November rain and near snow on the Rogue

Below normal cold weather and icy precipitation nearly send us home early on this mid November day, but we endured the conditions and eventually connected and landed a nice Rogue River steelhead on a conehead leech. Several early hookups had come unglued.

Finally a solid, cold water hookup!

Finally a solid cold water hookup!

It took sweeping the driftboat and fly back and forth across some wide, featureless water. I could imagine the black rabbit strip undulating beneath the surface. The take was deceptive. Many of the cold water takes right now feel like no more than a soft tension and pull to the line…a mouthy glom on.

Stuborn to the end we finally slipped the net under him.

Stubborn and wily we finally net him.

The conehead rabbit strip obviously is a leech pattern. It is not a fly that I am that familiar with. Appears that behind the conehead comes first a deer hair collar, followed by a silver chenille body, overlayed with a narrow black rabbit fur strip. The black rabbit fur is ribbed to the hook and body with strong silver wire. Additionally sparse red flashabou and pearl crystal flash are added as further attraction.

A long and indicing coldwater steelhead fly.

A long and inticing cold water steelhead fly.

Obviously the steelhead will go for them. I’ve found small leeches under rocks before. Like the abundant stonefly nymph, they are natural to the river.


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