Upper Rogue River summer steelhead

I caught a nice summer steelhead today along the Rogue River while on a dove hunt. In my bird vest I had packed along the Longfellow Trail-Pack flyrod. It breaks down in five sections to a mere 15″ long. I also brought along my small Orvis Madison 6/7 reel and just a handful of fly patterns. I forgot my nail clippers so I had to trim leader knots with my “not so sharp” pocket knife. As the daytime temperatures have been hot, slowly getting up to a 92°F high,  I started out swinging a McMillian Steelhead Caddis pattern. I fished the usual holding water without much happening. The Rogue River’s water flow is going down daily in CFS right now. It is in the 1,700’s CFS right now. I moved on down into what has been water much too fast too flyfish up till now. I was rewarded by a good strike at the end of a swing. However I didn’t give slip enough slack to the steelhead and missed the hookup. I rested the water, and then went at it again with the Steelhead Caddis. No going, so I changed flies for one of my heavier Midnight Rainbow Carpetbagger Nymphs. I think I found the same fish but this time up at the head of the fast water just where it comes off a ledge. With the small rod I had to apply a lot of low, gentle, bankwards pressure to keep her from getting her head and taking to the advantage of the mid-stream currents. Slow and gingerly, I slowly wrestled the hatchery hen to the bank. I happlily noted that she was very bright. Of course in the excitement I messed up the photo with my camera and she appears brighter than the sun! LOL

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4 thoughts on “Upper Rogue River summer steelhead

  1. Geeze…I will be so glad when I do something like that. Fantastic!!

    My husband and I were out at 7:00am below the hachery and at Casey…nothing. We were using the GR Hares Ear sz. 14. Like I said before we are just starting this fun sport (yes we’ve take two lessons, 2hrs. each lesson) and there were three other fly fishermen out (looking very experienced) and they came up empty too. I think my leader and tippet were too heavy. I was using a 4x leader and a 4x tippet………I’m trying to learn about the right sizes of leaders, etc too. My rod is a 5wt. TFO with 5wt FW line. Should I be using 5x or 6x leader and tippet? Tx. Loni

  2. I use Maxima clear tippets sizes 10#, 8# and 6# test. I’ve caught them with the 4# test tippet, but I would not recommend it for the inexperienced. (And I’ve lost a few that way too!) I build the rest of my noted leaders with sections of the Maxima Chameleon starting with 30# test at the very top. Just taper it with decreasing # sizes down to the tippet. I make leaders about 9 ” long. The nice thick butt of 30# test is usually about 3 feet long. I get a nice turn over of the leader during the casting.

    Usually with the steelhead trout you do not have to worry about the fish seeing the line. I think it is so foreign to them they take no notice of it. There are times though when the fish have been pressured by the fishing activity and they do become leader shy. I usually drop down to a 6# Maxima then.

    Your rod sounds fun, a little light, but fun. I’d recommend about a 7 wt. for you at this time. 5x and 6x leaders are like 2# and 3# test respectively. Adequate for trout, but not large trout or steelhead! I’d go with the Maxima in the sizes I recommended. Season is just getting started. I’m sure you will be hooking into a fish soon!

  3. Thank you for the information, I think I understand that you are building a leader line instead of using the premade leader that I use with an added tippet line. At this point I’m just going for trout out of the river. My instructor, Dave, recommended my size rod …. actually he recommended a 2wt. (Maybe he was thinking I was going after goldfish…) He did say the 5wt would work when I get to the point of trying for a steelhead. I’m going to the “Fly Fishing Forum” at TouVelle this Saturday and I hope to get an ear full. Thank you again for the input and the great blog. Loni

  4. Yes I’ll always build my leaders. It’s a matter of having a lot of leader wheels. Sometimes I splurge and buy one, but if it doesn’t have one I always attach a heavy butt section to it. Be careful when pursuing those Rogue trout. Sooner or later your going to hook a turbo-charged steelhead. It’s happened before, unless you are only fishing at the Holy Water stretch.

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