Rogue Valley anglers finally experienced their first taste of good winter steelhead fishing this past week. All of the local rivers from the Rogue, to the Chetco, to the Applegate were producing fish. Most of the rivers had started to get a little low by this weekend, but luckily another set of storms is moving across the region this week. When the rivers drop back into shape, look for your favorite stretch of river to provide plenty of action.
Upper Rogue– Last night’s storm has the Rogue on the rise today, and it’s expected to continue to rise through Friday. That may leave the only option to anglers as the section above Big Butte Creek. However, the Army Corps are slowing raising the outflow from Lost Creek Dam which may provide enough clear water to offset Big Butte Creek to make it fishable down to at least Elk Creek. Anglers plying the water of the Upper Rogue should find enough winter steelhead around to make it worth the shot. Fresh fish are entering the hatchery daily and as of the 25th of February, 282 winter steelhead have entered the collection pond.
Middle Rogue– After a strong week of fishing below Grants Pass, the Middle Rogue is on the rise once again. Flows are currently expected to crest Friday around 9000cfs. When flows first start to drop plunkers fishing the inside of gravel bars will do best. Once flows get down to a more manageable level, look for the fishing to be great through out the river. Most anglers will still concentrate below the mouth of the Applegate though, to be able to intercept fish heading back to there as well. Most of the steelhead caught this last week were very small in the 18 to 24 inch range, however, there are plenty of fish up to 12 pounds around. The first springer will also be coming out of Rainie Falls anytime now, if it hasn’t already been caught.
Lower Rogue– Fishing for winter steelhead had been good for plunkers and boat anglers fishing close to shore last week. They also saw their first springer action with around a half dozen being reported on Thursday. With word of the first pods of springers moving through, most anglers will likely be switching over to them from winter steelhead. When the river starts to drop you’ll want to target them in 4 to 8 feet of water, with whole anchovies on a Rogue Bait Rig the go-to offering. March is typically very spotty for springers with several slow days followed by a great day or two.
Applegate River– Last week saw some great reports coming from the Murphy area on the Applegate River for winter steelhead. Since then the river has dropped considerably and has been too low for good fishing. Things are changing today though, and the river is on a slow rise. It is expected to crest tomorrow just shy of 600cfs before dropping on Wednesday. Then Wednesday night it is forecast to rise again and crest Thursday night around 1300cfs. If that all pans out as predicted look for some excellent fishing to take place over the weekend. Winter steelhead are spread throughout the system, with another 42 fish captured Wednesday at the base of the dam.
Diamond Lake– Ice fishing for trout has been fair at Diamond Lake recently. Some large fish up to 24 inches have been caught. The ODFW is holding a family ice fishing workshop this weekend to teach the basics of how to do it, and how to be safe on the ice. Preregistration is required and more info can be found here: Learn to Ice Fish at Diamond Lake
Expo Ponds– The ponds were recently stocked with the trout from the Sportsman Show. Fishing has reportedly been slow, but some of the fish that were planted are quite large. The ponds are scheduled to receive another batch of 1500 legal sized trout sometime this week. The fish often take a day or two to get acclimated before coming on the bite. Small spinners are often best right after the fish have been stocked, while the Powerbait bite turns on after a few days.