First 2012 Southern Oregon Fishing Report

I realized I’ve been slacking recently with the weekly fishing reports. We finally received the much needed rain we’ve been waiting for, and it has the rivers in excellent shape. Winter steelhead are plentiful every where along the coast, and the crowds have followed.

A chrome late king by guide Todd Puett from the Chetco

Chetco – Winter steelhead fishing is in full swing, and there are still a few bright kings around. With the good fishing has come extremely crowded conditions. Even with all the pressure anglers are still averaging a couple of fish per boat. Side drifting roe, pulling plugs, and jigs under a bobber are all effective methods to get into fish. With no rain in the forecast the river will continue to drop and clear, making things a little more difficult by the start of next week.

Lower Rogue – Fishing for winter steelhead was good as the river started to drop after the rain. Plunkers were finding plenty of large, chrome fish plunking along the gravel bars. The river has started to level out though, which will slow things down. Side drifting will become a better option, but plunking will still produce as the steelhead migrate upstream. Just like the rest of the region there’s no rain in sight, so things will continue to only be fair until we get another shot of precipitation.

Guide Andy Martin found a few hatchery brats on the Chetco.

Middle Rogue – The first winter steelhead have started making their way into the section below Grants Pass, and the Galice area. The lower you go the better chance you have at getting into one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an early fish up near Grants Pass. With the low and cold flows side drifting small bits of roe, or pulling plugs will be your best bet.

Upper Rogue – After the rain, the late summer steelhead have mostly moved out of the main river. However, a few hatchery summer runs and wild coho still remain for anglers not wanting to travel far from Medford. Side drifting small bits of roe and pulling plugs have been producing about equally. The first winter runs won’t start showing up until February, so it’s mostly a waiting game while hoping for rain to get the fish on the move.

Applegate – A decent shot of late summer steelhead moved into the river for the opener on the 1st. There still haven’t been any signs of chrome winter runs, but a few bright summer steelhead were caught. The river is extremely low, so the winter fish will be staging near the mouth for that next shot of rain.

Elk River –  The Elk River fished extremely well after the rain for both winter steelhead, and fall kings. Things will be slowing down with no rain in sight, but there will still be fish present for those wanting to make the trip.

This 12lb steelhead caught by guide Scott Caldwell on the upper Klamath is a monster for this section of river.

Upper Klamath (N. Cali) – Late summer steelhead fishing was excellent to start the new year. Guide Scott Caldwell had one of his best days of this season’s run on the 3rd. He boated over 8 adult steelhead including his boat’s largest fish ever from that stretch of river. The fish weighed in at 12 lbs. That may not seem huge to most steelhead anglers, but this stretch of the Klamath almost never sees a steelhead breaking into double digits. Pulling small plugs has been producing the best for adult steelhead.

Here’s to hoping for more of that wet stuff.

Tight Lines….

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