ODFW Southwest zone weekend fishing report

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Steelhead
    Steelhead
    -Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-
    Winter steelhead fishing continues to be good on the Coos and Coquille rivers.
  • Springers have started to arrive on the Umpqua.
  • Anglers continue to catch steelhead on middle Rogue, while more fish continue to move into the upper river.
  • Lingcod fishing has been excellent when anglers have been able to get out on the ocean.

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AGATE LAKE: trout, largemouth bass, black crappie

Agate Lake was stocked a month ago with legal and larger-sized rainbows. Also, legal and larger-sized rainbow trout that were stocked last fall are still available. Add to this its proximity to Medford and its low elevation, Agate Lake is a great destination for fishing during the winter. The reservoir level is now at 72 percent of capacity.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: trout, spring chinook, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Applegate Reservoir has been stocked with legal and larger-sized rainbows. These fish will be available and should provide good fishing throughout the winter. The Hart-tish boat ramp and facilities are closed, but the French Gulch low water ramp is open. While the French Gulch boat ramp is open, it is very muddy and may be difficult to use. A variety of techniques can produce trout at Applegate, including trolling lures, flies, or wedding ring and worm combinations, as well as fishing with bait. Recent reports indicate boat and bank anglers are catching rainbows in Applegate Reservoir.

APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, winter steelhead

The river is open for adipose fin-clipped trout. All non adipose fin-clipped (wild) rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. The Applegate is open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead as of Jan. 1. The Applegate continues to produce nice bright hatchery and wild steelhead. The storms this week are raising river levels and that should bring in good numbers of fresh fish. Keep an eye on the flow gauge. Since flow in the Applegate usually drops at a faster rate than it does in the Rogue, it often is fishable when the Rogue is high and out of shape. Angling from a floating device is not allowed on the Applegate River. Retention of non adipose fin-clipped (wild) steelhead is not allowed and fish must be released unharmed.

Applegate River flows at Wilderville  

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Arizona Pond was stocked last week with legal-sized rainbow trout. Bobber and worm, spinners, and flies all work well. The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks and is open only to youth 17 and under.  

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

The first stocking for 2012 was March 5 with 2,500 trout.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

Higher flows this week should make for some good steelhead fishing once the river drops. This time of year anglers can expect a mix of spawned out and fresh fish. Anglers should always check the flows before heading out and try to fish when river levels are dropping.

ODFW is conducting a steelhead angler creel on the Chetco this year. At times, these projects may interfere with an anglers fishing.  Please be courteous to all ODFW personnel and volunteers.

Chetco River flows near Brookings

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Fishing has been fair for trout lately despite the cold temperatures. Anglers using PowerBait caught some nice fish between 10 to 12-inches. As part of a kids event for the Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby, 500 trout were stocked in early February. The biggest ones weigh about a pound each. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Roseburg donated trout leftover from the Sportsman’s Show for stocking at Cooper Creek. The reservoir was stock last week and the next stocking will be the week of March 19 with 2,000 trout. Remember only trout 8 inches or larger can be retained.

COOS COUNTY LAKES: rainbow trout

Trout will be stocked this week in Butterfield Lake, Mingus Pond, and Empire Lakes.  Trout were stocked two weeks ago in Johnson Mill Pond, Powers Pond, Empire, Bradley, and Saunders lakes. Trout were biting smaller spinners, spoons, and bait like worms or Power Bait.

Trolling very slow with a wedding ring tipped with a worm can produce a few trout in Eel and Tenmile lakes. These lakes have not been stocked yet this spring but there are lots of cutthroat trout and holdover rainbow trout.  Rainbow trout over 20 inches are considered steelhead in Tenmile Lakes from Oct. 1 through April 30 and the entire year in Eel Lake.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, steelhead, bottom fish

Bright steelhead continue to move into the Coos Basin over the last week. Angling effort has declined but anglers are catching a mixture of new bright steelhead, dark steelhead almost ready to spawn, and spawned out steelhead. Drifting baits (like salmon eggs or sand shrimp) or fishing a jig under a bobber has been a productive way to catch steelhead. Fishing has been best near the acclimation sites but there are steelhead spread throughout the rivers. Anglers are catching a mixture of bright and darker colored steelhead throughout the Coos Basin. Anglers can call the Weyerhaeuser hotline at 888-741-5403 to see if the road along the South Coos River is open.

