Spoonin’ for Summer Steelhead

For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you may remember me giving some advice on beating the heat with some Evening Fishing on the Rogue. Well Sunday I completely ignored my own advice and hit the river during the middle of the day. With it being a hot afternoon on the weekend I knew there would be a pretty big crowd on the river. I left the house with a few options up my sleeve to try and get into a summer steelhead or two.

Option 1 – My favorite fishing hole on the Rogue River has been unfishable since March due to the high water. It requires the river to be below 3ft on the Gold Ray gauge to even access it, and below 2.5ft to be the least bit fishable. With the gauge reading 2.9ft I decided to swing by and see how it looked just in case. Unfortunately I know the hole way to well and it was running too high to be fishable. So on to option 2 I went…

Option 2 – My second option is my favorite stretch of the Rogue to throw spinners and spoons. This stretch of river is located behind a locked gate that requires a key from the ODFW, however, anyone that requests it can get a key for access. It’s also happens to be a very popular spot for river boarders.  When I got down to the water the river boarders were out in force and they even had a metal rock band playing a concert. Luckily they take up the lower half of the run while the upper half was free for me to fish. I soon found out that summer steelhead apparently like multiple types of metal.

My first summer steelhead of the year caught on a spoon

I was casting my spoon up into the current letting it tumble down through the run. When it would get to about 45 degrees below me I would start swinging it across the current. As I did this for about the 20th time I felt what seemed to be a trout strike at the spoon as it was swinging across the seam. I let the spoon continue to flutter when WHAM! The chrome rocket attacked the spoon and immediately came out of the water for an aerial display. After a few more flips and a couple runs I slid my first summer steelhead of the year onto the beach. After a quick photo it was released to continue its journey as its adipose fin was intact marking that it was a wild fish.

All the comotion drew the attention of a couple fellow anglers, so my spot quickly became crowded. I decided to pack it up after a few more unseccesful casts, and head onto option 3.

My spoon caught jack salmon

Option 3 – I had never fished this next run, but knew it was a good spot for steelhead. After stumbling a 1/4 mile through the river I reached the very slight bend in the river. I started part way down from the head of the riffle and slowly started working my way down river casting my spoon the entire time. After fishing the entire stretch unsuccesfuly I decided to head up to the very top of the riffle before giving up. Again after about 20 casts in this spot my spoon was attacked while swinging across the current. Being thigh deep in the middle of the current I had to stumble my way down stream and towards the bank to be able to land the fish. As I finally made my way onto shore I slid the fish onto the grass. This time it was a small jack salmon instead of a steelhead. With retention of wild salmon allowed in this stretch of the Rogue I was able to keep the jack for a nice meal. After continuing to fish for a little while longer I decided to call it a day.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard has been “You can’t catch anything without your line in the water”, and it’s something you’ve got to live by if you’re a fisherman. No matter what time of day it is you’ve got to hit the water when ever you’ve got the free time. Who knows you may find something pulling on the other end of your line even though it’s not the “best” time for fishing.


I’ve been asked a couple times what kind of spoon I was using. It was a 1/3oz Hammered Little Cleo in silver and blue

The jack salmon with the Little Cleo spoon

  Tight Lines….

One thought on “Spoonin’ for Summer Steelhead

  1. Good job working through, or, thinking through your options. Looks like a couple of nice fish for your efforts. Thanks for sharing.

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