FISHING INFORMATION ROUNDUP
There have been a number of regulation changes in the rivers over on the South Coast that you need to be aware of. That includes a total closure. You will see the full list here.
COOS RIVER BASIN, FLORAS CREEK/NEW RIVER, SIXES RIVERS
COQUILLE RIVER BASIN
HUNTER CREEK, PISTOL RIVER
October 1 through December 31 Closed to angling for the period
CONDITIONS LAST UPDATED 11 / 28 / 2020
LAKE REPORTS - PRESENTED BY:
AGATE LAKE: trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegills, perch, bullhead catfish
Agate Lake has been rising with the recent rains and is now at 14 percent capacity. The boat ramp and day use facilities here are open and managed by Jackson County Parks. Expect some muddy water here while the rains keep up. There is a 10 mph speed limit on this reservoir..
APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: trout, spring chinook, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie
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The reservoir is 6 percent full. Launching at French Gulch is not advised right now, according to recent reports. The unimproved boat ramp is nothing but mud and with the extremely low reservoir levels, this will not change until some substantial rain brings it up. Don’t expect a crowd (or anyone to pull you out), but there are fish to be caught as 15,000 legals were stocked in July. There has been very little fishing pressure here since the boat ramps went dry.
DIAMOND LAKE: rainbow trout, tiger trout, brown trout
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DO NOT EVER USE LIVE BAIT IN DIAMOND LAKE!! IT IS AGAINST THE LAW AND IT DOES NOT WORK ANY WAY. IF YOU SEE PEOPLE USING LIVE BAIT IN DIAMOND LAKE, REPORT THEM IMMEDIATELY.
First, the lake is not icing up yet. That means open water. The latest reports have folks still catching a few at Diamond. Cold weather usually means light bites. Anglers who venture out might have a chance at the 8,000 legal rainbows added recently. Diamond Lake has been stocked with tiger and brown trout. These fish are intended to assist in controlling illegally introduced tui chub. These trout are catch-and-release only and need to be released immediately and unharmed if caught.
Make sure to contact Diamond Lake Lodge for up-to-date conditions. Anglers can check conditions on the Diamond Lake Resort Facebook page, or call 541-793-3333 for updates. Diamond Lake is open year-round.
EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, perch, catfish
Fishing should be good on Emigrant if you can drag a kayak out here. It is ridiculously low. The reservoir is still 2 percent full. Expect muddy banks with the recent weather and likely some turbid water. Bank fishing is all that is accessible.
EXPO PONDS: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead catfish, carp
There’s good bank fishing here. Day use permits are required. Bass fishing should still be fair to good, and trout are available both in the middle Pond, and the pond at the Expo Amphitheatre. PowerBait and worms work here. If you have access to personal watercraft, trout fishing can be best along the steep, blackberry-laden bank. This area is tough to access from the bank.
The Southern Oregon RV Park developed by Jackson County offers parking in the lot to the right as you drive in Gate 5. A day use fee to park here is $4. An annual parking permit can be purchased from Jackson County Parks Department for $30. That parking permit is good for all Jackson County Parks. The Expo Ponds have plenty of good bank access, and anglers can catch many of the species present by fishing night crawlers below a bobber. This makes the ponds a great place to take kids fishing.
FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, tiger trout, spring chinook
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SNOW PARK PERMITS REQUIRED THROUGH APRIL 30TH FOR PARKING AT THE USFS BOAT LAUNCH AREA. IT IS A DESIGNATED SNOW PARK FOR WINTER RECREATION. THIS IS THE ONLY LAKE IN OREGON WHERE THIS HAPPENS
Fish Lake Marina and store is currently closed for park maintenance. Cabins will reopen after Nov 23. The store will reopen once snow is on the ground. The lake is 26 percent full and rising slowly. The reservoir has been rising with springs input. The boat ramp at the marina is again usable for drift boats that can be pushed off a trailer, but the marina is closed. Smaller boats should be able to launch now as well. Kayaks and pontoons will have no problems.
Fish Lake was stocked with trophy trout in early October, and fall fingerling tiger trout.
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.
