River Outlook: Oct. 29, 2010

ROGUE - A few die-hard bank anglers are finding a chinook or two in the lower Rogue bay, while middle Rogue anglers are starting to find a few summer steelhead and the upper Rogue remains good, with this being the last weekend of the flies-only season.

The boating restriction around the former Gold Ray Dam was lifted Oct. 15, and a few boaters have begun to run that reach for steelhead.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, where new rains should raise the flows enough to make for better boating and steelhead fishing. The summer steelhead have been pretty sluggish in the low and cold flows of the upper Rogue. Flows at what used to be Gold Ray Dam were down around 950 cubic feet per second much of the past week, but they were set to almost double today before dropping again. That should make for very good steelhead fishing Saturday and Sunday for fly-fishers using Ugly Bug droppers and single-egg point flies fished downstream of spawning chinook.

Beginning Monday, anglers downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp can use artificial flies or lures, so crayfish plugs and fake rubber eggs or egg flies will be very effective for steelhead. Concentrate in the tops of riffles and around submerged rocks and ledges.

Upstream of Shady Cove opens to bait fishing Monday, with driftboaters using small clusters of roe or roe juice-soaked egg flies while side-drifting. Look for good fishing throughout the stretch.

The fluctuating flows should get the summer steelhead moving. Few fish had entered the Cole Rivers Hatchery collection pond until this week's rains.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

In the lower Rogue bay, a few catches of chinook have been reported by bank anglers casting Blue Fox spinners near the mouth of Indian Creek. These are the last of the Indian Creek Hatchery fish to move in. Bay trolling is very slow, and bad weather has forced even the die-hards to hang it up for now.

The Agness area continues to be fair for a mix of relatively dark fall chinook, summer steelhead and halfpounders, though halfpounder fishing has dominated the action of late. Evenings and mornings are best. Panther Martin lures or red ant flies work well.

The limit is five fin-clipped halfpounders a day under 16 inches. Over 16 inches and they considered are adults in the Rogue during the summer steelhead run.

In the middle Rogue, fishing for summer steelhead and cutthroat trout is good in low water for those fishing small egg flies or egg clusters downstream from spawning fall chinook. Swinging streamer flies at dusk has been good at places like Ennis Riffle and Carpenter's Island.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua continues to fish well for coho salmon, but the lion's share of the fish are wild and must be released unharmed. The South Umpqua is closed to all angling until mid-November. Summer steelhead fishing has slowed in the flies-only zone thanks to a burst of water from recent rains.

COQUILLE - The wild coho salmon season in the river is over. The lower river remains good for fall chinook fishing, with trollers getting fish anywhere from Bandon all the way to the head of tidal-influenced water near Myrtle Point.

COOS - Fall chinook fishing is in the South Fork of the Coos River. Trolling cut-plug herring or sardines has produced fish, with gold-bladed spinners a decent backup choice. Sand shrimp drifted under a bobber is producing chinook in the upper South Fork.

ELK/SIXES - Fall chinook have spread throughout both systems thanks to recent rains, and fishing has started to pick up. Kwikfish run in migration lanes has been best for driftboaters in both rivers.

CHETCO - The river opens to chinook fishing Saturday, a week early, thanks to last week's rains. Fall chinook are expected to be spread out river-wide, and fishing will be best with Kwikfish run in migration lanes as the flows start to drop.

Chinook fishing in the estuary has been fair for those trolling sardines or anchovies with spinners.

Fall chinook fishing has been very good from the Highway 101 bridge upstream to the Daniels Creek area.

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