Oregon South West Region Report


by ODFW
4-16-2021
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Trout stocking is underway at several area lakes and ponds. In addition, many of these locations will have holdover trout from last year’s stocking. These fish have been in the water long enough to have put on some size, and to key in on natural food sources. Selecting flies or lures that mimic these food sources can be effective.

With very low water levels again expected in Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake this year, stocking of these water bodies will change for the good in other Rogue Valley lakes, ponds and reservoirs. For instance, more trout will be stocked in Emigrant Reservoir this year compared with recent years. Water levels in Emigrant will also be very low, but ODFW expects there to be some boat ramp access through the spring months and into early summer; with bank access also being plentiful. Trout have been stocked in Agate Reservoir this spring - an opportunity not typically present for April and May!  Some additional trout will also be stocked in Fish Lake along Hwy 140, and Reinhardt Park Pond in Grants Pass.  Stay tuned for details on Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake stockings in the lake updates as a clearer reservoir forecast develops over the next few weeks.

Bass and panfish anglers should start keeping an eye on water temperatures. Once they reach 50 degrees, you can expect these fish to become more active. Look for them to start moving into the shallows in anticipation of spawning.

Anglers and other members of the public should remember that it’s illegal to fish with live fish as bait in all lakes, ponds, reservoirs, creek and rivers in Oregon. Also, transporting fish, shellfish, crayfish, amphibians, or even dumping the contents of an aquarium into a waterbody is illegal and can be very detrimental to these systems. If you see someone doing any of these things, please report it to OSP or your local fish and wildlife office immediately. Or better yet, if you feel safe, ask the person to stop as you see it happening. Education is key to keeping Oregon’s waterways free from additional invasive or unwanted species.

Lakes and ponds to fish this week: 

  • Lake Selmac (Selma) received its third rainbow trout stocking (5,000 fish) of the year last week. The fishing should be very good out here for trout and picking up for bass, and the weather great. 4/14/21
  • Reinhardt Pond in Grants Pass and Expo Pond in Central Point have both recently received trout stockings, and Expo is receiving another 1500 legal trout last week. 4/14/21
  • Emigrant Lake received its first trout stocking of the year last week. 4/14/21
  • Lost Creek and Willow lakes are good bets for trout fishing. Both have good boat access and large recent stockings of rainbow trout last week. Lost Creek received an additional 15,000 legals and 800 pounders this week. Spring fishing should be very good. 4/14/21
  • Galesville and Cooper Creek reservoirs would both be good bets as there should be lots of bass and trout ready to bite after being stocked last week. 4/14/21
  • Surfperch anglers have been doing well catching good size red-tail surfperch along beaches near the mouths of rivers and bays.4/7/21
  • Garrison Lake would be an excellent choice for trout fishing this week. It has been stocked several times recently and received 400 trophy trout this week. 4/14/2021

RIVERS AND STREAMS

Winter steelhead fishing on most coastal rivers ended March 31. Larger systems such as the Rogue and Umpqua remain open. With trout fishing on most all of these streams also closed or ending on March 31, only anglers with a combined angling tag in possession should be fishing on rivers and streams that are currently open to salmon and/or steelhead fishing.  This closure is to protect spawning fish, as well as out-migrating juvenile salmon and trout (smolt).

Trout fishing on most rivers and streams remains closed until May 22. Check the exceptions section to see if fishing for trout is open in your specific river or stream. If it’s not specified in the “exceptions” section as open for (hatchery or wild) trout retention or “catch-and-release” for the water body you plan to fish, revert back to the SW zone regulations for your area to see when it’s open.  

All tributaries to larger river systems such as the Rogue, Applegate and Illinois are closed to fishing, unless noted in the regulations exceptions section of the SW Zone.

