The Rogue River System-Mother Nature is in Control

With the upper Rogue River beginning flow at over 2000 CFS out of the William Jess Dam that means big numbers for the entire river system. The main stream river grows with added flow from the tributaries. By the time it reachs Grants Pass it all adds up to over 16,000 CFS. Late season weather fronts with warm rains have all added to the “big muddy” event.

Grant Pass River Cam

Earlier in the week I was lucky to have accessed the Rogue River’s best flyfishing tributary. “The River X” was flowing at a friendly 126 CFS at the time. I generally do not like to fish it that low. I like more flow to find and play the steelhead in. Today I’m glad I took the drive and waded the low water to find and play a few fish. Over the last few days the flow chart on the “River X” looks like a staircase.

Applegate river flow increased by Army Corps and wet weather.

Apparently a good start on the “River X” was to good to be true. A stream to sneak off to when the Corps were releasing a bit much William Jess Dam water. Somehow it was thought this would last to the end of the month. Not so as mother nature has other plans for spilling her wealth.

As the last legal winter steelhead day on the “River X” passes by it is well to remember Zane Grey’s words regarding steelhead fishing along the Rogue River.

The happiest lot of any angler would be to live, somewhere along the banks of the Rogue River, most beautiful stream of Oregon. Then, if he kept close watch on conditions, he could be ready on the spot when the run of steelhead began. (1)

The substance and meaning of the quote can be applied to all Rogue River fishing. We should keep that in mind when thoughts of sea lice unseen linger on the mind.

Dark sea lice still cling to the anal fin of this March winter steelhead.

(1)Tales of Fresh-Water Fishing © 1928, by Zane Grey, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers NY, page 108 Where Rolls The Rogue


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