Low Water Woes

Southern Oregon continues to be extremely dry and that has most winter steelhead anglers struggling to find fish. Luckily there may be a slight reprieve starting tomorrow as a series of storms is supposed to roll into the region. Just how much it raises the river is yet to be seen, but the NOAA Predictions are showing that most rivers will rise to a fishable level by Friday.

While the low water has local anglers struggling to find winter steelhead, those willing to drive have been fairing quite well. The mainstem Umpqua has been fishing well from the forks down to Sawyers Rapid. The Lower Rogue has also been kicking out fish, while the Middle Rogue below Galice is also starting to have a few show up.

Trophy Hatchery Winter Steelhead from the Umpqua River
Guides Charlie “Steelhead” Brown and Phil Tripp show off a trophy sized hatchery steelhead caught recently on the Umpqua River.

If the rivers rise as forecast we may finally see the first decent shot of winter steelhead show up in the Grants Pass area on the Rogue. Fishing below the mouth of the Applegate will most likely be best as those fish will be stacking up below the mouth. Boat anglers will want to either side drift eggs and yarn or pull plugs through the runs, while those fishing from the bank will find the best luck either drift fishing eggs or running plugs behind a side planer.

On the Umpqua both the North and South Forks are predicted to be fishable for at least a couple of days. Fishing for winter steelhead as the rivers drop should be excellent before they get too low again, and anglers are forced to move back into the mainstem.

The Chetco is also forecast to rise to about 2500cfs. That will have it fishing extremely well this weekend as it starts to drop again.

As the storms start to move in keep a close eye on the gauges. We need the rivers to take a decent jump up, and then you’ll want to fish them as they drop.

Tight Lines….


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