Rivers and streams to fish this week:

  • Winter steelhead are still being caught in the middle and upper Rogue. Chinook Park and Baker Park are both near winter steelhead acclimation release sites and recent reports indicate that some adult hatchery fish are in the vicinity. Upper Rogue saw a decent push of hatchery fish last week, so the river above Shady Cove may be a good place to target. With lower water, fish will be in the deepest slots and smaller natural presentations will be key.  4/14/21  
  • Even with low water conditions boat and bank anglers have been regularly picking up spring Chinook on the lower Rogue. 4/7/21
  • Striped bass will be spreading out throughout tidewater of the Coquille River. 4/7/21
  • There should be some hungry striped bass on the Smith River, as well. 4/7/21
  • On the mainstem Umpqua, anglers are turning their attention from winter steelhead to spring Chinook and bass. 4/7/21

RECENTLY STOCKED

Check out the 2021 trout stocking schedule.

TROUT STOCKING MAPS: Find your place to fish

Check out the ODFW fishing and trout stocking maps to find nearby fishing locations, driving directions and descriptions of amenities.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: closures, special events, etc.

New interagency map shows wildfire impacts on recreation

Hunters, anglers and wildlife viewers will be living with the impacts of the 2020 wildfire season for a long time. To help you navigate the status of popular recreation sites, natural resource management agencies in Oregon have released an interagency status map that shows open, closed and reduced service areas on a single map, regardless of reason for closure. 

Umpqua winter steelhead study

Anglers who catch a hatchery winter steelhead in the Umpqua Basin are being asked to turn in the snouts from those fish. Some of these snouts contain small tags. Anglers who turn in snouts that contain these tags will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card. Snouts may be turned in at barrels located around the basin, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roseburg, or the Roseburg ODFW office. Tags obtained from the fish will inform ODFW on the best release strategy for juveniles to provide the most fish back to anglers in the future. 

UPDATES BY WATERBODY

AGATE LAKE: trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullheads, yellow perch

Agate received 2500 legal rainbow trout on Monday, April 5. Trout are typically not stocked in Agate so anglers should take advantage of this opportunity in April and May.  

Agate Lake is on the rise and is at 73 percent capacity. No report on reservoir clarity, but expect it to be a bit muddy with the quick rise. Boat ramp and day-use facilities here are open and managed by Jackson County Parks. There is a 10mph speed limit on this reservoir.

Agate Lake has a good population of black crappie and introduced yellow perch, as well as brown bullhead. Last updated 4/7/21.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: trout

French Gulch and Copper boat ramps are both usable, but just gravel and earthen ramps at these water levels. Copper may still be a bit muddy. The concessionaire that operates Hart-Tish does not plan on opening until Memorial Day.

Anglers have reported some holdover trout caught recently. Stocking is not planned here until mid-April. The reservoir is 36 percent full with an elevation of 1,929.1 ft. Surface temperatures are in the mid-40s. Anglers can get the latest information by calling the US Army Corps Lost Creek Lake and Applegate Reservoir projects information line at 1-800-472-2434. Last updated 3/24/21.

APPLEGATE RIVER: winter steelhead, trout

The Applegate River closed to steelhead and trout fishing on March 31. Trout season will again reopen on May 22, with only hatchery trout allowed for retention. All other fishing is closed while steelhead/trout season is closed. This includes catch-and-release fishing or fishing for other species such as bass or pikeminnow.  Smolts are out-migrating and there are mainstem spawning adults present.  

On April 8, 132 winter steelhead were collected in the trap at the base of Applegate Reservoir. Hatchery staff are making weekly checks out here. A total of 158 fish have returned thus far this season, well below the average. Fish are still coming, and likely still in the mainstem Rogue, but the final count is expected to be well below average. Again, the mainstem Applegate River is now closed to all fishing below Applegate Dam to the confluence with the Rogue.

Access on the Applegate can be difficult. It’s up to you to know landownership and not trespass. There is good public access around the Hwy 199 bridge, Fish Hatchery Park, Cantrall Buckley Park, upstream of Murphy, and near McKee Bridge. There are also scatterings of BLM lands in the upper river around McKee Bridge. You can check the flows on the Applegate for the most current water conditions. Last updated 4/14/21.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

The pond is stocked regularly throughout the spring with legal-size trout and some trophies.

This little pond offers a great environment for young anglers to learn some casting and fishing techniques. Try a little PowerBait with a bobber or a small spinner and you might be surprised at what bites! Arizona Pond will be stocked again with another batch of trout in the coming weeks. 

