Free Fishing Weekend comes to Oregon again this weekend, giving would-be anglers a chance to test the proverbial angling waters without purchasing a fishing license.
The weekend spans from Friday through Sunday.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a press release that trout anglers should focus on areas where summer water temperatures are cooler — lakes at higher elevations and the upper reaches of rivers and streams.
Tuna fishing in Winchester Bay has been terrific lately. The fish are in relatively close and there are plenty of commercial charters for would-be anglers that don’t own a boat or gear.
Bass fishing is great for beginner anglers. This time of year, bass fishing (both small and largemouth) can be good in ponds, rivers and reservoirs.
The following is a section of the weekly ODFW fishing report, compiled by fisheries and biologists across Southwestern Oregon.
BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: Trout anglers have had the best success trolling lures in the deeper areas of the reservoir. The lake was last stocked the week of May 13 but there should be good numbers of trout around. Warmwater fishing should be good. Try fishing for bass at the head of the reservoir and shallow structure in the mid-morning and late afternoon hours using a slow retrieve.
COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: The lake will next be stocked at the end of August.
In the past two years, Cooper has been stocked with coho and Chinook salmon juveniles. 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. Warmwater has been good with multiple reports of bass and bluegill. Try fishing for bass around aquatic vegetation in the mid-morning and late afternoon hours.
COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: Striped bass fishing is slowing down some but is still good in the Coquille River from Riverton to Bullards, with most anglers using cut bait or nightcrawlers fished with sliding sinkers on the river bottom. The smallmouth bass bite is also good at this time in the mainstem and South Fork Coquille rivers. Smallmouth bass will bite on worms, jigs with a twister tail, crankbaits, and small spinners.
A few salmon anglers have been trolling for fall Chinook around Bullards Beach and Rocky Point. Salmon anglers in the Coquille Basin will only be able to harvest 1 wild Chinook per day and 2 wild Chinook for the season in aggregate from all waters from Coos Basin, Coquille Basin, Sixes River, and Elk River. The Coquille River will be closed to salmon fishing upstream of Sturdivant Park Bridge (Highway 42S Bridge).
DIAMOND LAKE: Diamond Lake has been decent. Recent reports indicate most successful anglers are using flies with a quick retrieve or trolling. Others are having good success with floating bait off the bottom. If one technique isn’t working, switch to something else.
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.
Diamond Lake also has a limit of five rainbow trout per day.
FISH LAKE: The lake was stocked with larger rainbow trout in addition to legal-sized fish in mid-July, which should have provided a boost to angler success for the summer months. Still fishing with PowerBait is always a good option, especially if clarity is low.
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.
Fish Lake is now 35 percent full. The boat ramp at Fish Lake is getting low, but boats are still able to launch at this time. The surface temperature is 73F so anglers should concentrate in deeper water or at the springs at the east end of the lake.
FORD’S POND: This shallow Sutherlin pond supports populations of warmwater fish. Bass fishing has been good and can be good any time of year. In addition to bass, there are other warmwater fish species that can make for a fun outing. The pond is open to the public and has a lot of bank access. Ford’s is restricted to electric motors and does not have a good access point for larger boats.
GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: Galesville has been stocked with a lot of “trophy-size” trout this year and fishing has been good. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015.
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. Fishing for bass and other panfish has been good. Good areas are near dead snags and the boat ramp. Try a slow retrieve with a diving crank bait.
HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS (Douglas County): Fishing for trout in Hemlock and Lake in the Woods can be good this time of year. Spinners or “plunking” with worms and/or PowerBait can be effective methods for fishing these lakes. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions and potential road closures. Remember to only keep trout at least 8-inches long, and only one trout over 20-inches per day.
LAKE SELMAC (Selmac Lake): Fishing for bass and panfish should be good, especially early and late in the day with warmer temperatures. Aquatic vegetation can be thick in some areas this time of year and anglers may have to adjust their fishing techniques.
LEMOLO RESERVOIR: Fishing has been a little slow. The lake is scheduled for stocking at the end of the month. Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of five 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.
