Late upper Rogue summer steelhead

Carefully playing an upper Rogue River summer steelhead in the cold.

Landing an upper Rogue summer steelhead in late January

Long, wide runs on the upper Rogue River

Landing a late summer steelhead on the upper Rogue River

While the lower Rogue was dirty, bait water at best around Medford, we found the far upper Rogue River cleared the further up you went. We also found the late running summer steelhead plentiful. We connected with both gear and flies. The Rogue flies that were working were the Carpetbaggers and the Beadhead G.R. Hare’s Ear Nymph. The weather conditions were cold, but I’ve seen it worse. Tolerable to say the least for late January…especially made warmer with the catching!

Just Ducky

Recent cold morning mallard drake.

Sampling a couple of holes on the Rogue it’s apparent that the winter steelheading is still slow on the upper Rogue. That flush of fish right after the new year began though counted as winter steelhead were undoubtly late summer fish and they’ll be most intent with spawning in the smaller Rogue tributaries during January freshets.
An early pre-dawn juant to an old favorite fishing spot revealed a good number of waterfowl on the back-slough. The couple of geese spotted me right away and flew away sounding. I was delighted to see a good number of teal and a couple of mallard pairs remaining. Naturally, I went for the mallard drakes. Fisherman’s pluck? The big problem became that with the freezing cold of the early morning, the firing pin was sticking on the shotgun. Never-the-less, luck was with me and bronze mallard feathers were collected for those highly prized designer steelhead wet flies I can and love to fashion.