You may notice several buoys in the middle of the pond. These are marking vegetation suppression mats designed to limit the pond weed growth. Please use care to not snag the submerged line as you may find it quite difficult to get your gear back. 

Oregon State Parks manages Arizona Pond for anglers ages 17 and under. This is a great place for new anglers to learn fishing techniques. Last updated 4/7/21.

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

The reservoir was stocked at the beginning of March with 3,000 rainbow trout, which means fishing should still be good. Ben Irving is likely still murky, so larger, flashier presentations might be in order. Last updated 4/7/21.

BRADLEY LAKE: trout

Trophy trout are scheduled to be stocked this week in Bradley Lake. Anglers will have the most success trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm. Last updated 4/14/21.

BUTTERFIELD LAKE: trout, warmwater fish

Trout are scheduled to be stocked into Butterfield Lake this week.

Largemouth bass fishing will be picking up in the lake with bass moving into shallow water in preparation to spawn. The lake surface water temperature was 56 degrees last weekend.  

CHETCO RIVER:

Closed to fishing until May 22.

The river is closed this time of year to protect out migrating steelhead smolts heading to the ocean and spawning winter steelhead.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, coho and Chinook smolts

Cooper was stocked with 3,500 rainbow trout in the first week of March and was just stocked with another 3,000 trout last week. With warmer temperatures, fishing should be good for trout and bass.

Beginning in 2016, Cooper has been stocked with coho and Chinook salmon juveniles (20,000 coho in 2019). These are often mistaken for kokanee. Anglers may retain up to 5 salmon juveniles in the reservoir as part of their daily trout bag limit. Please remember to release salmon and trout less than 8 inches. Last updated 4/14/21

COOS RIVER BASIN: bottomfish

Boat and bank anglers (on the jetty) are still catching rockfish and lingcod inside lower Coos Bay. Smaller jigs with a twister tail or 1-ounce jigging spoons have been working to catch rockfish. Lingcod are being caught on bigger jigs or by suspending a frozen herring around the rocks. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 6, which includes a one fish sub-bag limit for China, copper and quillback rockfish. Anglers can still harvest 2 lingcod per day.  

Trout fishing in streams and rivers opens on May 22. Last updated 4/7/21.   

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: striped bass

Striped bass will be spreading out throughout tidewater of the Coquille River. Anglers typically do well catching striped bass in April between the towns of Coquille and Myrtle Point. There is no size limit or daily bag limit on striped bass.

Trout fishing in streams and rivers opens on May 22. Last updated 4/14/21.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout 

There have been some anglers catching some nice trout through the ice. The weather is warming so the ice might start breaking up. As always follow ice fishing safety tips. There is also an ice-fishing derby going on now through April 15, hosted by the Umpqua Fisheries Enhancement Derby. 

Anglers should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camps and ramps. Seasonal closures are occurring for campgrounds and boat launches. Anglers can check fishing and water conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort Facebook page, or call 541-793-3333 for updates. Diamond Lake is open year-round.

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. Last updated 4/7/21.

EEL LAKE: trout, warmwater fish

Boat anglers have been picking up a few trout by fishing bait suspended under a bobber or by trolling with wedding rings. Last updated 4/7/21.  

Crappie will start transitioning from deep water to the weedline edges. On warm sunny days crappies could be found feeding in shallower water.   Last updated 4/14/21.  

ELK RIVER:

Closed to all fishing until May 22.

EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead, catfish, rainbow trout

Emigrant Reservoir is low but on the rise. It recently received 3,500 legal rainbow trout this week. The boat ramp at area A is finally usable. Try trolling a wedding ring spinner tipped with a nightcrawler. Bank anglers with threaded nightcrawlers under a sliding bobber or PowerBait off the bottom should do well around the marina.  

For more information on park facilities closures visit the Jackson County Parks website

The reservoir has been rising the last few weeks due to water transfers from Howard and Hyatt and is at 21 percent. Last updated 4/7/21.  

EMPIRE LAKES: trout

Lower and Upper Empire lakes are scheduled to be stocked this week with trophy-size trout and “pounder” size trout. Anglers will have success casting spinner and spoons, or by fishing PowerBait near the bottom. Last updated 4/14/21.

