This weekend (Feb. 17 & 18) is a Free Fishing Weekend. You won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. But remember, all other regulations and area closures still apply.
Winds and waves cooperated this last weekend allowing some anglers to get out onto the ocean; limits of lingcod were reported to be easy to catch, with rockfish limits a bit harder to come by.
When weather and ocean conditions have allowed anglers to get out on the ocean, fishing has been good out of most ports. For larger lingcod, try fishing closer to shore instead of offshore, as a somewhat larger average size has been reported. The rockfish bite has been very slow out of Newport this past week, as per angler reports.
In the flatfish fishery, creels typically include sanddabs, sand sole and Petrale sole. Creels from the Offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes.
Fish Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, tiger trout and Chinook salmon. Brook trout also are available. Fish Lake is currently ice-free but that could change depending on the weather. Reports from the lake indicate rainbow in the 14-inch range are being caught. Anglers have had good success in boats casting flies and lures like little cleos in to shore and retrieving back to the boat. The lake is currently 72 percent full. Anglers should be aware that a snow park permit is needed to use the USFS lot at the boat ramp in winter. The resort will be open Fridays through Sundays during the winter.
COOS RIVER BASIN
Streams and rivers are now closed to trout fishing until May 22, 2018.
The West Fork Millicoma River is low and clear making steelhead fishing difficult. Steelhead will be holding in upper tidewater, the deepest pools, or in fast moving riffles. The East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers are also low and clear. Steelhead anglers are having success fishing eggs or yarn balls along the bottom or by fishing a jig suspended below a bobber.
Anglers fishing the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a permit from Weyerhaeuser, which allows the angler access up to the Seven Mile Bridge. Permits can be obtained at Weyerhaeuser’s Coos Bay office. In the Coos Basin, 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult hatchery fish harvested daily.
Recreational fishing for bottomfish is opened on Jan. 1 in the ocean along with bays and estuaries. The daily bag limit will be 5 marine fish plus 2 lingcod. There will be no retention of cabezon until July 1. Anglers have reported catching rockfish near the north jetty of Coos Bay. Surf perch fishing from Coos County beaches has been successful when surf conditions allow.
Lake Selmac will be stocked this week with 5,000 legal-size rainbow trout complimenting the legal-sized, large rainbows and fingerlings stocked last fall. Road closures are still in effect due to work on the spillway for the dam, but a detour reportedly remains available to the Mallard Loop area of the lake. Boat anglers are reminded to clean weeds off boats before leaving the lake.
The middle Rogue is a little low and fishing for winter steelhead has been fair. Holdover half-pounders are present and are biting aggressively. Yarn balls, plugs and fly-fishing all work well throughout the middle river. The river is also open for trout fishing. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.
On the lower Rogue, there is a small amount of rain in the forecast this week, but it likely won’t be enough to alter river conditions. A few winter steelhead are being picked up by anglers plunking Spin-n-Glos. Boat anglers are starting to catch more steelhead. Most fish are being caught while boats are anchored up and running plugs waiting for steelhead to move up river. Boat anglers side drifting eggs in the Agness area are also picking up a some fish.
Winter steelhead are available in the upper Rogue but it will take some time for large numbers of fish to arrive. Trout are also available. Only hatchery rainbow trout can be kept, while all cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout must be released unharmed.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM
With the rest of the basin still running low, the main has been the section of choice. Anglers are picking up decent numbers of fish and with the forecasted amount of rain, fish should be enticed to bite.
Chinook has reopened on the Main, however fishing usually doesn’t pick up until March.
There have been reports of large groups of juvenile steelhead moving through the basin. Please remember to release these fish quickly and unharmed. Trout fishing in the mainstem Umpqua tributaries will reopen May 22, 2018 and is catch-and-release only.
UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH
Most anglers have been focusing on the lower North as the river is quite low. Chinook fishing opened on the North up to Deadline Falls. Springer fishing doesn’t usually pick up until March.
Check with the US Forest Service regarding potential trail closures on the North Umpqua. Most access points are open, but some trails remain closed after this summer’s fire. The North Umpqua is closed to Chinook fishing till February. Trout fishing in North Umpqua and its tributaries is closed until May 22, 2018.
Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30 fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless artificial fly.
UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH
Anglers are having lots of success throughout the South, but have recently been limited to the lower portion of the South due to low flows. Fishing should be good with a little bit of rain in the forecast. There also seems to be good numbers of hatchery fish.