River Outlook

ROGUE - Spring chinook and summer steelhead continue to pour over Gold Ray Dam in decent numbers. The lower Rogue has been decent for early-run fall chinook, but the middle Rogue continues to be something of a dud.

The combination of springers and early-run summer steelhead make the upper Rogue the best bet this weekend, but think more steelhead than salmon these days, simply because the summer steelhead are more active and you don't have to get up so early to catch them.

Through July 14, the most recent count available from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 10,608 spring chinook have crossed Gold Ray Dam. A few hundred chinook a day are showing up there, and that's a decent end-of-the-run showing, considering how poor the run has been so far. But flows of 2,700 cubic feet per second out of Lost Creek dam and the hot weather have slowed chinook movement once they reach the upper Rogue. Bank fishing is slow at the Hatchery Hole, and few fish entered Cole Rivers Hatchery last week.

The best bet for upper Rogue spring chinook fishing remains driftboat fishing upstream of Rogue Elk Park, where catches are fair to good on roe and Kwikfish early in the morning.

Evening fishing for summer steelhead is picking up now that 1,751 steelhead have been counted over Gold Ray Dam as of July 14. That's better than this time last year. Many of the fish are small, 16-19 inchers that are on their first spawning runs. That might indicate improved ocean-survival rates on steelhead.

Steelhead prefer the fast, oxygen-laced waters. They're hitting crayfish plugs, small Kwikfish, worms, roe and even the occasional streamer fly.

Summer steelhead fishing is light in the middle Rogue, where evening fly-casters can work Merlin-area riffles with streamers and sink-tip lines.

In the lower Rogue, decent early trolling for fall chinook continued this week, but the warm river water has discouraged the chinook from moving upstream. About a dozen fish are getting caught daily, sprinkled among a bay fleet of about 20 boats per day at the heaviest. Some fish already have eclipsed 45 pounds. Large anchovies trolled with blades is the offering of choice.

The far upper Rogue's regular trout-stocking is close to normal, but downed trees continue to befuddle stocking at Hamaker. Worms, single salmon eggs and most nymph flies are working well for the stocked trout.

UMPQUA - In the main-stem, shad fishing is falling off. Smallmouth bass fishing is starting to pick up from Scottsburg up to the forks. Sturgeon fishing is slow in the bay.

The North Umpqua remains fair to good for spring chinook and early-run summer steelhead. Into early July, the Winchester Dam counting station has seen about 6,000 spring chinook and about 2,700 summer steelhead. Only adipose fin-clipped steelhead can be kept on the North Umpqua. The North Umpqua is open to catch and release trout fishing from the mouth upstream to Soda Springs Dam.

Smallmouth bass fishing is very good in the South Umpqua, with plugs and flies working well in the warming waters.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing, and anglers are finding some rainbows and cutthroats now that flows have steadied at a hair above 300 cubic feet per second out of the reservoir. All wild trout and all cutthroats must be released unharmed.

CHETCO - The Chetco River system is open to trout fishing, and cutthroat trout are getting far in the lower part of the river as well as the far upper area. Flows remain low and warm.

COQUILLE - Some cutthroat trout are being caught in tidewater. Upstream fishing for trout remains slow. A few sturgeon were caught last week in tidewater.

DESCHUTES - Trout fishing is improving on the lower Deschutes upstream from White River with the warmer temperatures, but high water levels continue to hamper success. Salmonflies have been observed from Warm Springs downstream. Trout anglers should be successful using nymphs along with salmonflies, but anglers should also be watchful for mid-day hatches.

Spring chinook fishing below Sherars Falls has been good when water conditions permit. Anglers are being most successful fishing the plunking holes. As the water level drops angling should continue to be consistently good.

KLAMATH - The Klamath River from J.C. Boyle Dam to the J.C. Boyle Powerhouse is very good for catching redband trout. Most redband trout in this section range from 6-12 inches. The Klamath River below the Powerhouse is fair for redband trout 10-14 inches.

Lures and flies imitating minnows and leeches work well.

WILLIAMSON - Flows are high and fishing for redband trout is slow in the upper end, while fishing for rainbow trout in the lower end is improving now that more fish are moving into the river from Klamath Lake.

WOOD - Flows are dropping in the lower Wood and that's helping improve fishing for brown trout and Klamath Lake trout now moving into the lower river. Chub-looking plugs and flies are working best.

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