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

Day use permits are required. Expo Pond received its second rainbow trout stocking (another 1,500 fish) of the year this week. Fishing should be very good out here.  Nightcrawlers under a bobber should do well. Anglers with personal water craft should be able to troll along the steep blackberry bank closest to the Expo.  

Daily trout limit at Expo Pond is 5 fish per day. 

Chinese mystery snails are present here in the most northern pond. Please do not move these creatures and drain and dry any personal water craft before using them in another waterbody. Last updated 4/7/21.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook 

Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to use live fish as bait in any Oregon lake, river or stream. Fish Lake Cabins are currently available. The lodge and café are still closed. It’s best to call ahead to confirm the most current status of the lodge and café: 541-949-8500 or check their Facebook page. 

Fish lake is ice-free and visibility is reportedly around 10 feet. Both the USFS and resort ramps are usable.

The Hwy 140 webcam at Lake of the woods will give you a good idea of the road conditions. Anglers are reminded that a Snow Park permit is necessary if parking around Fish Lake through April 30.

More information on National Forest Developed recreation sites and campground openings/closures for the Rogue Siskiyou Forest please visit here.

Any tiger trout caught should be immediately released unharmed. Anglers are encouraged to report their catch or any other fish stories to Rogue Fish District Staff 541-826-8774 ext. 72411. Last updated 4/14/21.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

As water temperatures increase with warmer spring weather, fish will start to become more active. Though not stocked recently, holdover rainbows from last season and native cutthroat will start moving around more. Tossing or trolling with spinners, bait and bobber, and fly-fishing are all popular fishing methods for chasing trout in Floras Lake. Last updated 3/24/21.

GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

The reservoir is still not full, so fish should be more concentrated. ODFW also stocked roughly 3,500 trout in the first week of March and another 3,500 last week, which should make the fishing much better. Anglers have been talking about how great Galesville had been last year, let’s hope for the same this year.

Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions. Check out the Lake Level Gagefor 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. Last updated 4/14/21

GARRISON LAKE: trout

The spring months can be a good time to fish the lake. A lot of times, this is the only place to fish when the rivers and creeks are too high and muddy to fish. It’s an especially good time to visit the lake because it is regularly stocked with trophy and legal-size rainbow trout in the spring.  

Bank anglers can find access at the 12th street or Pinehurst boat ramps and off Paradise Point Road. The lake can be very windy so anglers will want to check the weather before heading out. Fishing earlier in the day is usually better because the winds tend to pick up in the afternoon. Last updated 4/14/20.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS (Douglas County): trout

The road to Lake in the Woods was open recently, so as long as no more snow falls, anglers should be able to reach the lake. Hemlock was not accessible last week, but may be open soon with hot temperatures in the forecast. Fishing should be good since the lakes have likely seen low pressure from anglers.

The USFS has closed the campgrounds for the season, but will open back up when the road conditions improve. Anglers should be able to access the lakes from other areas. Anglers should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-496-3532) for information on camp and ramp closures.

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Remember to only keep trout at least 8 inches long, and only one trout over 20 inches per day. Last updated 4/14/21

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass

Howard is ice-free but water is a bit turbid. The low water boat ramp near the dam is usable.  

There should be some hold over trout present and now would be a good time to try and harvest some of those fish as they do make excellent table fare.

With the extremely low reservoir levels, as of this time, no trout are planned to be stocked.  This could change as the situation develops. Trout destined for stocking in Hyatt and Howard, are being re-allocated to other local waterbodies.

There is a Hwy 66 and Hyatt Lake Rd webcam that may help if you’re planning an adventure. There is a Jackson County webcam at the Dead Indian Memorial Summit.

All campgrounds and facilities are currently closed until further notice. More information on facilities can be found on Jackson County Parks website.

The reservoir is still hovering at 9 percent full. Last updated 4/14/21.

HUNTER CREEK:

Closed to all fishing until May 22.      

Low springtime water conditions make steelhead, cutthroat and lamprey redds especially vulnerable. Though tempting, please do not drive motorized vehicles across the streambed.  Last updated 4/14/2021

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Hyatt is ice-free and Hyatt Lake Resort is open, serving food to go. Check out their Facebook page for more information or call the resort: 541-482-3331. Visitors should have a USFS snow park pass through April 30.

