season is also in effect upstream of Fishers Ferry. No bait or added weights or attachments can be on your line. Spin-casters can employ a bubble or similar floating device, and a fly; this can be a very effective set-up when fished with a good presentation. There are many BLM public access points to bank fish from Hog Creek to Graves Creek. This is often referred to the “Galice area.” You will have plenty of rafting traffic in this section of water this time of year.

Recent reports indicate that half-pounder steelhead are showing in the Robertson Bridge area all the way down to Galice and Graves Creek. These can be very fun to fish with spinners or early morning fly swinging. They are a great beginner fishery, readily hitting small spinners tipped with a nightcrawler. Wild half-pounders may not be kept.

Locally-owned and operated tackle stores in Grants Pass have excellent gear and very fresh bait that is specific to the Rogue and to your particular technique. Go check them out and offer them support during this time.

It is illegal to snag and keep a snagged fish, whether it’s wild or hatchery! Report violations to Oregon State Police by calling *OSP.

All Chinook fishing is closed from Fishers Ferry upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery. As of Sept. 1, the fly-only season is also in effect upstream of Fishers Ferry. No bait or added weights or attachments can be on your line. Spin-casters can employ a bubble or similar floating device, and a fly; this can be a very effective set-up when fished with a good presentation.

Trout anglers are especially encouraged to harvest adipose-fin clipped trout in the upper reach of river. Summer steelhead should be picking up throughout the upper Rogue. Black and black/purple flies have been the ticket for some local fly anglers. Copper johns and egg imitations will begin getting hot as fish start keying into spawning salmon. Anglers should be very aware of spawning spring Chinook and their gravel nests called redds. Please do your best to not disturb these fish and do not walk on gravel nests.

For week of Aug. 26, 56 new summer steelhead entered the hatchery, bringing the total to 761 fish for the year, down a bit from past years. 370 summer steehead were recycled back downstream near the Denman Wildlife area and Touvelle State Park. Some of these fish are tagged with colored and numbered tags in their backs. Anglers should call 541-826-8774 ext. 226 if they catch these fish.

If you plan on releasing the fish, leave the tag in it, but please try and get a 4 digit number on the tag (please don’t report the phone number!!). Participants will be entered into a raffle for donated prizes including gift cards to a local sporting goods store and even a box of hand tied flies.

There were 54 new spring Chinook last week, bringing the total to 1,593 fish for the year. The collection pond is typically sorted on Wednesdays, and new numbers are typically available to the public by Thursday or Friday.

A few anglers are picking up some salmon on the Smith River. Traditionally this a troll fishery, but there are some spots to throw spinners from the bank and some anglers use a bobber and egg setup. Some areas in the Smith are open for retention of trout so check the regulations before going out. Smallmouth fishing should be good below the falls.

The Smith sees only light pressure for most of the season and can provide a great experience for anglers looking to get away from the crowds.

Umpqua Hike-In Lakes – Even the high lakes will be warm this weekend, but they might be better than the valley waters. When the water warms, fishing usually slows at the hike-in lakes.

Lakes typically accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked in the last couple years are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Pitt, Wolfe and Skookum lakes.

Clearwater Forebay Two can be a great place to fish as well with brook trout and rainbow available.

Red Top Pond was recently stocked with trophy trout and offers excellent bank fishing opportunities. There are also bass and other warmwater fish available.