Just as expected, last weekends rain event brought the rivers up, and with it the chrome followed. Rogue Valley anglers that timed the dropping rivers right got their first taste of winter steelhead without having to drive too far.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday saw some good action for most boats floating the South Umpqua near Canyonville. The river was a little colored up Tuesday, but at a perfect level. It then continued to drop and clear and catches of fresh winter steelhead improved for those side drifting eggs. That section of river is now becoming to low to float safely, but could still remain good for bank anglers through the weekend. Those wanting to float the river will have to move to sections below Cow Creek or Myrtle Creek, and by next week most of the action will have moved back to the mainstem Umpqua. Most of the catch remains wild fish which must be released, however, a few hatchery steelhead are around.
The Rogue, on the other hand, has been disappointing even after the rain. At Grants Pass the river barely rose, which didn’t draw in as many winter steelhead as expected. A few fish are present though, with most of the action coming from around Galice. The Lower Rogue has been best, but it’s a long drive with better options closer. As fish do move up, expect them to start stacking up below the mouth of the Applegate. Fish destined for it aren’t able to move up into it, due to the extremely low flows. Anglers fishing the Upper Rogue may also luck into a fresh winter steelhead as the hatchery has already received 17 of them. Wild steelhead retention is currently only open below Hog Creek at 1 per day/5 a year, and the entire river is open to the use of bait.
Anglers from the Rogue Valley willing to make a drive will also find winter steelhead in the Chetco River. It has been dropping fast, but has been seeing decent catches every day since the rain. There has been a lot of traffic on it, which has kept catches lower than what they could be. Most fish are being caught side drifting eggs, however, plugs have also been producing a few fish. As the water continues to drop expect it to be too low to float by next week, but fishing will remain ok for bank anglers.