A few rockfish and lingcod are being caught near the jetties in Coos Bay. Fishing has been spotty and fish seem to bite for only a short time during the day. Using a jig with a twister tail has been a great bait for catching rockfish. Anglers have been catching lingcod with a herring floated under a bobber.

Razor Clam

Razor Clamming
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Finding legal Dungeness crabs is becoming a little tougher in Coos Bay. Boat crabbers in Coos Bay are still catching a few legal Dungeness crabs while dock crabbers have to work harder to take home a legal crab. The best place to crab is from near the Jetties up past the Empire Boat Ramp.

Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay. For more information on shellfish in Coos Bay click on the following link: Shellfish Assessment of Coastal Oregon. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN steelhead

Bright steelhead continue to move into the Coquille Basin. Steelhead fishing on the South Fork Coquille River continues to be very good for both boat and bank anglers. The best places to fish have been near the town of Powers and also below Beaver Creek. Drifting corkies or bait (salmon eggs or sand shrimp) has been the most effective for catching steelhead. Fishing a marabou jig under a bobber is also producing a few steelhead. The river has been crowded with boat and bank anglers so be courteous to other anglers.

A few bank anglers are still catching bright steelhead on the East Fork Coquille River upstream from Dora near China Creek and also at LaVerne Park on the North Fork Coquille. Drifting bait or fishing a jig under a bobber is producing a few nice steelhead.

DIAMOND LAKE: rainbow trout

Diamond Lake is closed to angling until the opener on April 28. Diamond Lake Resort will remain open for other winter activities. For additional information, contact Diamond Lake Resort at 1-800-733-7593.

ELK  RIVER:  steelhead

Steelhead fishing has been hit or miss depending on river conditions. Anglers have  been reporting a mix of fresh and spawned out fish. Most anglers drift from Elk River Hatchery down to Ironhead boat ramp. The best flows for drifting Elk River are 5 foot and dropping.

Check river conditions by calling 541-332-0405.

Anglers are reminded to check temporary regulations prior to fishing.

EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie

With stocked rainbow trout available, its low elevation, and its close proximity to Ashland, Emigrant Reservoir is a good destination for fishing during the winter.  Trolling slowly with lures or bait-lure combinations can be effective. Bank access is readily available and anglers there can do well still-fishing with bait. The water level at Emigrant is at 75 percent of capacity.

Anglers should be aware that a health advisory has been issued recommending limits on consumption of all fish from Emigrant except rainbow trout. Information on the Emigrant Reservoir advisory, along with general information on mercury and fish can be found on the DHS Website.

EXPO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill

Expo Pond is located at the Jackson County Fairgrounds immediately adjacent to the access road at Gate 5. The pond has been stocked with legal, larger, and trophy-sized rainbow trout and was stocked again last week. In addition, the north pond near Upton Road was also stocked with trophy trout. This should create an excellent opportunity throughout the winter for families to experience good trout fishing close to home.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring chinook

Fish Lake was stocked with rainbow trout averaging over one pound each. These fish are still available in good numbers; however, catch rates have declined with the cooler water temperatures. Look for trout to congregate around the springs on the northeast side of the lake. Anglers traveling to Fish Lake should be prepared for winter conditions, and use caution as ice forms around the lake.

Redband Trout
Juvenile Tiger Trout
-Photo by David Haight, ODFW-

ODFW stocked juvenile tiger trout (a brook trout—brown trout hybrid) into Fish Lake this fall. It is hoped that these predatory trout will feed on the abundant minnows in the lake and grow to provide for a trophy-quality fishery in a few years.

GALESVILLE RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

Galesville Reservoir is open to angling year-round. In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts the last couple years. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are adipose fin-clipped. In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout. Thus, there is a five per day trout limit, with only one trout over 20 inches in length allowed for harvest.

