After receiving our first good rain since December of 2012, all of our Southern Oregon rivers dropped into perfect shape this past weekend. The crowds were out in full force, but there were plenty of winter steelhead around for everyone to get in on the action. The fishing slowed down a little Monday and Tuesday, but there are still fish to be caught. With showers in the forecast for the next week expect things to continue to be good.
Upper Rogue– There have only been a few reports of winter steelhead caught in the Upper Rogue thus far, however with 158 winter steelhead reaching the hatchery as of the 19th, it is worth a shot for anglers wanting to hit their favorite holes. Outflows from Lost Creek dam are sitting at 2300cfs currently which is perfect for most of the runs. Boat anglers will have the best success pulling plugs and side drifting roe, while bank anglers will want to drift yarn/corkie/roe combos or throw spinners and spoons. The entire river is open to the harvest of 1 wild steelhead a day and 5 a year.
Middle Rogue– The Middle Rogue finally received its first good shot of winter steelhead this weekend. Fish were caught everywhere from Gold Hill to Rainie Falls, however, most of the action is taking place below the mouth of the Applegate. Boat anglers are having success both side drifting and pulling plugs, while bank anglers are having success with all the usual techniques such as drifting eggs, throwing spinners, and running plugs behind a side planer. Look for things to continue to improve as more fish move upstream. March is typically the peak month on the Middle Rogue.
Lower Rogue– As the river has started to drop, the winter steelhead fishing has picked up near Gold Beach and Agness. Plunkers have been doing good fishing in close to the bank with small spin n glows, while boats have been doing good anchoring in shallow water and running plugs. There have been a lot of smaller steelhead around, but plenty in the 8 to 10 pound range as well. Fishing should continue to be good for a little while, with the showers in the forecast helping to keep the river up. The first springer of the year should be caught any day now as well.
South Umpqua– The crowds were out in full force over the weekend on the South Umpqua with 25 rigs parked at Lawson Bar alone. There seemed to be plenty of winter steelhead to go around however. Fishing slowed a lot Monday, but picked back up on Tuesday. Boat anglers are having the best luck side drifting small baits of eggs with pink or orange yarn, and some success running plugs. Bank anglers were doing well around Stanton Park and behind the casino running jigs under a float, and also drifting eggs. The predictions are calling for the river to rise slightly tomorrow, but drop right back into shape for the weekend. Anglers may only keep hatchery steelhead on the Umpqua, and the South fork gets most of the returns.