When the Rogue River is flowing high and wide good flyfishing for Rogue River winter steelhead can sometimes be found in one of the legal tributaries. I call this stream “The River X” a description taken from Dr. James W. Hall’s book, Doc Hall’s Journal. Look it up sometime. The chapter is Small Stream-Big Fish.
Beadhead nymphs are the patterns for this fishery. As it flyfishes best in late March, some like to use small egg pattern flies. I like the Carpetbagger Nymphs in all colors, accompanied with a small beadhead G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph.
Trout fishing techniques work on these steelhead. The water flow is often very low, actually lower than I really like to fish. Studded wading boots are a most. A lot of hunt, search and wading is required. Because of the length of the stream’s season, these large fish run the gamut from picture perfect to sometimes dark. In late March it is often the case the “picture perfect” steelhead you manage to land will still have sea lice clinging to the rear fins.
With the Rogue River running over 3,000 CFS in even the far upper reaches, being able to wade across a piece of River “X” water is a real treat. Flowing from 126 CFS to 300 CFS stretches of the River X can be a little boney and thin. Yet big steelhead still hide in the green hidden runs where the stream gathers and comes together.