Fly of the Month-Orange Parson (continued)

The classic Orange Parson tied by Neil Selbicky

The classic Orange Parson tied by Neil Selbicky

Here is the classic whole feather wing Orange Parson. The fully dressed classic Atlantic salmon flies are the most beautiful that an angler can tie to his leader. The Orange Parson, hair or feather wing, holds appeal to the angler and fish alike. Most anglers would agree that meticulously dressed feather wings are better suited for display on the wall than to be cast into the river.

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Rogue River Update

Wildflowers growing along the banks of the Rogue River

Wildflowers growing along the banks of the Rogue River

Sunny, bright skies graced the Rogue Valley today and the scenery along the Rogue River was just gorgeous. The television weatherman had warned that the UV index was high, so I lathered on the 30 SPF Sport sun cream. The fish must have felt the extreme rays too, for the bite was very off. I had one real good pull to a Steelhead Muddler that left me scratching my head. On days like this you don’t want to flub any opportunity to make a catch. The Rogue is flowing about 3000 CFS with nearly 7,000 chinook salmon counted into the upper river system and the latest summer steelhead count stands at 168 fish. I did take the time to pull over and admire the beautiful flowers growing in abundance along the banks. Not far from this spot I also found a large fairy ring of puffball mushrooms springing from a high bank field. I put a couple photos of the puffball fungi up on the Wild Edible Mushroom page.

The Rogue River, yellow late Spring.

Salmonbagger dressed with orange.

Salmonbagger dressed with orange.

The Spring salmon season has progressed on the upper Rogue River. I’ve missed keeping up with my posting, so I’ll try to make it up all in one. The fish count has steadily risen. I believe it is over 7,000 chinook as of today! The fish eagle has indeed arrived on the mountain.

The eagle flies on the mountain.

The eagle flies on the mountain.

The flora of the Rogue Valley floor has undergone color changes. I see lots of yellow and white. I also see the beginning of some of the dryness of summer. Lucky for us, the rain and thunderstorms of the past few week have prolonged a cool Spring.

Yellow color springs forth from the Rogue Valley floor.

Yellow color springs forth from the Rogue Valley floor.

Yellow flowers along the Rogue

Yellow flowers along the Rogue

The river flow has been good, the average CFS being up in the low 3,000. The fishing pressure has been light. I’ve been seeing few driftboats. Generally the feeling is that the Springer season is slow…in spite of the ever increasing numbers of fish. Emergency rules along the river have restricted the retention of wild Spring chinook.

The scene below Gold Ray

The scene below Gold Ray

From the rowers seat, I’ve been watching the hooking of some nice cutthroat and trout. A light fly rod and a good surface fly, like the Steelhead Muddler, have been good as the fish are looking up. My trusted G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph (and Carpetbagger) has been fishing slow.

A nice cutthroat struggles and breaks the surface victim of the S Muddler.

A nice cutthroat struggles and breaks the surface victim of the S Muddler.

The real good news is (and I’m always ready for them!) that the summer steelhead have begun to arrive. There is something near 100 summer steelhead counted over Gold Ray Dam. These early Rogue steelhead are the best in my estimate. A 24 inch, four to five pound, early summer steelhead can give you as much to handle as a ten pound winter fish. Catch and fillet a hatchery fish, and you’ll see color as near to salmon steak as you are gonna see on a trout. That’s why I call them salmontrout.

One never tires of the scenery on the upper Rogue River!

One never tires of the scenery on the upper Rogue River!

The Rogue River, blue and violet days.

Summer steelhead fly.

Summer steelhead fly.

 

Here’s the Rogue chinook fishing report from May 28. The Rogue’s flow was around 3,000 CFS. The water was clear. The chinook count at Gold Ray Dam was up to 4,000 Spring salmon. I saw only one  Springer salmon, but the wildflowers along the Rogue were just beautiful. There seemed to be a theme of blue, violet and purple to the Rogue Valley flora.

The vetch was growing like crazy.

The vetch was growing like crazy.

The common vetch plant seemed to be at a peak. I whole heartedly dislike this weed, though I understand you can eat it! My dislike stems from a time during my youth when I was called on to rid a corn field of the troublesome weed.

Miniature lupine sprouted up here and there.

Miniature lupine sprouted up here and there.

The lupine plant, with flowers primarily blue with some white, were very common. As was the purple common Brodiaea with it’s long stem and six petal flowers. Pronounce “brody-uh.”

Single, bare stalk with a cluster of a few purple flowers.

Single, bare stalk with a cluster of a few purple flowers.

The week began a period of afternoon thunder and lightening storms along the Rogue River. Here you can see the green landscape with the afternoon clouds building over the Cascade Mountains.
Lush green Rogue Valley landscape.

Lush green Rogue Valley landscape.

My trek to the river took me through some quieted , secluded, locations where live only minnows, crawdads, frogs, wood ducks and blue heron. I’ve seen Fall salmon in this creek.
A little side channel, home to many.

A little side channel, home to many.

One little native that I could do without  is the common mosquito. This time of year I always carry the little packets of Deep Woods Off. Nevertheless, a few get through.
Mosquitos are common during May & June.

Mosquitos are common during May & June.

Away from the water crossing, the trail takes me past more color. These lilac blooms appeared vividly blue under the intense rays of the Rogue Valley sun.
Lilac bush shines with blue flowers along the Rogue River.

Lilac bush shines with blue flowers along the Rogue River.

I have another name for the lilac bush and it is “the tick bush.”  That is a name I learned in my youth, though I do not believe I have ever found a tick on the lilac bush! Funny how old memories and names persist. I encountered no ticks this day anywhere. The fragrance of the lilac blooms escaped me for at this point I was at full steam for the river.
The Rogue flowed majesticly, the water full and clear. If I could describe a most beautiful season of the Rogue River I think it would be late Spring. The trouble is that the Spring salmon do not bite. They are nothing like a summer steelhead which will gladly grab your feathered lure if given the offer. No, the salmon sulks low and deep, indifferent to all and to most particular…the fisherman. I cast many a mighty offering with the powerful switch rod. I watched the gravel bar crossing for hint of the invisible quarry. A trout or two succumbed to the tag-along G.R.Hare’s Ear. The main offering, a heavily weighted Salmon-Carpetbagger, went untouched. And then for a moment the river spoke. Through a patch of clear surface I saw a fish. A Spring chinook, of nearly twenty (20#) pound swam by my position. Restless, he or she was moving and moving around in my hole. That the salmon was headed down river when I saw it, I cared not, for a milling salmon is an active salmon. I continued to cast, but the river spoke no more to me this day.
A window opens briefly on the Rogue.

A window opens briefly on the Rogue.

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Salmonfly box (old and new)

The fly box is full and ready for a float on the far upper Rogue River. Going through my fly tying material, I came across a number of dry salmon fly patterns tied during  past years. The Rogue Foam, the Low Forehead, the Jughead, the Glimmer Wing, Bird’s Stonefly now accompany the new Stimulators and modified Norm Woods Specials. All are fish catchers!

Fully loaded for the upper Rogue River

Fully loaded for the upper Rogue River

So I’m ready for what the upper Rogue can dish out this time of year in rainbow and cutthroat trout. I’ve seen salmon down around Medford. I’ll post pics and more on that latter. The chinook count has grown…to something around 4,000 salmon. A number of summer steelhead have also been counted at the Gold Ray Dam station. I’ll have more on all that latter.