The weather this week sure has it feeling more like spring than winter right now. Don’t let that fool you though, as the winter steelhead run is still going strong. Catches haven’t been great lately, but there are enough fish spread throughout all the systems to give you a chance at hooking something. Currently the best bet is to stay close to home and hit the water you know best. Also don’t forget about our Winter Steelhead Giveaway that’s currently going on for a chance to win yourself some free gear.
|Guide Andy Martin found this limit of winter
steelhead by pulling plugs on the Chetco.
Chetco – Anglers aren’t finding spectacular fishing on the Chetco, but fresh steelhead continue to be caught. The river had dropped very low, but is currently on the rise with the rain we are receiving today. Flows are expected to level off tomorrow night at around 1600cfs, which should make Sunday an excellent day to hit the water. Plugs had been out producing side drifting, but look for both to be good after this rain.
Upper Rogue – Early winter steelhead continue to move into the upper Rogue, and anglers are finding some success. Over 200 winter runs have reached the holding pond at Cole Rivers hatchery which is a great showing for this early in the season. Flows out of Lost Creek Dam had dropped to 1700cfs today, but as I write this they are already back up to 1850 in anticipation of rain. The Army Corps had planned to have flows down to 1300cfs by Sunday, which if they do, will make things much tougher. Both pulling small plugs like the k9x Kwikfish, and side drifting small yarn balls will be the best bets to get into fish in the low flows. The winter steelhead run doesn’t start to peak in the upper river until March, and the best catches usually come in April. The entire length of the Rogue is also open to the harvest of 1 native steelhead a day, and 5 a year.
Middle Rogue – Fishing for winter steelhead has been a bit sporadic this week below Grants Pass. One day boats will find multiple fish, and then the next they can’t buy a bite. The fishing has been picking up the last couple of days as the water temperature has risen almost 6 degrees since Tuesday. That will have the steelhead on the move, and also make them more aggressive. Most anglers are concentrating on the stretch just below the mouth of the Applegate, as the big push of fish should be arriving any time. Boat anglers are finding success both side drifting night crawlers and roe, and pulling plugs. Bank anglers seem to be having the best luck intercepting fish with plugs behind side planers, and also drifting small baits of roe. Flows are predicited to jump up to 3500cfs from the current 2450 at Grants Pass, but that may not happen as it seems the majority of the rain has missed us to the south.
|A few chromers were caught this week on the middle Rogue like this one from Wednesday by guide Charlie Brown.|
Lower Rogue – Good catches of winter steelhead continue to happen for fishermen on the lower Rogue. Bank anglers are finding fish by plunking small spin n glows from the gravel bars. Boat anglers are finding steelhead by pulling plugs, and side drifting. Expect flows to jump up a little with the current rains. As soon as the river starts to drop, you’ll want to be out there wetting a line.
Applegate – There hasn’t been a lot of action yet on the Applegate. Despite being in great shape all week, there weren’t a lot of winter steelhead around yet. The run typically starts to peak in the next week or two, so look for catches to start in improving. As of this week no steelhead had reached the trap below the dam.
|Guide Ben Bansen’s team found this large buck during the
20th annual Umpqua Fisheries Enhancement Derby.
South Umpqua – Fishing continues to be decent on the South Umpqua for winter steelhead. The 20th annual Umpqua Fisheries Enhancement Derby was held last weekend, and although it saw tremendous catches, it put a bit of a damper on the fishing this week. The best success continues to come from the stretch near the casino by anglers both side drifting and pulling plugs. The river is predicted to rise to 3000cfs, but that will all depend on just how much rain falls. Expect fishing to be excellent if it does rise slightly.