River Outlook: June 24, 2010

ROGUE - The lower Rogue has been a mix of late-run spring chinook, a few early fall chinook and some summer steelhead, while the middle Rogue has been a bit erratic for spring chinook and the upper Rogue has been a decent mix of bank and boat fishing for springers scattered from Gold Ray Dam to Cole Rivers Hatchery.

That makes the upper Rogue the best bet this weekend, as water levels finally stabilize after earlier rains caused yo-yoing of water levels that did not help keep a strong springer bite going.

Flows out of Lost Creek are back under 2,000 cubic feet per second as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers passes close to inflow at Lost Creek Lake, which remains a hair under full. That means flows could still fluctuate enough to put already finicky springers off the bite.

The better fishing for springers has been upstream of Shady Cove, where bank and driftboat anglers are seeing catches improve after a lackluster weekend. Bankies at the Hatchery Hole, the Chief Hole and now Casey State Park are seeing decent catches at first light, usually with glow-in-the-dark corkies. Red and green beads also have done well for bankies. Driftboaters are finding success by back-bouncing roe and using sardine-wrapped Kwikfish. Chartreuse with a red pattern has been good, with more K-15s getting used than other sizes.

Anglers fishing upstream of Gold Ray Dam are 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. That puts you on top of fish on the move, and more likely to catch a hatchery chinook.

Pre-demolition work has begun at Gold Ray Dam, triggering a boating closure 1,000 feet upstream of the dam to 500 feet below it. The fishing deadline downstream of the dam is a bit past that 500-foot mark, so angling downstream of the dam for now will not be impacted. Those fishing downstream of the dam have had mixed success. The chinook seem to be moving through the angling area and into the closed area a bit faster this year than normal.

Gold Ray Dam counts remain strong for springers. As of Monday,14,740 spring chinook have crossed the dam. The count already eclipses the total count here over each of the past four years.

Summer steelhead are also starting to be caught in the upper Rogue, largely by spring chinook boat anglers. Through Monday, 837 summer steelhead had been counted at the dam, and that's plenty to start targeting them. They hit everything from roe and worms to streamer flies, nymphs, small spinners and smaller crayfish-patterned plugs.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide, but anglers may keep one wild spring chinook as part of their two-salmon bag limit as long as they are fishing downstream of Gold Ray Dam.

The middle Rogue has been somewhat slow for spring chinook, largely because the fish don't seem to be holding anywhere consistently. Hayes Falls has been steady for bank anglers using beads and corkies.

The far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked again Wednesday with legal-sized rainbow trout. The fish are a bit sluggish and the water flows need to drop for fishing to improve. The area will be stocked again next week.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing, but remains high. Flows out of Applegate Dam were down to 370 cfs Wednesday. There may be some late-season steelhead still there, but steelhead season is closed.

UMPQUA - The South Umpqua is open to trout and smallmouth bass fishing, but high and cool waters have kept the bass bite down. The South Umpqua and its tributaries are open from Jackson Creek downstream to the mouth. Artificial flies and lures are required when fishing the tributaries, but bait is allowed in the mainstem. Water levels have dropped and that, along with recently warm weather, has helped smallmouth bass fishing.

The North Umpqua's run of spring chinook has created good fishing from Rock Creek on down the mainstem to Scottsburg.

Shad fishing has improved as water levels have dropped over the past week, with places like Sawyer's Rapids and Yellow Creek the best producers for spin fishermen casting small purple, pink or chartreuse jigs.

COQUILLE - The river is open, but cutthroat fishing is slow.

CHETCO - Cutthroat trout fishing is only fair in the upper tidewater areas upstream of the Highway 101 bridge. Tidewater fishing has been good for cutthroat using small spinners or free-floating shrimp or prawns.

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