With the extremely low reservoir levels, as of this time, no trout are planned to be stocked.  This could change as the situation develops. Trout destined for stocking in Hyatt and Howard, are being re-allocated to other local waterbodies.

The Mountain View boat ramp and all federal and state campgrounds are closed and inaccessible. The reservoir is 19 percent full.

There is a Hwy 66 and Hyatt Lake Rd webcam that may help you if you are planning an adventure up here. Also, ODOT trip check is worth looking at. Last updated 4/14/21.

ILLINOIS RIVER: winter steelhead

Steelhead and trout fishing closed on March 31. This includes all catch-and-release fishing as well. The trout closure is to protect out-migrating smolts destined for the ocean. 

There is good public bank access along 8 Dollar Rd. just north of Kerby, and Illinois River Rd. outside of Selma, all the way downstream to Miami Bar. Be advised the road to Briggs Creek can be a bit muddy after a rain, but it’s not rutted and is relatively hard packed within the puddles. The water is clear out here, snow still in the mountains, and this is certainly still a destination for a hike.

Check the USGS Kerby guage which provides up to date river flow information. Last updated 3/31/21.  

JOHNSON MILL POND: trout, warmwater fish

Trophy trout were stocked in Johnson Mill Pond in March. The shallow pond can get weedy quickly so you may need to fish bait under a bobber.  

Largemouth bass fishing will be picking up in this shallow pond. Bass anglers may need to use weedless lures to keep from getting hung up on the aquatic vegetation. Last updated 4/7/21.

LAKE SELMAC (Selmac Lake): trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Trout fishing should be very good out at Selmac lake with multiple recent stockings in the last two months -- the most recent being 5,000 legal trout last week. Warmwater fishing should also be starting to get better with the warming weather in the foreseeable future.  

Water conditions should be very good.

Lake Selmac facilities operated by Josephine County Parks are currently open. More information about Josephine County Parks can be found on their website.

Lake Selmac also has a recent non-native introduction of a bryozoan. Bryozoans are mossy like creatures that usually help to clean water and that are not typically harmful to humans.  However, this particular species has been known to harbor a disease that can be transmitted to salmon and steelhead. Please drain and dry your vessel if you are going to another water body and help stop Oregon’s aquatic hitchhikers!

Anglers are reminded that only 1 bass may be harvested from Selmac per day. Last updated 4/14/21.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Anglers should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on camp and ramp closures. Contact the resort at 541-643-0750 for weather/road conditions and additional information. The latest info is that both the resort and the campgrounds are closed. According to their website, the resort was scheduled to reopen April 15. If the ramp is open the reservoir is scheduled to be stocked next week.

The water in the reservoir will remain very cold, but as we move toward summer fishing can be great! Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and fall under the daily limit for trout of 5 per day, with only one of those measuring over 20 inches. Last update 4/14/21

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

The Takelma ramp is currently the only ramp open and usable. 

Lost Creek received 15,000 legal and 800 “pounder” rainbow trout this week.  

The Marina and Joseph Stuart State Park are now managed by Jackson County Parks. The Marina and Store are scheduled to open April 15!  Day use fees for this facility apply. If you’re a frequent user here, a Jackson County Parks season pass is $40 and covers so many other local Rogue Valley fishing destinations, as well.

Good techniques here include trolling a wedding ring spinner tipped with a nightcrawler and weighted with an egg shaped in-line sinker, or a trolling spoons. Still fishing is good with PowerBait off the bottom or better yet, a worm suspended with a small piece of marshmallow as the float.  

The lake is 72 percent full with an elevation 1,837 feet and 45-degree surface temperature.

Anglers can get the latest surface temperatures by calling the US Army Corps Lost Creek Lake and Applegate Reservoir projects information line at 1-800-472-2434. Last updated 4/14/21.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco is scheduled to receive its first stocking of 2,000 legal rainbow trout next week.  Medco Pond is at 3,054 feet elevation and located between Butte Falls and Prospect. No recent reports here. It is scheduled for its first stocking in mid-April. On warmer days, anglers can often find bluegill close to shore. Try fishing a nightcrawler under a bobber later in the day. Still pretty cold for a decent warmwater bite.

