SW Oregon Fishing Reports for March 30th, 2018

From ODF&W

Bottom Fishing

Reports over the last couple of weeks indicate that the lingcod are on the bite and most anglers are able to get their limits pretty easily, with reports of some larger fish being caught relatively shallow. Rockfish fishing has been a lot more hit and miss with anglers spending more time to catch close to their limit. Other species showing up on bottomfish trips include kelp greenling, with some petrale sole mixed in.

Anglers continue to do well on on the Chetco for steelhead as late season river flows have been near perfect. This is the last week for anglers to chase steelhead before the river closes April 1.

With just enough rain to keep the Elk River in perfect condition, anglers have been doing well on steelhead. Drift fishing is still the best method, but running plugs can be very effective this time of year. To check river current conditions, call 541-332-0405. The best river height to drift the river is 5.2 feet and dropping. The river closes April 1 until trout season.

2018 Stocking Schedule is located here: https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/trout/stocking-schedule

Applegate Reservoir is stocked with trout each spring.

The reservoir has begun refilling and water levels are above Copper boat ramp and it is operational at this time. Fishing has been good for larger trout trolling and bank anglers have done well near 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.

Bradley Lake was stocked last week with 200 trophy trout. The lake was also stocked with legal-size rainbow trout earlier this month. Bank anglers are catching trout right from the new dock at the boat ramp while boat anglers are catching trout by trolling a spinner or wedding ring tipped with a worm.

No bank fishing without permission from land owners, but an ODFW boat ramp allows anyone to fish from a boat. Anglers can also fish from the new dock at the boat ramp. Located about three miles south of Bandon and is one mile west of Hwy 101.

Trophy trout were stocked last week in both Upper and Lower Empire lakes. Bank anglers have been catching trout fishing PowerBait near the bottom while anglers in small boats/kayaks are doing very well trolling spinners in the middle of the lakes.

Excess hatchery steelhead were released into Upper and Lower Empire Lakes the last few weeks. Fishing regulations for these stocked steelhead in Empire Lakes are just like the trout regulations. Anglers can keep 1 fish over 20-inches per day and need only a fishing license.

A paved trail encircling the lakes allows easy access bank fishing. Located in the City of Coos Bay’s John Topits Park, near the community college.

Lower Rogue River conditions have been almost perfect and many steelhead are still being picked up. Spring Chinook continues to be spotty, but as flows drop and warm anglers can expect some good fishing in the next few weeks.

Fishing has been good through the middle Rogue section with reports of fish being caught from Gold Hill to Galice. March into early April is typically peak migration through the middle Rogue for winter Steelhead. 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 2,650 cfs, the water temperature was 48oF, and the clarity was 7 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.

Winter steelhead are available in the upper Rogue and fishing was good over the weekend with spotty but continued reports of winter fish being caught. Updated fish counts at Cole Rivers Hatchery can be viewed here.

Trout are also available. Only hatchery rainbow trout can be kept, while all cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout must be released unharmed.

The river discharge from Lost Creek Reservoir was 900 cfs and 42oF on Tuesday, March 20. For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434.

Trout anglers trolling spinners and wedding rings in the main part of the lake are still catching holdover hatchery rainbow trout in Tenmile Lakes. In the spring anglers on Tenmile Lakes will occasionally catch large wild coho smolts (sometimes up to 14-inches). These coho smolts need to be released alive immediately. Trout fishing is open all year in Tenmile Lakes.

Fishing for largemouth bass has been slow. Water temperatures are cold so anglers will need to slow down there presentations. Most bass will be found in deeper water near structure or weed edges.

Recent rains have brought the river levels back to around normal, anglers were catching a lot of fish in the Main and South Umpqua River, and it should still be good whenever conditions allow.

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

Some of the most popular bottomfishing spots will close at the end of this month when the 30 fathom closure takes effect. As of April 1st, conventional bottomfishing in Oregon marine waters deeper than 30 fathoms will be closed for six months – or until October 1st. Bottomfishing in waters less than 180 feet deep will still be legal, as will the jetties and April is one of the very best months for decent-sized lingcod off of Oregon’s jetties.

Bottomfish anglers can still use 30-foot long leader setups after April 1st to fish for mid-depth bottomfish offshore. Check the ODFW website for additional info on legal rigging and fish species that may be retained. Lingcod and greenling are not legal catches, but canary rockfish are. Once again, check the ODFW website for more complete information.

Fishing for chinook salmon in the ocean, open since March 15th, has been very slow with very little fishing pressure. Several spring chinook were caught last week above Scottsburg. Most of the early season springer fishing takes place between Scottsburg and Elkton, but there are almost certainly a few fish as far upriver as Riverforks Park in Roseburg.

According to Jim Carey, of the Rogue Outdoor Store in Gold Beach, the Rogue produced three springers three weeks ago, but since then, the catches have been sporadic with nothing much over 20 pounds yet landed. Hopefully, the best springer fishing is yet to come – on both the Umpqua and the Rogue.

Surfperch fishing has been fair, but inconsistent, during the recent stormy weather. It’s striped surfperch off the jetties and redtailed and walleyed surfperch off the sandy beaches. Sand shrimp, when available, is a popular bait, but this year many anglers have switched to using pieces of Berkley Gulp sandworms with camo being the most popular color choice.

Although the spring striped bass run on the Sacramento River has just started, It should be at least a month before the same thing happens on Oregon’s Smith and Coquille rivers – hopefully there will be enough fish involved for anglers to actually notice.

Crabbing has been very slow, but there were a few good catches made last week at Half Moon Bay at Winchester Bay and near Charleston in Coos Bay. Stormy, wet weather this week definitely will not allow for any improvement in crabbing success. On a more positive note, the old Coast Guard Pier has been repaired and is open for crabbing, although additional work on the far end of the pier is planned once the materials arrive.

Steelhead fishing on Tenmile Creek in the Spin Reel Park area was much improved last week for fin clipped fish.

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.