We’re into the last month of the 2013 springer season on the Upper Rogue and things are still holding strong. Flows have dropped considerably, and are down to 1500 cfs out of Lost Creek Dam. Despite the low flows and clear water, the springers are still biting aggressively.
Boats are having the best luck in the mornings, and eggs are still out fishing plugs. Back bouncing small clusters of eggs are the ticket in the low flows. The majority of the catch is still wild fish, which may now be kept below Dodge Bridge, but a few hatchery springers are still around. The jacks have also made an appearance, and are extremely aggressive towards eggs or spinners.
For July, a lot of the springers are still in excellent shape. The removal of Gold Ray and Savage Rapids Dams is definitely showing itself in the quality of fish we are receiving this late in the run. With nothing to impede their migration upstream, they are able to make it into the cool flows of the upper river, and stay brighter as a result. Reaching the cooler water faster also keeps their meat in much better quality.
The summer steelhead have also made a strong early showing. As of July 1st 111 have returned to the collection pond at Cole Rivers Hatchery. Summer Steelhead are extremely aggressive, and anglers have been catching them on an assortment of gear. From the bank spinners and spoons, or flies under a float are the most popular on the Rogue. They will also take a swung fly extremely well, especially in the evenings when the water is warmer. From a boat, small plugs are often the most effective technique.
As we move later into July look for catches to improve farther down river for springers. The stretch below Dodge Bridge will become the most popular, as the hatchery run winds down. The entire upper river will remain strong for Summer Steelhead, and continue to improve throughout the month.