The first stocking for 2012 was the week of March 5 with 2,000 trout. Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15 inches must be released, and only one bass over 15 inches may be taken per day. Galesville now has a campground. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout

Garrison was stocked last week with legal size rainbow trout. There are also a good number of carry over trout from last year that run 14-16 inches. Fly fishing or slow trolling a wedding ring spinner are two good choices. Boat anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather and fish the lake when there is no wind. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th street boat ramp or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.
 
HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS: trout

Be aware during winter travel that the road to Hemlock is not plowed.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: trout, bass

Howard Prairie is closed for the season.

HYATT LAKE: trout, largemouth bass

Hyatt Lake is closed for the season.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River downstream of Pomeroy Dam is open for fishing, and is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Non adipose fin-clipped (wild) rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. However, the mainstem Illinois River from Briggs Creek to Pomeroy Dam is open for non adipose fin-clipped (wild) steelhead at least 24 inches in length which may be kept, 1 per day, 5 per year, as part of the daily or annual steelhead/salmon catch limit. The storms this week are raising river levels and bringing in bright fish but keep an eye on the flow gauge as the fish prefer to move in the Illinois when flows are at or above the median. If you prefer fishing by yourself in a rugged canyon setting then the Illinois is a great place to fish for winter steelhead. The river is closed to fishing for salmon. See angling regulations for more information.

Illinois River flows at Kerby  

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

Lake Marie received 4,500 trout during 2011, including 500 trout for Labor Day Weekend. Fishing has been slow. The first stocking for 2012 will begin the week of March 19 with 2,000 trout.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Lake Selmac was stocked a month ago with legal-sized rainbows. Also, many of the legal and larger-sized rainbow trout stocked last fall are still available. Lake Selmac provides a great fishing opportunity for the citizens of Grants Pass and Cave Junction to enjoy a great day of fishing on Josephine County’s largest standing water body.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout.

Lemolo Reservoir closed for angling on Nov. 1. Lemolo Resort will remain open for other winter sports. For additional information contact the resort at 541-957-8354.  

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake received around 9,297 legal-sized trout in 2010 and 2011. Fishing for bass and bluegill is also popular. The resort and BLM boat ramp are now closed, however the resort will open their ramp April 1. The first stocking for 2012 was the week of March 5 with 2,000 trout.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring chinook, bass

Lost Creek is the premier winter trout fishery in the Rogue watershed. Both bank and boat anglers continue to catch trout averaging 12 to 16-inches long, with an occasional spring chinook salmon entering the creel. Anglers fishing PowerBait appeared to have had the best success over the last few weeks, especially green PowerBait fished near the Takelma ramp. Trollers have had success recently trolling Little Cleos, and combinations of flasher and worm, wedding ring and worm, and dodger and lure/worm. Late morning through mid-afternoon seems to produce the best at this time. Trout are rising during hatches.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

ODFW stocked Medco Pond with trophy-sized rainbow trout, which should create a good opportunity for anglers through the winter. Medco Pond is well suited for fishing from the bank, but anglers can utilize float tubes and other small watercraft as well. 

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, surfperch

Anglers have picked up a few redtail surfperch on the beaches near Coos Bay and Bandon when the swells have been smaller. Sand shrimp or sand worms are a very good bait to use when fishing for surfperch. 

Fishing for bottom fish is open at all depths. Fishing for lingcod has been excellent when anglers are able to get out on the ocean. Anglers may not retain cabezon between Jan. 1 and March 31. Fishing from shore near the rock outcroppings can be very good this time of the year for catching rockfish. Be careful of slippery footing and sneaker waves.  Bottom fishing will be closed outside of 30 fathoms starting April 1.

A boy with a String of Bass
A boy with a String of Bass
-Photo by Matt Frank-

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater game fish

Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. Plat I has received over 4,500 trout in 2011. In addition to trout fishing the lake also has good bass fishing. The reservoir will start collecting water in February and should reach full pool by mid-March. The first stocking for 2012 was the week of March 5 with 1,500 trout.

