Applegate River Report

Applegate River - Applegate, OR

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

The river is open to trout fishing. Only hatchery trout may be retained, 2 per day. All wild rainbow trout and cutthroat trout should be immediately released unharmed.

Winter steelhead fishing opened on Jan. 1. The Applegate on average has a later returning run of winter steelhead with fish typically not showing up until late February to March, but with the higher river flows this year compared to the last few, don’t be surprised if some early winter fish start nosing into the Applegate in the next few weeks. Only hatchery steelhead may be retained in the Applegate. Best bets for a winter fish would likely be below Fish Hatchery County Park.

There is limited public access on the Applegate, and often anglers will float in small rafts or pontoons. However, anglers are reminded that there is no fishing from a floating device allowed, but bait can be used. There are public lands available for access such as Jackson Campground, Jin Lin Trail area, McKee Bridge and small BLM parcels in the vicinity on East Side road, Cantrall Buckley, an ODOT gravel pullout upstream of Murphy, Fish Hatchery County Park, and the Hwy 199 bridge.

Floating from Jackson Campground or McKee Bridge is not recommended as large logs have been known to be wedged across the river between canyons, and there is bank access in this vicinity. Cantrall Buckley to the Murphy pullout is a good float but you’ll encounter a lot of private property along the banks. Often anglers that float from Fish Hatchery Park or the 199 bridge will take out at White Horse/Lathrop County Park on the north bank of the Rogue. Flows around 600-1000 cfs at Wilderville are good water levels for floating. Just be aware of tight corners, snags and private property. The Applegate River has never been adjudicated for navigability, so keep that in mind when pulling over to fish pools and riffles. It’s best to stay below ordinary highwater, not be confrontational with any landowners, and have a GPS to locate landlocked public parcels to fish from unless you have permission from landowners.

As of Wednesday morning, the Wilderville stream gage was reading 5.86 cfs/2.89 ft., slowly dropping, and a chilly 38.5 degrees F. Water temperature is 41 degrees F and 449 cfs coming out of the dam. You can check the USGS stream gage flows on the Applegate when planning a trip.