FOURMILE LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout, kokanee, brook trout
Heavy snow has been falling. Access to the lake in vehicles may not be possible. But, as long as you can reach it on snowmobiles, it is open year round. Once frozen over, you can ice fish here. You need to be extremely careful when venturing out on ice here. Be sure it is safe to do so.
GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, coho smolts
No recent reports from Galesville. The reservoir is starting to fill again which might get the fish moving. 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.
HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: trout, bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegills
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The emergency regulations for Howard Prairie are no longer in effect, and have returned to zone regulations as of Oct. 1. The reservoir is still extremely low and no boat ramps are currently accessible. ODFW staff recently added gravel to the unimproved ramp near the dam. It still may be difficult to launch in the near term, but should become more useful as Howard Prairie fills. The recent rains brought it up 3-4 inches. You may be able to push a drift boat off its trailer at this site, or kayaks and small personal watercraft. Expect some snow along the road and possibly the banks. The reservoir is hovering at 7 percent full. This is the lowest that any current ODFW staff can remember seeing it.
HYATT LAKE: trout, largemouth bass
The reservoir is 5 percent full. The deepest portion of Howard is over near the dam, which would be your best bet for trout or bass, fished as deep as you can get. The Mountain View boat ramp and all campgrounds are closed and inaccessible. The ramp by the dam is pretty much limited to personal water craft as well. Bank access is readily available. If you can get a personal water craft onto Hyatt, fishing can be very good this time of year, but the cold weather may turn fish off for a bit. Still may be worth a try. Expect snow off the main road.
LAKE OF THE WOODS: rainbow trout, kokanee, brown trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie
Lake of the Woods remains ice-free. Open all year. Water temperatures are approaching freezing. Lake of the Woods was stocked a month ago with monstrous trophy trout averaging four pounds. Fishing will be slow for these trout. Fishing will be slow for many of the warmwater species in the lake. Fishing for yellow perch is probably your best bet. Fishing for largemouth bass along the shoreline docks, large wood and lily pads can be productive. Smallmouth bass are more common west of the Lodge near the rocky areas of the lake. The lake is dominated by stunted yellow perch. Very small bait and hooks will catch these fish. You can also visit their website to observe current conditions at the lake. Click on the left side video link for a live video of current conditions on the lake at the Lodge.
LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, bullheads
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Trout should still be available at Selmac, and with the cooler temperatures should be more apt to bite. A simple setup of a nightcrawler under a bobber or PowerBait from the bottom should work for trout. Trolling can be very good out here this time of the year. Selmac did just receive an additional 5,000 fall fingerling trout that should over winter nicely and be ready for anglers in the spring.
Lake Selmac facilities operated by Josephine County Parks are currently open.
LEMOLO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee
From recent reports it sounds like both the resort and the campgrounds are all closed for the season. Accessing the reservoir might tough, as well, due to winter conditions. Fishing is likely slow, but some fish should be in the upper portions of the reservoir. Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of 5 per day, with only one of those measuring over 20 inches. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information. You may need to leave a message.
LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, spring chinook, bass, bullheads
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Lost Creek will be the main focus for lake anglers through the rest of the fall and winter as many of the higher lakes become inaccessible due to snow or still low water levels. The Takelma ramp is open and usable.
Lost Creek Reservoir was recently stocked with legal and trophy trout in late September and early October. Trolling a wedding ring tipped with a nightcrawler and sliding egg sinker above your wedding ring leader is a very effective setup here. Also, don’t be afraid to row if you have a small boat to change up the presentation. PowerBait fished from the shore near the dam and boat ramp tend to do well also.
The boat ramp at Lost Creek Marina and Joseph Steward Park had already become unusable due to the dropping elevation of Lost Creek Lake. For more information, please visit the Lost Creek Lake Facebook page or the Oregon State Parks website.
Lost Creek Reservoir is about 35 percent full and 1,800.9 feet elevation, and surface temperatures have dropped significantly. Water visibility may be a bit dirty from the first rains.
MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill
Medco recently received 15,000 fall fingerling trout that should overwinter and be catchable size by the spring. If you are going to fish here, be aware that these youngsters will be aggressive feeders. Be ready to release them as quickly and gently as you can.
