From ODF&W, Weekend fishing opportunities:
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.
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.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.
Vessels fishing for or retaining bottomfish (including flatfish) species are required (1) to have onboard a functioning rockfish descending device, and (2) use it to descend any rockfish released when fishing outside of the 30-fathom regulatory line.
The Applegate River is open for winter steelhead fishing. However, only hatchery steelhead may be retained. See 2018 sport fishing regulations for more information. The Applegate is in perfect shape and the winter steelhead fishing has been good. A lot of the fish being caught are wild fish and must be released unharmed. Fishing has been best from Murphy downstream but fish have been caught upstream of Murphy. Cleos, pink rubber worms and fly angling all work well on the Applegate.
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.
The middle Rogue is in good shape and fishing for winter steelhead has been good. 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.
As of Tuesday morning, the flow in Grants Pass was 1900 cfs, the water temperature was 45.5 oF, and the clarity was 1 NTUs. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on river conditions at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.
The West Fork Millicoma River is low and clear making steelhead fishing difficult. Steelhead will be holding in the deepest pools or in fast moving riffles. The East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers have been fishing well over the weekend. 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 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.
There were a lot of anglers fishing the North Fork Coquille at LaVerne Park last week. Steelhad are being caught on yarn balls, eggs, and even spinners. The water levels on the North Fork are now low and clear. There were lots of steelhead anglers on the South Fork Coquille last week and over the weekend. The river levels have dropped and fishing will be best in deep pools and on the lower end of the river. In the Coquille Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.
Beginning Jan. 1, anglers will have the opportunity to harvest 1 wild steelhead per day, 3 for the season from the East Fork Coquille River. The open area for steelhead fishing in the East Fork remains the same as in past years.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead
The river is forecast to drop and with warm temperatures moving in, fishing should be good
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: steelhead
Steelhead are being caught throughout the river. The river is forecast to drop and with warm temperatures moving in, fishing should be good. 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: steelhead
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.
Lost Creek Reservoir is a winter trout fishing hot spot in the Rogue Valley, with the vast majority of water users being anglers this time of year. Many more large trout are being stocked in Lost Creek than in past years as a result of data from recent trout tagging studies.
Boat anglers in winter can have success trolling along the dam, around the exposed island near the Takelma boat ramp, and shallower areas of the main reservoir. Trolling a green wedding ring through the Lost Creek arm reportedly worked well over the weekend and boat anglers fishing PowerBait have caught 10- 15 fish in a couple hours. Bank anglers have good success on either side of the dam, but are reminded to not block access to the Takelma boat ramp.
Both the Takelma boat ramp and Marina boat ramps are available. The reservoir surface temperature is 42F. For the most current Lost Creek Reservoir information, call 1-800-472-2434.
From our friend Pete Heley: at www.PeteHeley.com
According to Bryan Gill, of “The Umpqua Angler”, fishing on “Tenmile Reef” out of Winchester Bay continues to be very, very good for lingcod of large average size with exceptional fish taken on almost every trip.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce the closure of razor clamming from the south jetty of the Umpqua River, at Winchester Bay, to the south jetty of Coos Bay due to elevated levels of the marine toxin domoic acid. As a result, the recreational harvesting of razor clams is closed from Cascade Head, north of Lincoln City, to the California border.
Razor clamming remains open from the Columbia River to Cascade Head.
It’s free to fish, crab or clam on the Saturday and Sunday of President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 17-18, so take a friend!