SW Oregon Fishing Reports for February 2nd, 2018

From ODF&W, Weekend fishing opportunities:

Prior to recent storms, anglers were reporting fair surfperch fishing from southern Oregon beaches and good surfperch fishing in the Triangle and south jetty areas of Winchester Bay.

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.

In the flatfish fishery, creels typically include sanddabs, sand sole, and Petrale sole. Creels from the Offshore Midwater Fishery (i.e., long-leader trips) often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes.

The 2018 Oregon recreational fisheries allocation will be approximately 10 percent lower than in 2017. Based on input received from anglers, staff recommended seasons will be available mid-February.

When fishing from shore or inside estuaries and bays, it is important to check the tide. Many fish that swim into estuaries and bays, including salmon, surfperch, and Pacific herring, tend to come in with the tide. Catch of these species is more likely to occur closer to slack tide. Additionally, the accessibility of some areas can be completely dependent on the tide. Do not allow the incoming tide to become a safety hazard.

After the rain last week, the Applegate and Illinois rivers are in prime shape for winter steelhead fishing.

Lost Creek Reservoir is a winter trout fishing hot spot in the Rogue Valley.

Winter steelhead fishing should be good throughout the Umpqua this weekend.

Anglers have been catching trout up to 19-inches while trolling in Tenmile Lakes.

Ocean fishing for bottom fish has been great when conditions allow.

Applegate Reservoir has been stocked with rainbow trout and fishing should be good.

The reservoir is down to the flood control pool so the only boat access is the low water ramp at French Gulch. Slow trolling a wedding ring/worm combination, flashers or dodgers with bait, or wind-drifting worms should be effective. Trolling a lure like a flatfish or casting flies may work as well. Bank fishing can be difficult at Applegate due to the steep shoreline, but the upper end should have some access and there has been recent success by bank anglers at the creek mouths. The surface temperature in the reservoir is 41F.

Chetco River steelhead fishing has been fair. Rain is expected by the weekend which should improve fishing conditions. Plunking will be good as flows drop and the river clears.

The West Fork Millicoma was fishing well earlier this week but because the water clears quickly anglers will want to focus their efforts on the East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers later in the week. Steelhead anglers are having success fishing eggs or yarn balls along the bottom or by fishing a jig suspended below a bobber.

Galesville should have good numbers of trout from previous stockings. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015. Anglers have reported recent catches of coho measuring up to 14-inches. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The coho smolts should be adipose fin-clipped, and please remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long.

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.

Fishing for bass and other panfish should be decent. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

The Illinois is in prime shape and fish should be spread throughout the system. Only hatchery trout may be retained. Wild steelhead over 24-inches may be harvested, 1 per day and 5 per year. See 2018 fishing regulations for more information.

Lower Rogue River – 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 some fish.

The middle Rogue is coming back into shape and fishing for winter steelhead should be improving. 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.

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 – The river is forecast to drop and with warm temperatures moving in, fishing should be good.

Chinook fishing closes in the main for January and reopens for spring Chinook in February.

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 – Steelhead are being caught throughout the river. The river is forecast to drop and with warm temperatures moving in, fishing should be good.

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH – The South Umpqua reopened on Dec. 1 to winter steelhead fishing. Anglers are having lots of success throughout the South. There also seems to be good numbers of hatchery fish. The river is forecast to drop and with warm temperatures moving in, fishing should be good.

From our friend Pete Heley: at www.PeteHeley.com

As you are reading this, I’m happy to point out that there is now one hour more daylight per day than there was on Dec. 21st of last year. Still not enough, but a reason for optimism.

The commercial crab season is now underway except for the coastal section south of Cape Blanco. A few commercial crabbers along the southern Oregon coast have opted to wait until the closed section reopens – at which time they will get a 30 day head start on commercial crabbers that are crabbing now.

As for recreational crabbing high muddy water has slowed, but not halted crabbing at Winchester Bay. Crabbing the lower end of Coos Bay near such Charleston-area landmarks as “the cribbs” and “Hungryman Cove” remains fairly productive.

This year’s first trout plants in our area will take place this coming week in the Florence area during the week beginning Feb. 5th – and most trout plants take place in the early part of the week. The lakes being planted include: Alder Lake (850 legals, 100 12-inchers and 36 15-inchers); Buck Lake (36 15-inchers); Carter Lake (750 12-inchers); Cleawx Lake (3,000 legals, 450 12-inchers and 150 15-inchers); Dunes Lake (850 legals and 36 15-inchers); Lost Lake (500 12-inchers); Munsel Lake (1,500 12-inchers and 150 15-inchers); Perkins Lake (36 15-inchers) and Siltcoos Lagoon (425 legals and 35 15-inchers).

Heavy rainfall last week raised and muddied most area streams. Exceptions were Tenmile and Eel creeks which never seem to get muddy and have been fishing well. Streams that were producing well before last week’s rains included the East and West forks of the Millicoma River and the North Fork of the Coquille River.

The hot yellow perch bite at the County Park on South Tenmile Lake less than two weeks ago seems to have disappeared and my theory is that they moved to, or closer to, their actual spawning sites. I really wish I knew where those sites were.

The fair largemouth bass angling at Tenmile Lakes dropped off with the onset of stormy weather, but should bounce back with slightly warmer, more stable weather. Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes should improve as well.

The first Umpqua River spring chinook probably won’t show up for three or four weeks, but in the meantime there is a very much overlooked fishery in the Wells Creek area for small to medium-sized brown bullhead catfish. The few anglers that take advantage of it use nightcrawlers and usually fish at night. Depending on river levels and water clarity, the Umpqua’s smallmouth bass fishery should be getting close to being worthwhile. The most productive early season spots are backwaters or coves that have their upper ends upriver of their mouths. These backwaters, because of their alignment, receive less inflow from the Umpqua River and can warm quickly on sunny days.

As for bullhead catfish, they typically seek the warmest water available and in the wintertime that is usually the deepest water. In deeper lakes there may be low oxygen levels near the bottom and the angler may have more difficulty getting a bait to the bottom. However, Oregon’s three largest coastal lakes are less than 25 feet deep and anglers fishing water around 20 feet deep should enjoy inconsistent, but occasionally very good fishing for bullhead catfish – especially at night. But it’s usually cold and miserable and hardly anybody does it.

Current fishing opportunities for those willing to travel include: Lake Chelan in central Washington for kokanee and mackinaw; Pyramid Lake in western Nevada for giant Lahanton cutthroat trout and the Columbia River for jumbo walleyes. Other options are such popular ice fishing spots as Diamond Lake in central Oregon and Phillips Reservoir in eastern Oregon. A closer, quite interesting winter option is Lookout Point Reservoir for landlocked chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and walleyes.

The ODFW will have placed a Halibut Survey on their website Monday afternoon, January 29th. They are looking for public input regarding this year’s Halibut Regulations. If you are concerned about the Halibut seasons, take the survey. ODFW will have a meeting in Newport on Tuesday, January 30th to get public input.

A man from Liberty Lake, Washington, was fined $8,293 in Pend Oreille County District Court yesterday in a plea bargain agreement for killing two wolves in Pend Oreille County in 2016.

Terry Leroy Fowler, 55, pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful taking of endangered wildlife, while a third count was dismissed under the agreement. Fowler will pay $8,000 in restitution for the two wolves to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and $293 in court costs. A 364-day jail sentence was suspended, but the 30 days under home electronic monitoring was not.

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