LOON LAKE: Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass has been good. Slower presentations such as jigging can be a good technique. Loon was stocked with rainbow trout the week of May 20. Visit the Loon Lake Resort website for information on opening dates and camping. The BLM site will be closed due to storm damage.
PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: Bottomfishing is restricted to inside the 40-fathom regulatory line through September. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is five plus two lingcod.
The harvest of cabezon by boat anglers will close on Aug. 16. Shore anglers will still be able to harvest one cabezon per day.
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, 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 salmon fishing for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt is open. The ocean fin-clipped coho salmon is open until Aug. 25 or until we reach the quota of 90,000 fin-clipped coho. Chinook must be a minimum of 24-inches long and coho must be at least 16-inches. Fishing for salmon has been okay with Winchester being the most productive port on the coast. Anglers have been averaging one fish per person. As of August 4, ocean salmon anglers have caught 36.5 percent of the fin-clipped coho quota.
Albacore tuna have been caught 15 to 35 miles off shore from Charleston and Winchester Bay. Many boats have been bringing in 20 or more tuna each trip. A few dorado have also been caught while fishing for tuna.
The Southern Oregon Subarea is open seven days a week for halibut. There is still 85 percent of the quota remaining for the Southern Oregon Coast halibut season.
POWERS POND: Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and brown bullhead catfish are available year-round, and should be biting well on these warmer summer days, but aquatic vegetation can be thicker in the shallow areas. Try frog imitation lures and popping lures around weed lines, to entice the bass.
SIXES RIVER: Lower flows and warmer water has slowed trout fishing. Anglers fishing the estuary have been doing the best on cutthroat.
SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: Look for striped bass in the lower stretches of the river below Spencer Creek in the mainstem. Recent reports indicate some great fishing.
The river is open in the tidewater portions for Chinook. There should be a few lurking in the lower sections.
TENMILE CREEK: Some warmwater fish come out of the lakes, and can be caught in Tenmile Creek.
TENMILE LAKES: Bass fishing has been good on Tenmile Lakes. Anglers are catching most of the bass along the deeper weedlines and submerged trees. Topwater lures have been catching bass in the low light periods or even in the shade during the middle of the day.
Yellow perch fishing continues to be decent with anglers catching yellow perch along the edges of weedlines. Most of the fish are under 10-inches long but there are a few 12-inch plus fish being caught.
Trout anglers continue to troll for trout. Fishing has been slow on Tenmile Lakes but a few anglers are catching trout trolling deep water with wedding ring spinners.
TOKETEE LAKE: Fishing is open in Toketee year-round, but it’s currently pretty slow. Try fishing the upper end of the lake. Water levels can fluctuate making launching boats difficult so contact the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531 for lake level information.
UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: Recent reports have indicated some decent fishing at some of the high lakes. A small spinner or fly can be great choices. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions as lakes may still be difficult to access.
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.
Red Top Pond offers excellent bank fishing opportunities and was stocked at the end of May. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-size trout from previous stockings in these waterbodies. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: Some fall Chinook have been caught in the bay, and it should continue to improve as we get further into August. Please note there is no retention of unclipped coho salmon in the river, but fin-clipped coho is open in the river as part of your two adult salmon daily limit. The river regulations start at the tips of the jetties.
Bass fishing has been good in most of the main. Trout fishing reopened in May and is catch-and-release only, but in tributaries, two per day may be kept as long as they meet the 8-inch minimum length.
UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: There have been some reports of anglers catching summer steelhead, but it has been slow. The North closed to all fishing for Chinook on July 1. Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout (those above Slide Creek Dam): check the fishing regulations to see which areas are closed.
Note that as of July 1, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless, unweighted artificial fly.
UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: Some stretches of the South are closed to fishing still. Please consult the fishing regulations for more info. Trout fishing in the entire basin is catch-and-release only. Bass fishing has been good throughout.
WILLOW LAKE: Willow Lake has been stocked with trout; however, with surface temperatures at 80oF trout fishing is likely slow and anglers should concentrate in the deepest part of the lake. Fishing for bass and panfish is more likely to be productive and the lake clarity is good. The boat ramp at Willow Lake is open and the lake is 85 percent full.
WINCHESTER BAY: Fishing in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful.