2011 A Look Back

Well 2011 is quickly coming to an end, and what a strange year it’s been weather wise. We started with record precipitation, and are ending with a record lack of it. The fish didn’t go anywhere, but it did require a change of tactics no matter where or what you were fishing for.

2011 also marked the beginning of all of this, and what a great journey it’s been. This blog has opened up so many new doors for me that I would have never expected back in February. I’ve met plenty of new acquaintances in the fishing industry, and have even made a new fishing partner. So now let’s take a look back at how the year went…

The year started out great. To celebrate my birthday, my girlfriend and I went over to Brookings for the weekend, and snuck in a little fishing time. The bottom fish bite wasn’t hot, but we were able to get our limits on Tidewind Charter’s first trip of the year.

Jacque with a monster black rockfish

The springer season started just a few days later with the First Rogue Springer caught on Feb 25th.

Jim Mauie with the first Rogue Springer of ’11 caught at Rainie Falls

Then a week later the start of the record rains came, Blowing Out the rivers, and setting us up for an extremely high water year.

This is how the middle Rogue looked for much of March and April

On March 11th disaster struck home. As you all probably remember, Japan was struck by a massive earthquake, and resulting tsunami. The wave made its way across the Pacific, and hit Brookings & Crescent City the hardest.

With the high water on the Rogue it wasn’t until Mid-April that I did any serious fishing on the upper river. However, I managed to start my springer season off early, hooking and landing my first Upper Rogue springer on April 19th.

They don’t come much chromer than this in the upper Rogue

I had also joined the XFactor Tackle team that month, and it didn’t take long for me to find out just how good of a product it is. May 5th marked the day of my first limit of springers, and the XFactor Tackle egg clusters helped find that elusive second fish.

The extremely high water during May and June pushed everyone into the upper river, and caused what is normally shoulder to shoulder fishing to be even worse. I quickly tired of the crowds and decided it was Crappie Time.

What they lack in size they make up for in pure numbers. I enjoyed a few 100 fish days.

Even as the springer run was peaking I kept hitting the local lakes and ponds. It wasn’t until the end of June that the crowds thinned out a bit, and I finally hit the Upper Rogue again.

The high water kept the springers in excellent shape throughout the entire run

In July we still were at near record flows, but that didn’t stop the summer steelhead from showing up at the beginning of the month. It’s my favorite time of year to get into some hard hitting, and acrobatic fish.

My first summer slime rocket of ’11

August brought us the all time high flows on the Rogue, although it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was keeping the late springers in amazing condition, and brought the first fall fish into the middle Rogue extremely early. However, I was still targetting the summer steelhead, and trying out a new Shrimp Tail bait by XFactor Tackle.

2011 was also a year of monster fish. August saw this 84lb salmon hawgzilla caught in Canada…

Fall salmon fishing was hit and miss through out the run on the middle Rogue, but September saw some decent fishing. My most memorable day came fishing with guide Rob Yuen of Secret’s Guide Service.

Fall chrome fell to side drifted roe on a light steelhead set up

The river finally started getting back to normal flows during October. That’s also right during the middle of the flies only season for summer steelhead in the Upper Rogue. It’s one of the few runs I had never targetted before, but was able to find my first steelhead on a Float and Flies.

I also made my first trip down to the Upper Klamath for some fall salmon action, and boy was it choked full of fish. The salmon weren’t big, but who could complain about a 30 fish day between two of us.

My new fishing partner Jeff fighting one of the many salmon who hooked that day.

October also ended up being one of the busiest months for me fishing wise. I had the opportunity to fish with Jeff Wilkerson of Triple X Fishing, and tried my hand at making my first real video.

To make sure October went out with a bang, I took a trip with my buddy Phil Tripp, and guide Charlie Brown. On the second to last day of the month we put a hurting on a few middle Rogue summer steelies.

I already mentioned that 2011 was a year of big fish, but November was THE month. The Chetco fall salmon season opened on the 5th, and boy did it produce some monsters.

Jeff with a 45lber from the opener.
Guide Andy Martin with the largest fall salmon of the season weighing in at 67lbs

I didn’t get to wrangle with any monsters myself, but I did bring quite a few late summer steelhead to hand. My best day came fishing the upper Klamath with guide Scott Caldwell.

It was an extremely cold morning, but luckily the sun came out and warmed up the fish

All fall long we’ve had an extreme lack of precipitation, but it was most noticeable during December. We had a little rain the first couple days of the month, and then nothing until just the other day. Although it made the rivers extremely low and clear, the fishing remained decent. Both the late summer run fishing on the upper Rogue, and winter steelhead fishing on the coast produced fish all month long.

A mid-December summer run from the upper Rogue
Guide Andy Martin’s client with a winter steelhead from the Chetco

2011 is going out with the rivers dropping after our first decent winter storm. The start of 2012 will see the rivers dropping into prime shape, and fishing will be excellent. I hope all of you had a great year, and hopefully 2012 will be even better (unless the world comes to an end).

Stay tuned to the blog for some great things that will be happening in the new year.

Tight Lines & Happy New Year….

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