Medco Pond is not Forest Service or BLM land. The owner has said it will remain open to public access as long as people treat it respectfully and not trash it. And as long as there is public access, ODF&W will keep stocking it. There is a caretaker on site. They are putting out garbage bags for you to put your trash in, and even providing some chairs for sitting in while fishing. Now, all of this said, the owner of Medco Pond has restricted access to it to just along the roads. The campgrounds and access to the pond from them has been closed due to vandalism and illegal dumping. Total closure is the next step. Please call 911 and report anybody you see committing vandalism or illegally dumping. Not just here...but on all lands. .
REINHART POND: rainbow trout, warm water fish
Reinhart Park Pond has been very slow. Fishing pressure has not been very high. I expect that will continue to be the case until stocking resumes in early 2021.
WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegills, brown bullhead, perch
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Willow Lake is currently 55 percent full. No trout have been recently stocked, but there should be fish around. Fall changing colors and cooling temps should provide for an enjoyable lake fishing experience. There are healthy numbers of illegally introduced yellow perch up here and anglers are always encouraged to take as many of these as they want. Today and tomorrow should be relatively nice up here, with another bit of weather coming in on Sunday. However, it may be rain at the lake with snow levels expected to be above 4000 feet. Allcampgrounds at Willow Lake are currently closed for the season, but boat ramps and day use are open. Facilities at Willow Lake are managed by Jackson County. For more information please visit their website.
RIVER REPORTS AS OF 11 / 28 / 2020
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To find out more about conservation, management and outreach efforts on the Rogue River, check out the Rogue River page on the ODFW Web site.
ALWAYS consult the fishing regulations before fishing rivers and streams in Southern Oregon. You can get to the regulations by clicking here.
Rogue River, lower: salmon, steelhead, trout
The flows are at 2,030 cfs this morning at Agness. Anglers can expect a few winter steelhead to start showing up in the lower river. One of the best methods to catch a steelhead is plunking a spin-n-glo from the bank.
For a current view of the Rogue from the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge in Gold Beach, check out the ODOT’s camera.
Five hatchery trout may be retained daily. Wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be released. Rainbow trout over 16-inches are considered steelhead.
Rogue River, middle: steelhead, chinook salmon, trout
At Grants Pass we have a flow of 1,400 cfs. The temp is 42 degrees.
Chinook fishing above Hog Creek closed on Sept. 30.
As of Nov. 1, the artificial fly and lure season is in effect from Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove boat ramp through the end of the year. Bait is allowed in the remainder of the Rogue.
Most guides are focusing on summer steelhead. The river has a bit of color and water levels are falling after rain over the weekend and early week. There may be a small bump in flow still but it should be mostly dropping through the weekend. Summer steelhead should still be in the Grants Pass area as will coho. But you better get to the coho quickly before they dart up larger tributaries such as Evans Creek. Twitching jigs can be very effective for coho. Only hatchery coho can be retained.
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.
Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout
The flow from the Lost Creek Dam is at 1,117 cfs. The flow at Dodge Bridge is at 1,270 cfs.
1,222 summer steelhead, and 238 coho salmon have returned to the Cole Rivers Hatchery through Nov. 24th. Dismal numbers for both species.
All Chinook fishing is closed from Fishers Ferry upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Anglers should be avoiding areas of congregating and spawning Chinook salmon, and avoid casting at them. They are not good eating, let them spawn! Also, please be aware of their gravel nests (redds) and do not step on these.
Around the confluence of Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek, expect to see the most color due to the first run-off of the season from the fire footprints in the area.
As of Nov. 1, anglers can again use bait, but only above the Shady Cove Boat Ramp. Downstream from Shady Cove to Fishers Ferry boat ramp, only artificial flies and lures are allowed from Nov 1 through Dec 31. Soft beads and plastic worms are considered bait.
All boat ramps are open.
Trout anglers are especially encouraged to harvest adipose-fin clipped trout in the upper reach of river. Summer steelhead should continue through at least November in 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.
The Holy Water is open. As always it is fly fishing only with traditional fly rods. No spinning rods with bubbles. Fishing is now in the winter doldrums here. If you are going to be fishing it, using nymph and leech patterns will produce the best results. .
