River Outlook

ROGUE - Winter steelhead fishing has slowed down riverwide as low and clear conditions have slowed migration of steelhead and made holding fish a little leader-shy. No decent weather reports are on the immediate horizon, so skipping the Super Bowl to steelhead fish doesn't seem worth it even for soccer fans.

The best bet seems to be the Galice area of the middle Rogue, where fishing has been spotty on holding fish. Guides are clearly out-producing private driftboaters. The winter steelhead seem to be kegged in a few areas, with lots of dead water between them. Small roe clusters and K-11 Kwikfish have worked equally well in the Ennis Riffle area. Eight-pound leader, or even 6-pound, would work now. What fish are getting caught have been big, with plenty over 10 pounds, which is good for the Rogue.

The problem is low and clear water, with flows at Grants Pass down to 2,600 cubic feet per second and dropping through the weekend. The best catches seem to be at first light, which defies winter steelhead fishing's traditional bankers' hours.

About three out of four of the steelhead now are wild fish, and only one a day over 24 inches can be kept by anglers fishing downstream of the Hog Creek boat ramp. Water upstream of Hog Creek will open Sunday to the killing of one wild steelhead over 24 inches a day, and up to five a year, all the way to Cole Rivers Hatchery.

Bank anglers are not faring very well now, with the lower and clearer water making plunking and side-planing somewhat ineffective until flows rise and the water colors. Places like Griffin Park and Ennis Riffle remain slow.

The lower Rogue winter steelhead success has slowed to next to nothing. Flows at Agness were down to 3,800 cfs and dropping. Though conditions looked good last weekend, there was a strange dearth of fresh steelhead from Agness downstream to Huntley Park. Look for plunkers to get busy on the next freshet.

In the upper Rogue, early winter steelhead fishing remains slow and migration over Gold Ray Dam has all but halted. Through Jan. 18, 407 winter steelhead had been counted over Gold Ray Dam. Roe and plugs are the mainstays for the upper Rogue winter steelhead run, with fish concentrated in slower water, tailouts and near the mouths of creeks.

ILLINOIS - A few steelhead are being caught near Briggs Creek and at Eight Dollar Bridge, but the river remains low and very clear. Small blue-and-silver spoons and 6-pound leader are a decent bet. No bait is allowed.

UMPQUA - Winter steelhead fishing has slowed for most of the system, but water conditions are better than in other basins. Flows in the South Umpqua are in the lower range for decent fishing, but the South Umpqua already has decent numbers of steelhead scattered in the river. Fishing with small bait clusters or yarn balls has been good.

For the North Umpqua, winter steelhead fishing has been fair, with flows of 3,360 cfs at Winchester Dam not helping.

In the mainstem Umpqua, plunking around Elkton remains fair with Spin-Glo's and sandshrimp, if you can find live ones. Because of smolt loss in the 2007 releases, this year's returns of hatchery winter steelhead will be light basinwide. All wild steelhead throughout the system must be released unharmed.

The estuary has been pretty slow for sturgeon.

COQUILLE - Winter steelhead fishing has slowed way down as the water has dropped and cleared. Steelhead are holding in deeper holes, where they are getting pounded by anglers with roe or jigs under bobbers.

ELK/SIXES - Both systems were low and fishing poorly for winter steelhead. New rains are needed to jump-start the fishery. Anglers can telephone the hatchery at 541-332-7025 for daily river heights and water color.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to steelhead fishing, and flows have remained low and clear. No winter steelhead have reached the Applegate trap near the dam, and what little angling activity there is on the Applegate is along the lower section downstream of Fish Hatchery Park.

CHETCO - The river was down to 780 cfs Wednesday, and that's ground boat angling virtually to a halt. Some bank anglers using 8-pound leader and single-egg yarn patterns have fared all right drift-fishing deeper holes, but they are making many casts between bites.

HUNTER CREEK - The flows are extremely low and winter steelhead fishing is slow.

TENMILE CREEK - No fresh winter steelhead have made it up to the trap at Tenmile Lakes.

Share This Story