REINHART POND: rainbow trout, warm water fish

Reinhart Pond was stocked last week and was stocked a month ago with legal sized rainbows. In addition, Reinhart was stocked last fall with legal, larger, and trophy-sized rainbow trout, some over two pounds. These trout will be available throughout the winter and should continue to provide a good fishing opportunity for families in the Grants Pass area.

ROGUE RIVER

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.

River users can find stream flows and temperatures for several Rogue River reporting stations at this website: Rogue River levels.

Rogue River, lower: steelhead, spring chinook

Fishing pressure has been light, but those anglers giving it a try are still picking up winter steelhead. Flyfishing from the bank this time of year can be good. Boat anglers are faring the best either running plugs or side drifting eggs.
                                     
Spring chinook fishing is slow.  Higher water this week should make for some better spring chinook fishing conditions as it drops back into shape.

The first spring chinook made an early show, but anglers are still waiting for the first really good movement of springers.  Spring chinook fishing will only get better through the month.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Fishing picked up over the weekend with the increase in river flow. Fish were being caught in good numbers around Robertson Bridge and the town of Rogue River. As river flow increases this week expect fish to move out of this area but a new batch of fish should arrive from the lower river in time for weekend fishing. Bank anglers should try side planers with plugs close to the bank. Boat anglers should fish about 10 feet out from the bank with dark colored plugs, yarn balls or bait.  Presenting offerings in close to the bank, and in slower moving water will yield the best results. Rainbow and cutthroat trout are available as well. All non adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Anglers may keep nonadipose fin-clipped steelhead at least 24 inches in length, 1 per day, 5 per year; as part of the salmon/steelhead catch limit.
The river flow at Grants Pass on March, 13 was 3,050 and the water temperature was about 43.5o F.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

Fish have begun showing up in the upper Rogue. Anglers are reporting fish being caught from Tou Velle State Park up to the hatchery. Bright fish should arrive in the upper Rogue after this week’s storms. The upper Rogue is often fishable when the middle and lower river is blown out. A total of 3,271 summer steelhead and 446 winter steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery as of March, 6. The outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir was 887 cfs on March 12 and the water temperature was 41oF. Presenting offerings slowly along the bottom, closer to the bank, and in slower moving water will produce the best results. All non adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed. The upper Rogue is open to retention of nonadipose fin-clipped steelhead at least 24 inches in length, 1 per day, 5 per year; as part of the salmon/steelhead catch limit.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Closed to fishing for the season. 

SIXES RIVER:  steelhead

Steelhead fishing has been hit and miss this year. The Sixes has either been too low or too muddy this year for consistent action. Most anglers drift the river, but there is some bank access at ODFW, BLM and Oregon State Park properties.  

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Steelhead have arrived in the Smith River. Although most of the angling opportunity will be catch and release, a few hatchery fish have been reported. Only an adipose fin-clipped steelhead can be harvested. Striped bass have been caught recently in the basin.
SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: brown and rainbow trout
Soda Springs Reservoir is open year-round for trout angling, but fishing is typically slow this time of year. Currently, due to construction at Soda Springs ladder, no boat ramp is accessible, but fishing is open from Medicine Creek bridge down to the buoy line markers mid-reservoir.
TENMILE BASIN: steelhead, largemouth bass

Steelhead fishing has been very good in both Tenmile and Eel creeks. Anglers have caught most of the steelhead plunking with bait or by drifting small corkies or bait.

Largemouth bass are biting in Tenmile Lakes even though they are still a little sluggish from the colder water temperatures.  Many different type of lures are working but the key is a slower presentation.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The construction at the campground and boat ramp are finally complete, so the area is now open. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Red Top Lake above Myrtle Creek was stocked for Labor Day 2011. Most high lakes are snowed in until summer, but if some remain accessible they are open year round for brook trout or rainbow trout fishing. For brook trout anglers should try Cliff, Buckeye, Skookum (North Umpqua), Maidu, Twin and Wolf lakes. Linda and Calamut have been stocked with a native rainbow for the last couple of years. Bullpup and Fuller still have brook trout, but were also recently stocked with some fingerling native rainbows. 

