Last year it happened on the 25th of February. This year it happened 5 days earlier. The first springer of 2012 was caught on the lower Rogue yesterday marking the start of the most popular fishing season on the Rogue. When more details about the catch surface, I’ll be sure to update this post as I get them.
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The ODFW doesn’t put out predictions for returns to the Rogue, but things should be good this year. The Columbia River to our north is expected to have a banner year, so hopefully the Rogue follows in its path.
When you’ll want to start hitting the river will mostly depend on how the next couple of months plays out weather wise. Currently we’re on pace for an extremely low water year similar to 2010. When the water is low and warm, the springers will shoot up river. In 2010, almost the entire run had passed Gold Ray by the end of May, with the best fishing on the upper river happening during the second half of the month.
However, if the weather takes a 180, we could see things turn out a lot like last year. 2011 saw record flows, and as a result the springer run was delayed and more spread out. The best fishing in the upper Rogue didn’t happen until mid-June, and lasted into July. They also stayed in excellent shape much later into the year.
As a general rule springers move up river faster in low, warm flows, and migrate slower in high, cold flows. 51 degrees seems to be that magic number to speed up migration.
So here’s to the start of the 2012 Rogue River springer season. Let the mayhem begin!