ROGUE RIVER ABOVE LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout
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The Rogue River and feeder creeks like Mill Creek, National Creek, and Union Creek are stocked weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day with 3000 legal sized rainbows of 8 - 10 inches in size. Stocking points are at campgrounds, and access points along Highway 62, Highway 230, and Forest Service roads in the area. You will also encounter larger sized hold overs going to 20 inches in the creeks. The deep pools of the Upper Rogue holds rainbows that can get up to 5 pounds. We see a couple of those caught every year up here. In 2017 a brown trout that was nearly 24 inches long and weighing about 4 pounds was caught at the mouth of Union Creek where it enters the Rogue. That fish was released after the angler that caught it posed for pictures with it. That is the largest brown to be caught in the upper Rogue in years. But, it is proof they are in there.
In addition to the stocked trout, the river and its tributaries also support naturally produced rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and brown trout ALL trout caught with adipose fins must be released unharmed. The best thing to use up here is without question nightcrawlers. Next would be using a single salmon egg like a Pautzke egg on a treble hook. Fly fishing can be done along Highway 230 where there is enough separation of the foliage and trees to allow for fly casting. With cold water, you’ll want to swing your lure right in front of fish, so work through a hole a bit more slowly. Anglers can cast flies or smaller lures like a Panther Martin or rooster tail. Often tipping the lure with bait helps to produce. In slower holes, fishing straight bait such as night crawler or Pautzke eggs, even Power Bait will produce. With the cold conditions of winter setting in, look for best results on sunny days when the water gets warmed some.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, sturgeon, chinook, bass, striped bass, shad, trout
As of this morning the height of the river is at 5.11 feet and the flow is 4,0900 cfs at Elkton. Very lousy height and flow for good fishing. Typically the height needs to be around 8 to 9 feet with a flow in the 7,000 to 8,000 cfs range
We are on the tail end of the Chinook season in the Umpqua. With increased flows salmon should be on the move. Check restrictions for 2020 fall Chinook before going out. The Umpqua is restricted to one unclipped Chinook per day and five per year. Coho should also be in the river, but only fin-clipped fish are allowed to be retained.
Bass fishing is likely going to slow with more water moving through.
Trout fishing is closed until the opener in May.
UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead, trout, smallmouth bass
CLOSED - The entire South Umpqua and tributaries closed after Sept. 15 as part of the annual closure to protect salmon.
UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, spring chinook, trout
As of this morning the height of the river is at 3.27 feet and the flow is 2,230 cfs at Winchester's gauge. Low height, slow flow = tough fishing.
Access to the North Umpqua is limited with the closure of areas in the Umpqua National Forest and on private lands around the fire. No recent fishing reports.
There might still be a few summer steelhead around, but most should be moving toward spawning grounds.
Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout (those above Slide Creek Dam). These areas may be tough to access during the winter month. Check the fishing regulations to see which areas are open.
Note that as of Oct 1, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless, artificial fly.
CHETCO RIVER: Sea run cuttthroat trout, rainbow trout, chinook salmon, steelhead
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Chinook are scattered throughout the river and anglers are enjoying excellent river conditions.
Temporary regulations, except the low water closure (see below) are still in effect. Anglers are entering into the second year of a restrictive in-river Chinook fishery as the river’s chinook population re builds from some tough ocean conditions. Good numbers of younger age chinook will be returning which bodes well for the future, but larger, older age Chinook are still below conservation status.
Anglers will want to take note of temporary regulations (see Regulation Update section above) before heading out. The big change this year is that anglers can no longer fish once they have retained a single adult hatchery or wild Chinook. Anglers can still keep 5 hatchery or wild Chinook jacks a day.
The low flow water closure on the Chetco was lifted on Nov. 17.
ELK / SIXES RIVERS: Sea run cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, steelhead
New Chinook regulations for 2020. Wild Chinook harvest is permitted May 22– Dec. 31. Please see the 2020 fishing regulation book for more details. T
Very good. Anglers have been enjoying excellent river conditions for Chinook and doing very well. The best fishing has been for drift boat anglers floating from Elk River Hatchery to Ironhead boat ramp.
Anglers will want to check temporary regulations in effect for Chinook this year for the Elk. The big change this year is anglers are only allowed to keep hatchery adult Chinook along with their jack limit. ODFW is expecting an above average return of hatchery Chinook.
APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, steelhead
Remember, the Applegate River is closed to Chinook fishing and retention. If you see someone fishing for Chinook, trying to snag, or otherwise actively poaching Chinook salmon, please call *OSP to reach local dispatch to report to the local game trooper on duty.
Chinook salmon are actively spawning in the Applegate River through about mid-November, and anglers should be very aware of not stepping on gravel nests or disturbing spawning fish.
The tributaries above Applegate Lake are again accessible as many of the fire closures implemented within the Siskiyou Ranger District have been lifted. There are still closed off areas however, and it is illegal to enter a closed road or trail. More information can be found on their website or by calling the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest 541-618-2200.
Applegate River below Applegate Dam is currently open for trout fishing, and bait is allowed. Only adipose fin-clipped (hatchery) trout may be kept, all wild rainbow and cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.
Anglers should do their part to harvest and remove non-local pikeminnow they encounter on the Applegate River. All tributaries are closed below Applegate Dam, except Glade Creek.
River flow at Wilderville is 222 cfs. Flow from the dam is 150 cfs.
ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead
The Illinois River is still closed to all fishing from 8 Dollar Mountain Road Bridge crossing the Illinois River outside of Kerby, upstream to Pomeroy Dam near Cave Junction through Nov. 30, 2020. Both the East and West Forks are normally closed as permanent regulations in the SW Zone.
This closure is to protect returning fall Chinook salmon in the upper Illinois River. Lower streamflow prevalent in the last few years is making fall Chinook more susceptible to snagging, and drought conditions are again prevalent in Southwest Oregon this year. Additionally, a low fall Chinook return to the Illinois River is anticipated.
Check USFS Wild Rivers Ranger District for updates on additional forest access closures on their website
Check the USGS Kerby guage which provides up to date river flow information.
WINCHUCK RIVER: Sea run Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, steelhead
River conditions should be excellent for fall chinook fishing. Anglers will want to take note of temporary regulations before heading out. The big change this year is that anglers can no longer angle once they have retained a single adult hatchery or wild Chinook. Anglers can still keep 5 hatchery or wild Chinook jacks a day.
The low water closure on the Winchuck was lifted on Nov. 17. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited.
SOUTHERN OREGON COASTAL REPORTS -
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The Winter Seasonal Ocean Conditions have begun. You can now expect at least small craft conditions that will limit fishing opportunties on the ocean. You are encouraged to be checking weather forecasts before heading to the coast for ocean fishing.
What is going to be far more likely to result is opportunities strictly limited to the near shore waters, (less than 3 miles out), and in the estuaries. The reports now will focus on those areas.
As of Oct. 7, nonresidents can harvest clams, crabs and other shellfish along the entire Oregon Coast in areas that are open to harvest.
Gale storms closed down ocean angling all along the coast except for the Banana Belt of Brookings, Oregon with a couple of days for bottomfish that consisted of bag limits of black rockfish and a few canary and vermilion rockfish as well. Very little lingcod are being caught with maybe one as a bonus catch.
The longleader fishery
With winter weather starting to arrive, the longleader fishing is also slowing down, however, now would be a good time to learn more about this fishery so you’re prepared for next year.
Longleader fishing gives anglers a different opportunity to catch more bottomfish and helps spread out the boats so that there is not a concentration in one area. In a longleader trip, an angler can catch up to ten rockfish of certain species.
Longleader gear: How to rig up for the offshore longleader fishery and FAQs
While you’re waiting out the storms, here are a few ways to help study rockfish identification.
Try the bottomfish species ID quiz and work on your identification skills for commonly caught bottomfish. Also try the “Yelloweye Rockfish or Not?” quiz to help hone your ID skills for the prohibited yelloweye rockfish.
Surfperch are available in the surf year-round along sandy beaches and rocky shore, with the best fishing (and safest fishing) occurring when swells are small. Learn about ocean surfperch fishing.
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 issue.
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, recreational crabbers will need to mark all floating surface buoys with the owner’s full name or business name and at least one of the following: phone number, permanent address, ODFW Angler ID number, or vessel identification number. Mark your information in a clear, legible, and permanent manner. While this rule does not apply to gear tied to docks, piers, jetties, or beaches, we recommend marking buoys on any gear that could become derelict or lost. Find more information here.