Despite the current drought we’re facing here in Southern Oregon, winter steelhead continue to enter the rivers. Things may also be looking up, as the forecasts predict a winter storm to finally arrive sometime Sunday. If there’s enough precipitation to raise and warm the rivers, we could be in for some excellent fishing next week.
|Chetco chromer by guide Andy Martin|
Chetco – The Chetco is currently low, very clear, and crowded. Despite all of this, fresh winter steelhead continue to get caught everyday. Fishing isn’t hot, but most boats are able to pick up a couple of steelhead a day. Your best chances are to try and escape the crowd, and side drift small baits on long leaders. Things should pick up Monday, as the river is forecast to rise a bit and hopefully also get some color. If it does Tuesday will be prime. Rogue Valley anglers should keep a close eye on the river gauge, and be able to leave at a moments notice.
Lower Rogue – Plenty of winter steelhead continue to move through the lower part of the Rogue despite the low and cold conditions. Those finding fish have been targeting migration lanes that are around 6ft deep. Boats are anchoring up with small plugs like k9x or k11x Kwikfish, while bank anglers are plunking with small spin n glows both with and without bait. You are currently allowed to keep one wild steelhead a day, and up to 5 a year, over 24 inches long from the lower Rogue.
Middle Rogue – Winter steelhead are showing up in fishable numbers, and a few guides have had some decent days with multiple fish. The best action is coming from around the Galice area, but there are fish above that. Just like everywhere, else the middle Rogue is low and clear which means side drifting small baits, or pulling small plugs will produce the best. A few fish are also being caught on jigs under a float. If the storms moving in raise and warm the water look for things to really take off in this stretch. We should also be seeing the first fish in the Gold Hill area soon, and rain will definitely help that. Anglers are allowed to keep 1 wild steelhead a day, and up to 5 a year below Hog Creek boat ramp currently.
|The middle Rogue is seeing an infusion of winter chrome like this big buck by guide Charlie “Steelhead” Brown|
Upper Rogue – Things have really slowed down in the upper part of the Rogue. Most of the effort has moved down to the middle river or to the coast, but a few summer steelhead and coho remain. Side drift small baits of roe, or small plugs to get into both. The winter steelhead don’t start showing up until February, so anglers will have a couple more weeks of slow action before fresh fish move in.
Applegate – No signs of winter steelhead have been seen yet in the Applegate River. The river is so low currently that fish aren’t able to move in. The first storm that is will hit us on Sunday isn’t predicted to raise the river at all, so we’ll most likely have to continue waiting. Once the river does raise, the first batch of winter steelhead will enter the river, and anglers will want to hit the lower section. The Applegate tends to fish best when it’s dropping and between 1300cfs and 800cfs on the Wilderville gauge.