River Outlook

ROGUE - A few winter steelhead are being caught by bank anglers in the lower Rogue, while the middle Rogue has seen a few straggler winter steelhead this week, upper Rogue anglers are working over a fresh set of retread steelhead, and some late-run fish are still trickling over Gold Ray Dam. That makes the upper Rogue the best bet for now, but look for that to change once this storm front moves through.

Conditions in the upper Rogue remain low and cold, but 500 recycled steelhead released Friday at the TouVelle State Park boat ramp have added some spice to the mix. These fish are favoring flies and small lures like Panther Martins. The steelhead are spread out in shallow water, but look for them to be on the move when the river swells from upcoming rains.

The upper Rogue has seen 7,451 summer steelhead over Gold Ray Dam as of Saturday. Also, 8,607 coho have been counted at the dam, but they are such notoriously poor biters in fresh water that there might as well be 86.07 of them here. A few will bite bright red flies or lures in the sand hole or the hatchery hole, but that's about it.

Flows out of Lost Creek Lake remained at 1,360 cubic feet per second. Expect that to hold pretty steady despite upcoming rains.

The river downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp remains open to flies and artificial lures only. That, however, still allows the side-drifting of egg flies using regular spinning rods and weights. That action remains good, especially in shallow tail-outs downstream from spawning beds. Scent on your yarn flies always helps. Also, plug fishing should be good from driftboats during the day.

The middle Rogue is fair for a few early-run winter steelhead along the Grave Creek mouth and in a few of the deeper holes around Rand and Galice. The early fish are bright and they are eating night crawlers and watermelon corkies or puffballs.

Flows were up to 4,000 cfs at Agness, giving plunkers plenty of activity for winter steelhead. Use pearl-pink Spin-Glo's or those Spin-Glo's with the mylar wing. As water rises, go to the No. 2 size and crimp closer to the bank. Try Huntley Park, Lobster Riffle and Dunkelberger Bar. Fish close to shore. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed river-wide.

UMPQUA - The river was high and muddy and more rain is forecast in the next few days. When conditions improve, look for fresh steelhead throughout the South Umpqua. Bank anglers will do well first, then driftboaters. As the fish move into the South Umpqua, bankies should fare best at places like Templeton Beach, near the Myrtle Creek bridge, Stanton Park and behind Seven Feathers Casino.

COQUILLE - Water levels were way up and far out of shape for steelhead fishing this week. Flows on the South Fork were close to bank-high on Wednesday, and low-elevation flooding was forecast for this week. When the water drops, look for very good winter steelhead fishing from Powers down to the head of tide. A few sturgeon have been caught this week around the city of Coquille as the fish are drawn by dirty water. The sturgeon will drop down toward Prosper as water conditions clear.

CHETCO - A combination of late-run fall chinook and early winter steelhead should keep anglers busy this weekend between storm fronts. When the river drops and clears around Friday, driftboaters should be all over winter steelhead. Eggs are out-fishing plugs, but don't skip plugs in migration lanes when the water is a bit colored. Steelhead in the 20-plus-pounds range have been caught somewhat regularly this season. Flows Wednesday were at 8,250 cfs — way too high for driftboating, but the color was OK for plunking with Spin-Glo's.

ELK/SIXES - Good fishing conditions are expected by Friday on both streams. Fall chinook fishing is winding down, but some fresh late-run chinook are expected with this latest storm. More steelhead than salmon are being caught. Driftboat anglers are doing best side-drifting roe. The Elk fishes best at the 5-foot gauge height and dropping. For the latest river level, telephone the Elk River Hatchery at 541-332-7025.

APPLEGATE - The river opens for steelhead fishing Jan. 1.

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