Kelts

Yeah, that is how you heard it. Kelts not kilts. Big difference there. Finally got into catching something other than smolts flyfishing on the upper Rogue River today. This was a day in between rain fronts. The river flow was low at about 1200 CFS. The water was extremely clear in spite of the good rain that fell yesterday evening. I started out casting a single Beadhead G.R. Hare’s Ear Nymph and after a half dozen or so cast hooked up with this fish.

Steelhead on a Hare's Ear

Steelhead on a Hare's Ear

She jumped right off the bat and my first impression was that it was a cutthroat trout. After I pulled and fought her for a bit I saw the crimson of her side and knew it was a steelhead. Upon landing her I surmised she was a summer fish and she was post spawn.

The next fish was found  just a little further downstream and fell to the Beadhead Hare’s Ear fished on the swing. There was a lot more fight to this beauty.

Steelhead number two

Steelhead number two

She had been laying in a hole that is interesting to fish. When you hook one here you don’t know where it is going to go. There are vicious snags on either side of the lie. You hope you hook the fish and it runs straight downstream. That way you can stop it and hopefully lead it back upstream and past the snags. This steelhead did what I’ve found a lot of them do in this hole. She ran straight upstream from the onset which is great. All you need to do is gather up that belly of slack line with the large arbor of the reel and hold the fish up level with your position not letting it slip back downstream to the snags. Worked great again, as the fish ran even further upstream than I had expected. I kept her in the safety zone and eventually made the landing.

The third and final fish was a slug. I hooked this fish up fishing the Carpetbagger Nymph and a G.R. Hare’s Ear in tadem. The fish sucked in the Carpetbagger near the shore and it felt like I’d hooked the bottom. I pulled hard and soon discovered my snag was a heavier fish.

Steelie with a Carpetbagger

Steelie with a Carpetbagger

A bit of weight here, but not outstanding fight. Another post spawn summer steelhead. She fought as hared as she could and with the assist of the strong current she eluded the landing for a time. She was quickly photographed and released back into the river. February fish…will not be long before the “catch” will be a big, winter fish on the upper Rogue.

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Fly of the Month

The Carpetbagger

The Carpetbagger

On the Rogue River this is the fly pattern that has dominated my fly box for the last five years. There is hardly a time of year when I do no’t tie one on to the end of my leader. What with all the stonefly nymphs found in the upper Rogue, this selection make a lot of sense. These examples are tied in my favorite color, Midnight Rainbow. There are a host of Spirit River’s New Age Chenille colors to choose from. I have found the Midnight Rainbow chenille to be the most successful on the upper Rogue above Medford. I call this pattern the Carpetbagger. The other two colors I favor are Midnight Fire and Copper Black. Generally I’ll tie the Copper/Black chenille Rubber-leg Stonefly Nymph with a large, orange, beadhead. That’s the combination I learned from the Fishing Hole fly shop up in Shady Cove. The shop favors those colors for the far upper Rogue.

On the lower Rogue River around Agness and the Foster Bar my friend Wayne Van Burger has found good success for steelhead with the Carpetbagger tied in Midnight Fire chenille. I can’t argue with his choose of  color for the lower Rogue. I’ve seen plenty of photo evidence of his success down there with the Midnight fire color. You can see plenty of Midnight Fire Carpetbaggers hanging from steelhead jaws in Wayne’s Four Seasons of Steelhead Video found at Joy of FishingTV. For a look at the tieing of the Carpetbagger go to:

Selbicky’s Magic Fly

So how the Rogue River fishing? Slow. Cold weather and low water has put the bite off river wide. The majority of the winter steelhead should be found down in the middle Rogue. They won’t start moving up into the upper River until things warm up a bit. I’ve gotten out and investigated a few stretches. Nothing much yet except for some good sized smolt and trout. Here’s a few stretches. If you know the river, you know the spots.

Looking towards the Island

Looking towards the Island

Looking towards the Grapevine

Looking towards the Grapevine