March first cast

John fishes the River X

John fishes the River X

 

The rain spiked the Rogue River, but it didn’t spike all the adjoining waters. I was tempted and drawn to flyfish a tributary with a guest and friend. We should have stayed home. Low water on this particular river usually equates with crummy flyfishing. Even during the latter part of March. Add some water flow at least above 250 CFS and it is a whole different story. If the water flow remains low, like it is going to do this year through the end of March, your better off fishing the slow, deep, holding pools with a garden hackle (nightcrawler) and a bit of split shot.

The mainstream Rogue River is a different story. The water flow shot up (rose really high) and now has come down to decent levels.  Yesterday on my first revisit to the Rogue, I caught a steelhead on my very first cast. The chrome, bright streaker really put on a good show. With that high water flow these fish can really move. I felt my drag-fingers burn a bit on that first wild run. Later during the fight, I caught this first glimpse of chrome side.

Bit of chrome comes up from the depths

Bit of chrome comes up from the depths

At this point I could tell which fly the fish took. The Orange Beadhead Carpetbagger was very visible about 20 inches above the fish. She had taken that trailing Beadhead G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph.

Putting a bend to the rod

Putting a bend to the rod

Sideways pressure with the flyrod helps keep the fish near the shore and away from the heavy current. The strength of an 11 foot switch rod is more than enough.

Near time to land one

Near time to land one

Sideways pressure keeps the fish moving to the shore. After a couple attempts to flounder the fish near the bank you are usually able to acomplish that task. Gradually the fish becomes prime for the landing near shore. This one is tailed and shows that winning G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph embedded in the corner of the mouth.

Upper Rogue River winter steelhead

Upper Rogue River winter steelhead

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