Chinook salmon fishing is closed through remainder of year.

Rogue River- Upper - Medford, OR (Jackson County)

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Chinook salmon fishing is closed through remainder of year. Be aware of salmon nests (redds) in the gravel on tailouts and margins and avoid wading on these mounds and depressions.  

Nov. 1 through the end of the year, fishing from Fishers Ferry upstream to the Shady Cove Boat Ramp is artificial flies and lures only, no bait allowed. Anglers are reminded that molded soft plastic beads and soft plastic worms are considered bait (page 14 of the 2021 sportfishing regulations).   From Shady Cove upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery, bait can again be used. Anti-snagging gear restrictions are in place for the Hatchery Hole (Cole Rivers Hatchery Blocker Dam to 1200 feet downstream): no more than 1 hook and a leader length less than 6 feet.

Anglers are catching summer steelhead regularly from Fishers Ferry all the way up to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Anglers can only retain hatchery trout (5 per day) and hatchery steelhead (2 per day as part of daily zone regulations bag limit for salmon/steelhead).

Coho salmon have been making a large push into the upper river, with a very good hatchery run this year, in additional to the wild fish. Most wild fish are staging at tributary mouths or already heading up them to spawn.  Hatchery fish should be on the move toward the hatchery.

Cole Rivers Hatchery recycled the last group of re-run summer Steelhead just before Thanksgiving at the Modoc Access on the Denman Wildlife Area.  These fish have a hole punch in their left gill plate.  Anglers are reporting catching these fish throughout the upper river and fishing should be good for a few more weeks.

As of Nov. 23, 130 new summer steelhead entered the ladder. The total summer steelhead for the year is 2,232 fish, roughly 65 percent of the likely total run for the year. There’s still a lot of summer steelhead fishing to be had over the next month.  New counts were not available at the writing of this report, but will be updated on the fish counts page once available later in the week.

Another good push of 291 coho also entered the hatchery ladder, bringing this year’s coho total to 1,983 fish. The 10-year average is 835 to date. Looking at long-term averages, this should be around 65 percent of the run. The next week would be the time to target this year’s coho run as at least 80 percent of the hatchery run has arrived at the hatchery by early December and by mid-December it’s over.

This big return of coho comes despite an overall reduction in coho smolt releases since 2014, showing what can happen when there’s good ocean survival of outmigrating juveniles. Hopefully this trend of increased survival includes other anadromous programs (Chinook and steelhead) when those stocks return as older-age fish.

Flows coming out of William L. Jess Dam are at 899 cfs and 47.5 degrees, and matching inflow to the reservoir. Anglers fishing the upper river will have to drift their lures/bait/flies pretty much over fish to get them interested in a strike. Temperatures further down river warm up a bit and fish are a little feistier. 

Locally-owned and operated tackle and fly shops in Medford, Shady Cove, and Ashland have excellent gear and very fresh bait, local flies and knowledge that is specific to the Rogue and to your particular technique. Go check them out and offer them your support.

For the latest fish counts, call into the Lost Creek Reservoir hotline or check the fish counts page.

For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434. For real time streamflow from USGS gauges on the Rogue click here.

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