River Outlook

ROGUE - Spring chinook fishing has slowed in the lower Rogue and been hit-and-miss in the middle Rogue, while the first few springers of the season have made it to the upper Rogue. And all the while, winter steelhead fishing has slowed dramatically.

That leaves the best bet Pearce Riffle and the waters just below the deadline at Savage Rapids Dam. The dam's fish ladder has been unusable for the past two weeks as construction crews build a coffer dam to allow them to remove Savage Rapids Dam. That means the spring chinook migration is stalled at the dam. Anglers report hitting fish on occasion, but most believe that spring chinook seem to be getting through the dam's radial gates despite intense velocity.

Those fishing from the bank downstream of the dam are hitting springers on various colored beads. Powerboaters are running Kwikfish wrapped with sardine fillets.

In the lower Rogue, the low and clear water conditions have slowed the spring chinook bite. Guides, however, are still picking up a few fish each day scattered throughout the lower eight miles of the Rogue. Most are fishing in slightly deeper water and in migration lanes.

Bank fishing in the lower Rogue for spring chinook has been almost non-existent under these conditions.

The flows at Agness were down to 3,100 cubic feet per second Wednesday, and that water is so clear that it has the springers pretty well spooked. However, flows are forecast to improve and that might trigger a little flurry of springer activity this weekend. The best catches are coming on anchovies with green spinner blades in front.

The upper Rogue has more than 5,000 winter steelhead spread out from Gold Ray Dam to Cole Rivers Hatchery, and only 59 spring chinook salmon so far. None of the springers have reached the hatchery yet.

Steelhead fishing is slow and most of the catches are spawned-out kelts that should be released unharmed. Fishing has been very hit-and-miss, with a few anglers hitting steelhead on K-11 Kwikfish under willows and around submerged boulders. Some side-drifting of roe, yarn balls or pink plastic worms has worked in deeper glides. Bank fishing has remained slow, though.

Flows are a bit of a problem. With just 1,647 cubic feet per second coming out of Lost Creek dam on Wednesday, higher releases are needed to boost and color the river into a more fishing-friendly condition.

Anglers are allowed to keep one wild steelhead a day over 24 inches long riverwide. The annual limit on wild steelhead is five per year. All wild spring chinook must be released unharmed now.

ILLINOIS - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua is fishing fairly and occasionally for spring chinook, with catches best on warmer water days.

Fishing for springers is better when the water temperature increases than when it decreases. The chinook are starting to spread out fairly well in the mainstem.

The North and South Umpquas were low but still in decent shape for winter steelhead fishing, though the vast majority of the fish getting caught now are spawned-out kelts. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed in the basin.

Sturgeon fishing in the estuary remains slow, as does fishing for striped bass.

COQUILLE - Winter steelhead fishing has tapered off significantly, even in the South Fork. Most of the fish are spawned out and of poor quality.

State fish biologists have begun a steelhead radio-telemetry project and will be tagging both hatchery and wild steelhead for the next four months. All radio-tagged steelhead must be released alive.

ELK/SIXES - Both rivers are closed to steelhead fishing.

APPLEGATE - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.

CHETCO - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.

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