River Outlook: July 22, 2010

ROGUE - The lower Rogue's spring chinook fishing slowed this week amid unfavorable tides and strong winds, while summer steelhead and spring chinook salmon have upper Rogue anglers dividing their time between the two species. The middle Rogue is mired in its usual mid-July slump, but things should improve this weekend as suspended work at Gold Ray Dam means the river downstream of the dam will have cleared up.

That leaves the upper Rogue as the best bet for the weekend, but that's just by a hair over the lower Rogue bay.

The upper Rogue has a good mix of steelhead and spring chinook, with springers still the top draw. The float from Cole Rivers Hatchery to Rogue Elk Park remains the best for springers. Boat anglers are doing better on plugs than with roe.

Flows out of Lost Creek were down to 2,205 cubic feet per second as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dropped the surface level at Lost Creek Lake, which is about 15 feet shy of full.

Bank fishing for spring chinook is a bit slow. Bankies at the Hatchery Hole are catching a handful of springers a day, and most anglers there are focusing on summer steelhead. The Chief Hole and Casey State Park are getting a few fish at first light, usually with glow-in-the-dark corkies. Red and green beads also have done well for bankies. Driftboaters are finding success with a mix of back-bouncing roe and sardine-wrapped Kwikfish. Chartreuse with a red pattern has been good, with more K-15s getting used than other sizes.

Anglers fishing upstream of Dodge Bridge remain relegated to catch-and-release of wild spring chinook. To avoid catching wild fish, spend less time on traditional holes and focus on migration lanes and the inside turns of gravel bars. However, migration has slowed in recent days, so there aren't as many fish on the move as earlier in the season.

Due to work on Gold Ray Dam, boat aren't allowed within 1,000 feet upstream of the dam and 500 feet below it. Those fishing downstream of the dam have had mixed success early in the morning, but the river can get turbid very quickly if construction crews are working.

The Gold Ray Dam counts have not been updated since June 28 because the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish counter took another job. As of June 28, 16,416 spring chinook had crossed the dam, which eclipsed the total count here over each of the past four years.

Summer steelhead are showing up throughout the upper Rogue, and more anglers are targeting them on evening floats. They'll hit a variety of baits, from roe and worms to streamer flies, nymphs, small spinners and smaller crayfish-patterned plugs. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed river-wide.

Fall chinook fishing in the lower Rogue bay was very good over the weekend, but mid-day tides and winds slowed the catches Tuesday and Wednesday. At least 40 fish were caught Sunday morning, with several fish in the 30-plus pound class. Most of the chinook have been caught in the lower end of the bay and by trolling deep. Fish in the middle of the water column weren't biting well. Spinners and sardines are the most common offerings, largely because anchovies are tough to come by. The bay remains full of bait fish, so it's hard to get your bait to stand out.

The middle Rogue is slow for spring chinook, largely because the fish don't seem to be holding anywhere consistently.

The far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir is stocked weekly with legal-sized rainbow trout.

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua, North Umpqua and mainstem are producing smallmouth. The South Umpqua and its tributaries are open from Jackson Creek downstream to the mouth. The mainstem Umpqua is open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Chinook fishing in the North Umpqua closes Saturday, July 31.

COQUILLE - The river is open and the first fall chinook should be showing soon in the lower portion of the river.

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