There is year-round salmon, steelhead, trout and smallmouth bass in the Southwest Zone. Rainbow trout are stocked in the upper Rogue River and in lakes nestled among fir forests and wind-swept dunes. Big reservoirs provide fishing for trout and for thriving populations of largemouth bass, catfish, perch and crappie. Coastal bays serve as gateways to rich offshore reef fisheries, and miles of public beach allow anglers to fish for surfperch against a backdrop of rugged capes.
Lakes and ponds: five fish per day, open all year, no bait allowed above tidewater
Rivers and streams: two fish per day, open May 22-Oct. 31
Two adult salmon/steelhead per day (in aggregate), seasons vary – see regulations for the waterbody you’d like to fish
Both spring and fall Chinook fishing can be excellent in this zone. Look for good spring Chinook runs on the Umpqua and Rogue rivers from April through July. Fall Chinook and hatchery coho will return to these and other rivers beginning in August through October or November.
A unique salmon fishery in this zone is the wild coho fishery in Tenmile Lakes, which allows limited harvest of wild coho each fall.
The winter steelhead season kicks off in December on the Coos, Coquille, Tenmile, Umpqua, Rogue and several smaller rivers. The season typically lasts through April or May.
The Rogue River and the North Fork of the Umpqua Rivers host renowned summer steelhead runs beginning in July on the Rogue and May on the Umpqua. The outdoor writer Zane Grey popularized summer steelhead fishing on the Rogue in the late 1920s and early 30s.
Rainbow trout are stocked from February through May in lakes and ponds from the coast to higher elevations in the Cascades. Diamond Lake may be one of the best-known trout fisheries in the zone, but don’t overlook other stocked and scenic waterbodies.
If you prefer fishing moving waters, the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir is stocked at several locations throughout the summer.
The mainstem of the Umpqua River has a growing reputation as a world-class smallmouth bass fishery. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass can be found in many of the lakes and ponds in the Southwest Zone. Target these warmwater fish starting in April or May when water temperatures begin to warm and fish move into the shallows looking for food.