Medco Pond is a private pond and access can be revoked at any time. Medco received 15,000 fall fingerling trout that should have overwintered and be catchable size by now. To help keep access open, anglers should make sure to pick up their trash, as well as other trash when they are there. The owners of Medco have restricted vehicle access to along the roadway because of vandals and dumpers. If you see someone doing something that may risk access for everyone, please let ODFW know. Last updated 4/14/2021.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, surfperch

Boat anglers have been doing very well catching nice size lingcod and rockfish when the ocean swells are down. Bottom fishing is open to all depths through May 31. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 6 fish, which includes a one fish sub-bag limit for China, copper, and quillback rockfish. Anglers can still harvest 2 lingcod per day. Anglers must release all cabezon through June.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year-round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, blue, deacon, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, chillipepper, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips. Find information about a longleader setup here.

Ocean Chinook salmon fishing opened on March 15.  

Surfperch anglers have been doing well catching good size red-tail surfperch  along beaches near the mouths of rivers and bays. Anglers have been catching surfperch when the ocean swells are calmer using sand shrimp, mole crabs, or Berkley Gulp sand worms. Last updated 4/7/21.

2021 sport bottomfish seasons

PISTOL RIVER:

Closed to all fishing until May 22.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: bass, trout

Plat I was stocked for the only time this season a couple weeks ago, so fishing should be good.

Plat I offers some of the best disabled access in the area. Last updated 4/7/21.

POWERS POND: trout, warmwater fish

Trophy and legal-size trout are scheduled to be stocked this week into Powers Pond. Anglers should have success fishing PowerBait near the bottom or casting spinners/spoons.

As the water temperature warms largemouth bass will move into shallow water to spawn. Look for them near structure like submerged logs. Last updated 4/14/21.

Reinhardt Volunteer Park pond: trout, bass

Reinhardt fishing should be fair to good. It’s been a few weeks since the last stocking, but there are likely still a few trout lingering here. Its next stocking is the week of April 19. A good bite often takes place mid to late morning. A simple setup of a nightcrawler under a bobber, or a dime size piece of PowerBait fished off the bottom is a good bet… plus some patience for the little ones.

Daily bag limit for trout at Reinhardt, like all lakes and ponds, is 5 trout. Last updated 4/14/21.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead, spring Chinook

Even with low water conditions boat and bank anglers have been regularly picking up spring Chinook. Fishing pressure has been light.

Although winter steelhead are still moving into the lower river, most if not all anglers are targeting spring Chinook. With water conditions being so low, anglers may want to fish in the Agness area side drifting or swinging flies for a good chance to catch some of these late returning fish. Last updated 4/7/21.

Rogue River, middle: Chinook salmon, hatchery coho, steelhead, rainbow trout

Winter steelhead are still being caught on the Middle Rogue. While most all neighboring streams are closing for steelhead on March 31, the Rogue remains open all year. However, retention of wild steelhead closes April 30. To retain a wild fish, it must be a minimum of 24 inches long. Only 1 wild fish per day, and 3 per year zone wide in aggregate may be kept.  

Trout fishing on the Rogue is closed and reopens on May 22. This includes catch-and-release fishing. Any angler on the Rogue at this time will need to have in possession a valid combined angling tag, in addition to their fishing license, and not be targeting trout or half-pounder steelhead. Young smolt are outmigrating currently and this regulation is designed to protect them.

Anglers are picking up winter steelhead, but it has been a tough year. There are some larger fish in the mix, which has been nice to see. If targeting water below the Applegate River, you’ll get the chance to target both Rogue and Applegate hatchery fish. Running plugs from a drift boat or drifting nightcrawlers or eggs, eggs/shrimp, soft beads, or yarn balls are all good bets. 

There have been reports of hatchery fish sighted off of Baker boat ramp and Chinook County Park vicinity. There are winter steelhead acclimation facilities in Skunk Creek and Greens Creek, and there should be returning adults in the vicinity.

Locally-owned and operated tackle and fly shops in Grants Pass have excellent gear and very fresh bait, local flies and knowledge 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.

Wednesday morning the flow was 1,180 cfs and dropping and conditions clear with turbidity was 3 NTU and water temps starting the day in the high 40s and reaching mid 50s at the Grants Pass guage station. Flows are below normal for this time of year, so some riffles/rapids may be a bit bonier than usual.  

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. Anglers can check all the USGS gaging stations, which have the most current temperatures and river flows hereLast updated 4/14/21.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, rainbow trout

As of April 7, 322 new winter steelhead entered the ladder at Cole Rivers Hatchery, bringing this year’s total to 673 fish. ODFW estimates around 1,100 winter steelhead are destined for the hatchery (well below normal, but meeting mitigation goal minimum of 500 fish), so the upper river will be the place to fish in the coming weeks as this year’s run has been later than average. 

Water conditions have dropped significantly, with only 888 cfs being released from Lost Creek Reservoir, as a conservation measure in order to store as much water is possible as the snowpack above the reservoir is below average. This water will be used to augment flows to benefit spring Chinook salmon. Be aware of this if floating a drift boat, as navigational channels have gotten a bit tight. Make sure you can row and read water or float with an experienced boat handler!  

Winter fish are being caught from Touvelle to the hatchery. Wild steelhead can now be retained in the entire Rogue basin through April 30, as long as the fish is a minimum of 24 inches long. Only 1 wild fish per day, and 3 per year SW Zone wide in aggregate may be kept. Wild trout must still be released. Hatchery steelhead may be retained year-round.

Trout fishing on the Rogue also closed March 31, and opens again on May 22. This includes catch-and-release trout anglers.  Any angler on the Rogue at this time will need to have in possession a valid combined angling tag, in addition to their fishing license.

Locally-owned and operated tackle and fly shops in Medford, Shady Cove, and Ashland have excellent gear and very fresh bait, local flies and knowledge that is specific to the Rogue and to your particular technique. Go check them out and offer them support during this time.

For the latest fish counts, call into the Lost Creek Reservoir hotline or check the MyODFW.com fish counts page.

For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434. For real time streamflow from USGS gauges on the Rogue click hereLast updated 4/14/21.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

While trout fishing in the rest of the basin is closed, the Rogue and tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir remain open year-round, with a retention limit of 5 trout. Stocked trout in this reach are not fin clipped. 

The Hwy 62 webcam at Union Creek is always a good resource to check before driving up here. With spring conditions in the forecast, the water temperatures may start to raise a bit and putting some holdover trout that are still in the area on the bite. There are also brown and cutthroat trout that can be found in the tributaries above Lost creek Reservoir.  

More information on Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lands can be found on their website or calling the RRSNF office.  

Stocking is not scheduled to begin until just before Memorial Day. All tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir are open year-round with a 5 trout limit.

With very cold water, presentation is usually the key, get your bait down and free drifting with as little drag as possible. Also plan on fishing later in the day when temperatures may be warmer. Last updated 3/31/21.

SIXES RIVER:

Closed to all fishing until May 22.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, striped bass

Steelhead season should be winding down, but there should be a few fish left. 

Striped bass season is coming on and there should be some hungry fish around. 

Trout season reopens May 22. 

The Smith sees only light pressure for most of the season and can provide a great experience for anglers looking to get away from the crowds. Last updated 4/7/21

SPALDING POND: rainbow trout

Spalding Pond is scheduled to receive 600 legal trout next week. Spalding Pond received a fingerling release last fall. These fish should grow all winter and be ready to catch this spring. There should be trout around. This area is within the Forest Service Wild Rivers Ranger District. Last updated 4/14/21.

TENMILE LAKES/TENMILE CREEK:  largemouth bass, trout

Water temperatures over the weekend was 55-56 degrees. On warmer days largemouth bass will be found in or near shallow water with cover like weedlines or submerged wood.  This is a good time of the year to fish lures that can cover water quickly looking for aggressive fish to bite.  

Trout are scheduled to be stocked in North and South Tenmile lakes this week. Anglers should try trolling wedding ring spinners or other spinners tipped with a worm. Midges and other aquatic insects are starting to hatch on the lake daily which will bring the trout closer to the surface to feed. Last updated 4/14/21.

