After being fly fishing only for the past two months, the Upper Rogue is about to open back up to the use of bait and lures for summer steelhead and coho salmon. Starting Saturday November 1st anglers may use bait and lures again above the Shady Cove boat ramp. Below Shady Cove anglers may use any type of lure, however, the use of bait is still prohibited. The month of November often produces some of the best fishing of the year, as these fish haven’t seen eggs, plugs, or spoons for a long time.
The month of October has seen some excellent days for fly fisherman chasing after summer steelhead, which means there are already plenty of fish in the Upper Rogue. The Middle Rogue has also been fishing very well. Thanks to recent rains more steelhead, and even a few silvers are making their way up. 1,328 summer steelhead, and 5 coho salmon have already reached the hatchery. With quite a bit more rain than last year, things are setting up for a great November on the upper river. Fresh fish should continue to pour in, providing great fishing all month long.
For anglers fishing above Shady Cove, eggs will be the bait of choice for steelhead. From the bank both fishing it under a bobber, and drift fishing will produce the most fish. Casting spoons and spinners is also a good choice, especially when more silvers start to show up. From a boat, side drifting eggs is the go-to method, with plugs a distant second.
Anglers fishing below Shady Cove will be restricted and have fewer options due to it still being closed to bait. From the bank spoons and spinners are typically the most productive. From a boat plugs often produce the most fish, with side drifting yarn balls also sometimes effective.
This year a lot of the catch has been smaller steelhead thus far thanks to a stellar half pounder run last year. All of the half pounders that came into the river in 2013 are now returning as 2 to 4 pound adults, and are dominating the catch. There are still a few larger adults in the 5 to 10 pound range in the mix, however there definitely seem to be fewer than in recent years. Coho numbers are also expected to be up this year thanks to large runs all across the Northwest. The typical peak of that run is the second half of November around Thanksgiving.