January freeze is almost gone

Been able to get out a few times in January. I guess that’s got to account for something. I remember Januarys in the Rogue Valley where not one day was fishable.

Teri and I enjoyed one recent warm day on the upper Rogue River. She rode her new bike around the parking lot, while I trekked to a couple of fishing holes so as to monitor the state of the winter run steelhead.

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Snow on Mt. McLoughlin

Snow on Mt. McLoughlin

It is good to have someone to hang around and keep an eye on the vehicle. There’s been a rash of auto break-ins up and down the valley. This isn’t anything new for the Rogue Valley, but it hasn’t gotten any better with the state of the economy. I didn’t find any early winter steelhead this day. I did find some small smolts. This one, hooked on a flowing hackle pattern, was of surprizing good size.

Trout and steelhead love flowing hackle

Trout and steelhead love flowing hackle

 

Later in the month I met up with some fellows from out of state seeking to hook into a Rogue winter steelhead. As the upper Rogue is slow as of yet, I decided that we should fish somewhere down on the middle Rogue. We met up on a friendly gravel bar. If you know the river, you know the place.

Suiting up for some casting action

Suiting up for some casting action

 

We did a lot of casting and searching. I favored the switch fly rod. These guys were good with bait. The fish wanted something else as we did not have any quality hook ups.

I laid down some nice spey cast with the switch

I laid down some nice spey cast with the switch

 

Bouncing that roe along the bottom

Bouncing that roe along the bottom

 

These guys found the weather a bit on the cold side whiich was not surpriziing considering where they came from. I was enjoying the mid month warmup and sun.

Balmy January weather?

Balmy January weather?

 

Jon hooking up a fish

Jon hooking up a fish

 

One fish was hooked at this spot. Probably about 4 or 5 pounds. Didn’t stay hooked very long.

Casting one last riffle for the day

Casting one last riffle for the day

 

We fished one last stretch for the day, a riffle named and made famous by Zane Grey. Again, if you know the river, you know the riffle.

Casting the run down from the stone chair

Casting the run down from the stone chair

All too quickly the day was over, and with the setting of the sun the January cold settled back into the canyon. We drove back up to Medford and enjoyed a  meal of venison and wild Russian boar chili. All washed down with some good drink of course. So as January draws to a close, I’m looking forward to that early February warmup…that false Spring of the Rogue Valley. All accompanied with a big influx of the winter fish!

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