The Upper Rogue River is very popular spot for fishing for Steelhead

Rogue River - Gold Beach, OR


by Andrew Harris
8-16-2013
Website

This is our most popular fishery in Oregon. There is something special about fishing for steelhead as summer turns to fall. Crisper and cooler mornings, trees changing color, the presence of spawning salmon; this transformation is about change.

While indicator nymphing techniques can work very well, the upper Rogue River is one of the best places to hook a steelhead on the swing. In fact, Jon Hazlett exclusively fishes for these great fish using traditional methods. No matter what technique you use, this is one of the most productive steelhead fisheries on the west coast.

February, March and April are prime-time on the Upper Rogue for winter-run steelhead. These winter-run fish are a little larger than the summer run and are a great fly rod fish. We use both traditional swing techniques and indicator nymphing this time of year. Winter steelhead on the Rogue are typically 4-10 pounds, with numerous 10-12 pounders caught each season.

There are many different floats on the upper Rogue, and the nearby Applegate River also fishes will in February and March. When you book a trip with us, we have the flexibility to fish the best water available on any given day.

Gear Recommendations for the Upper Rogue

Rods, Reels & Lines: We use single-hand rods, switch rods, and spey rods on the Upper Rogue. Single-hand and switch rods should be seven and eight weights. Spey rods from six-weights to eight-weights will work. Bring a floating line with single-hand and switch rods. For spey rods, bring an interchangeable tip Skagit system.

Leaders, Tippet & Indicators:
We usually use 0X-2X tippet on the Upper Rogue River. Tapered leaders are not necessary when fishing with sinking tips, but can definitely come in handy when fishing with floating lines.

Waders & Boots:
We use chest-high breathable waders on the Upper Rogue. Spiked wading boots are recommended. Make sure to bring your own wading belt.

Season
Steelhead are present in the Upper Rogue almost year round. Fishing can be very good as early as July and August. September, October and November are considered the prime months for summer steelhead. Mid-February through mid-April is prime-time for winter steelhead on the Upper Rogue.

Flies:
Nymphs:

• Black Rubberlegs, 6
• Morrish's Dirty Bird, olive, 6-8
• Copper John, all colors, 10
• Superfloss Rubberlegs, all colors, 6
• Morrish's Anato-May, Olive, 8-10

Eggs:
• Pettis's Unreal Egg, Steelhead Orange, 12
• Glo Bugs, all colors, size 8-10
• Thunder Eggs, orange, 6

Traditional Flies for Swinging:
• Silver Hilton, 6
• Carey Special, 6
• Green Butt Skunk, 6

Leeches for Swinging:
• Fox's Sleech, Black & Copper, 2
• Miller's Olive Super Spey Leech, 1
• Egg Sucking String Leech, 2

Sample Itinerary
Meeting Time & Place:

We typically meet our clients at their hotel at 7:00am. On some trips we may arrange to meet at the Fred Meyer in Medford.

Vehicle Considerations:
Be prepared to follow us in your own vehicle. We may use your vehicle to help run our shuttle.

Wading Difficulty:
On most trips we float the river using drift boats or rafts. We frequently get out of the boat to wade. However, we can put together a trip where no wading is necessary. The wading on the Rogue is somewhat challenging, and spiked boots can be helpful.

Multiple Fisheries in one Day:
Due to the distance to other fisheries and the logistics of floating the river, we devote all day to fishing the Upper Rogue River.

Length of the Day:
Most full days conclude around 5:30pm. Half days end around 1:00pm.

Nearby Waters:
Applegate River 1hr
Oregon Coast 2hr
Lower Rogue 2hr

California Destinations:
Klamath River
Trinity River
Hat Creek
Feather River
Pit River
Fall River
McCloud River
Upper Sac
Lower Sac
Manzanita Lake
Lewiston Lake
Battle Creek
Eagle Canyon