UMPQUA HIKE-IN LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Even into spring these lakes can be snowed in, so it can tough to know when to go. Anglers can check with the Umpqua National Forest for updates (541-498-2531).

Lakes typically accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked in the last couple years are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Pitt, Wolfe and Skookum lakes. 

Clearwater Forebay Two can be a great place to fish as well with brook trout and rainbow available.

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reportsLast updated 4/14/21

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, Chinook

Most anglers are finished with steelhead and moving on to spring Chinook, but don’t forget to turn in hatchery winter steelhead snouts for a chance to win a gift card (see note below.)

Bass fishing is picking up with warmer temperatures and bass preparing to spawn. 

No recent reports of springers. Most Chinook anglers plunk and use either a spinner, bait or both.

Consider using gear that will be less harmful to fish that need to be released. Tactics such as using single point hooks and artificial lures may ensure a higher survival of wild fish after release.

Trout fishing will reopen May 22. Last updated 4/7/21.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, trout

Access may be limited due to impacts from last summer’s wildfires. The section from Steamboat Creek to Susan Creek is closed to access by the Forest Service. Sections of Bureau of Land Management lands also are closed. 

With no rain in the forecast the river is getting a little low for steelhead fishing, but there should still be fresh and downstream migrating fish around. Remember to turn in snouts from hatchery fish for a chance to win a $50 gift card (see below).

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 months. 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. Last updated 4/7/21

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: winter steelhead        

After a slow steelhead season, most anglers are eyeing other opportunities. But there are still fresh steelhead returning to the South and little fishing pressure. Don’t forget to turn in snout from hatchery winter steelhead for a chance to win a gift card (see note below).

Bass anglers are starting to catch a few as the weather warms. 

The entire South Umpqua basin will close to all fishing as it does every year from May 1 – May 21, and reopen on May 22 for trout and bass fishing. Last updated 4/14/21.

NOTE: Umpqua winter steelhead study

Anglers who catch a hatchery winter steelhead in the Umpqua Basin are being asked to turn in the snouts from those fish. Some of these snouts contain small tags. Anglers who turn in snouts that contain these tags will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card. Snouts may be turned in at barrels located around the basin, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roseburg, or the Roseburg ODFW office. Tags obtained from the fish will inform ODFW on the best release strategy for juveniles to provide the most fish back to anglers in the future. 

WEAVER ROAD POND: trout

This small pond located on BLM land in Douglas County off the Coos Wagon Rd is scheduled to be stocked this week with legal-size trout. Last updated 4/14/21.

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

Willow Lake is should be a great place to trout fish over the next few weeks. It received another 4,000 legal rainbow trout this week, totaling 10,000 fish stocked this year. There should also be plenty of hold over trout from last year available. This time of the year, the hold over fish are exceptional table fare.  

Campgrounds at Willow Lake are currently closed for the season, but boat ramps and day-use areas are open. Facilities at Willow Lake are managed by Jackson County. For more information please visit their website.

Willow Lake is nearly full at 99 percent capacity. There are large numbers of illegally introduced yellow perch up here and anglers are always encouraged to take as many of these as they want. This illegal introduction has only resulted in stunted perch and impacts to the bass and trout fishery in this lake and numerous others around the Southwest District.  Anglers are reminded that using live fish as bait is prohibited.  If you see someone transporting live fish from or into a water body, please get a photo and/or call OSP with this information. Last updated 4/7/21.  

WINCHUCK RIVER:

Closed to all fishing until May 22.

Although closed to fishing, ODFW is still out monitoring winter steelhead escapement and spawning. Most winter steelhead on the South Coast spawn in March and April and one way to monitor how steelhead are doing is to count spawning nests, called redds. Although most reports indicated poor fishing and lack of steelhead, surveys are telling a different story about how steelhead are doing in the river. So far, it is looking more of an average escapement year, with steelhead spread throughout the river utilizing most of the habitat available. In addition to steelhead, ODFW personnel are seeing adult lamprey starting to spawn. 




More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Friday, April 16th

: Oregon North West Report
: Oregon Willamette Region Report