Steelhead Fly of the Month

The Brownbagger a Rogue River steelhead fly for October

This Rogue River steelhead pattern is a good choice for October on the river. Based on the original Carpetbagger (AKA Selbicky’s Magic Fly) the Brownbagger comes into play when the Chinook salmon begin spawning in the upper Rogue River in Oregon. I like to think of it as the “one-two punch” in a single fly. Not only does it offer a stonefly nymph to the fish, there is also that attracting round orb shape of an single salmon egg.

Unlucky for me I’ve been off the water for a week or so as I recuperate from a pain in the leg. I get around ok, but rather than risk making a painful experience even more so I’ve taken a good rest. A good time to catch up with the flytying both personal and for clients.

It is hard to stay at home, alas, when the fishing was so good just a week or so ago. During the between time the water flow on the upper Rogue has been reduced by nearly half in volume to just over 1000 CFS. The Rogue Valley weather has returned to warm, back up to summer-like temperatures in the 80°Fs. Conditions like that can make for some good flyfishing on the Rogue for Summer/Fall steelhead.

The upper Rogue River steelhead count is a mystery now that Gold Ray Dam has been removed. No longer will we be able to view the daily, weekly, and monthly fish counts for anadromous fish into the upper Rogue. Never the less, we know they are there, and one has just to get out to find them. And soon I will, and also with the over and under to bag a pheasant or two.

Early morning steelhead that came to a Orange Beadhead Brownbagger Nymph


6 thoughts on “Steelhead Fly of the Month

  1. I wanted to know what the body material is for this brownbagger fly and the body material used for your carpetbagger fly. I’m a beginner fly tyer, and these bead head nymphs look awesome. I saw you tie the carpetbagger on the fishin show, but you didnt mention materials used or hook size? Thanks in advance. I would also be interested in buying some flies

  2. The body material for the Carpetbagger (‘bagger) series of flies is a product packaged by Riverborn™. They call it New Age Chenille. It is a chenille comprised of a lot of flash and a great variety and choice of colors. For the Brownbagger Nymph I use the Copper/Black color in size #3. For the orginial Carpetbagger I choose the Midnight Rainbow color in size #3. The color that Wayne Van Burger (The Joy of Fishing.TV) favors for the lower Rogue River is the Midnight Fire chenille in size #3.

    As for hook size I stick to a size #4, natural bend, 3X long and standard wire. Good examples are the Dai-Riki 270, Tiemco 200R, Mustad AC80050, and Daiichi 1270.

    I’m always ready to tie and sell flies. It’s best to contact me via email so we can work out what you need.

    • Hello, thank you for your interest. I use the 3/16″ gold bead heads to match the size 4 natural bend hooks. On the Brownbagger I sometimes increase the orange bead head size. I then increase the hook sized to correspond. Generally this is during salmon spawning time Oct-Dec.

  3. Going to be fishing the Rogue River Oct. 10-13. We will be fishing from Graves Creek to Agnes. What flys would you recommend?

    • Great time of year to be down there. I would recommend having Herniators, Pince Nymphs, and Bead Head G.R. Hare’s Ear Nymphs in sizes 12-8. I would also recommend having the Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymph in size 4. I have all these flies in stock right now at $1.95 each.

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