Umpqua Basin Note: Hatchery fish have arrived in the basin. The South Umpqua is the target basin where most of these fish will return to. Many of these hatchery fish are missing one or more of their pectoral fins. This is not a marking scheme by the ODFW. What happens is that during their 1 to 2 years of rearing in a hatchery raceway, the smolts nip each other’s fins and/or the fins get eroded off due to rubbing against the concrete walls. The ODFW is trying to minimize this by now rearing most of the juveniles at Cole Rivers. The colder water and larger raceways should reduce the nipping and fin erosion. Anglers may also start seeing hatchery winter steelhead smolts migrating downstream, particularly in the South Umpqua below Canyonville. Please release these fish unharmed.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, sturgeon, chinook, bass, striped bass

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Boat anglers will have the most success using either plugs or side drifting techniques. Recent rains have spread fish throughout the basin. Watch the graphs for the water flows and try to fish while the river is dropping. Bank anglers can find success by either dead drifting bait or plunking. Plunking can be especially productive during higher flows as the fish tend to stay out of the main current and travel upstream closer to the banks.

We are expecting a good number of hatchery fish to return to the South Umpqua this year; however, they will compose 7-11 percent of the steelhead in the Mainstem. Thus, angling opportunity is primarily catch-and-release in the Mainstem. Practice good angling ethics to release wild fish unharmed with a minimum of handling.  Please report anybody harvesting wild steelhead to OSP.

NOTE: It is illegal to keep a steelhead whose adipose fin has been freshly clipped. 

Spring chinook have started arriving in the lower mainstem. Anglers have also had success recently sturgeon and striped bass fishing.

Umpqua River flows near Elkton

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Recent rains should improve the fishing in the North Umpqua for winter steelhead. The North Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest and only adipose fin clipped fish may be kept. Winter steelhead count thru February is over 5,700 fish.

Fishing has improved for bank anglers at Swiftwater as the recent rain helped move more steelhead into the area. Boat anglers should also see more success. Steelhead fishing will continue to improve through March as more fish enter the North. Only about 5 percent of the winter steelhead in the North Umpqua will be fin-clipped, thus most of the angling opportunity will be catch-and-release.  In addition to hatchery winter steelhead, a few anglers have caught summer steelhead hatchery kelts.

Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, 2011, single weighted barbless flies may be used in the Flywater Area. The North Umpqua mainstem and the tributaries upstream of Soda Springs Reservoir are currently closed for season, and will re-open April 28.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: winter steelhead

The recent rains helped bring a surge of steelhead into the South Umpqua. Only adipose fin clipped steelhead can be harvested. Bank anglers and plunkers should enjoy some good fishing. Hatchery fish were being caught behind Seven Feathers by bank anglers. Fishing will continue to improve throughout the winter with the best fishing generally occurring from late February through March. There should be good numbers of hatchery fish returning this year since 91,000 smolts were released in 2009 and 101,000 were released in 2010.

South Umpqua River water levels near Riddle

Diamond Lake

January sun breaks out on Willow Lake -Photo by Dan Van Dyke-

WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead

Fishing for rainbow trout has been fair to good. Recent reports indicate that rainbows are biting and when it is foggy in the valley Willow Lake provides some spectacular views of Mt. McLoughlin. Due to good water levels, Jackson County Parks will be allowing day use of some facilities at Willow Lake this winter. The gate will open at 8 a.m., and will be locked at 5 p.m.  The boat ramp will be available but camping facilities remained closed. This will provide Rogue Valley anglers a great spot for winter trout fishing above the fog. 

WINCHESTER BAY: sturgeon, coho, chinook, rockfish

The South Jetty has been fair for bottom fishing. When the river is running muddy, anglers have generally had more success inside the triangle rather than on the river side. Crabbing has slowed with the increase of fresh water in the Bay. Check with the Coast Guard for new deadlines in the lower Umpqua when the bar is closed (541-271-4847).

WINCHUCK RIVER:  steelhead

Higher water this week will make for some good steelhead fishing. The Winchuck can be very clear and usually the best fishing occurs a day or two after a rain. Access is limited in the lower river, but there is quite of bit of bank access once on Forest Service property. Steelhead fishing will remain good through the middle of March.