Float and Flies for Rogue Steelhead

Salmon season is starting to wind down here on the Middle Rogue. That means switching over to summer steelhead for Rogue Valley anglers not wanting to make the long trek over to the coast or up to the Umpqua.

Float and flies setup

Summer steelhead fishing can be great this time of year with the spring and fall salmon spawning. You’ll want to target areas below the spawning salmon as the steelhead will be keying in on the eggs. Tail outs, and the heads of riffles just below spawning beds can produce multiple fish in a day.

Anglers fishing above the old Gold Ray dam site are restricted to artificial flies only. You may fish them with any rod and reel provided you use no additional weights or attachments except for a float.

If you’re like me and prefer to use braided main line, there are still ways to get around not using a swivel. Knots like the “Double Uni” can be used to directly attach braided line to mono.

This time of year single egg patterns will produce the best. You’ll want to use a large bead head fly, such as an ugly bug, to get your offerings down. Then for your droppers you can use one or two single egg patterns. Any shades of orange, pink, and red will work. As we get later into October white will also be a good color as the dead eggs get washed out of the gravel.

Another view. Use about 18 inches of line between each fly

A selection of flies and beads that work well for steelhead.

Anglers fishing below the old Gold Ray dam site can use any type of conventional gear. The above setup is still very popular and productive, but you’ve got more tools at your disposal.

Drift fishing yarn balls can be very deadly. A lot of people like to soak these in scents or even left over juice from cured eggs. XFactor Tackle mini egg clusters, or small pieces of actual roe, are also extremely effective. Finally, don’t forget to bring along your spoons, spinners and plugs as well. They will always produce steelhead even if they are keying in on eggs.

Tight Lines….

2 thoughts on “Float and Flies for Rogue Steelhead

  1. @ Jeff – I actually made sure to include that for you because I remember you mentioning it.

    I believe the float is about 1/2. Basically you want to use the smallest one you can cast. If I’m using a spinning rod I like to use a small cork float.

    Steelhead will definitely hit all 3 flies. One of the most popular and productive flies is a variation of the top fly in my picture. It’s an all black body with either an orange or pink bead head. Unfortunately sportsmans was all sold out when I stopped in there the other day.
    Targeting areas below salmon spawning areas is definitely best. Tou velle can be good, as well as around Valley of the Rogue State Park. The hatchery can also be very productive. Its pretty much anywhere salmon are spawning.

    Below Gold Hill can be very good. The salmon start spawning a little later is all, which should be anytime now. The regs are just in place to protect the springers since they will sit in those holes all summer and are very easily harassed. It wad also pushed through by anti bait groups from what I hear.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I’ve been wondering how to use my level-line for float+flies.

    What size float is that? 1/2 oz?

    How do you load three leaders in a row without using swivels? Do you just rig it up like a series of three trailing hooks on one single leader?

    Are you using the flies mostly in lieu of weights? Or do you actually hope fish will strike the flies as well as the yarn ball or single egg pattern?

    Should anglers target salmon spawning areas, such as the one below the Tou Velle bridge? Is the hatchery productive?

    Is most of the steelhead action above the Gold Hill area? My intuition tells me that there it isn’t productive below Gold Hill (simply based on the reg restrictions)?

    Thanks again.

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