Does your catching run hot and cold? Now I know some will say, “It’s the fishing not the catching.” However lets face it, we all fish to catch. I often note that the first question I’m asked when encountering another on the river is “Catch anything?” As a matter of fact after an exhilarating eight minutes on the Rogue River just yesterday, I was asking myself the same question.
Usually I’m pretty consistent. If there are numbers of steelhead around I will easily find and catch one or two. At times when the fish count numbers are low, I will persist until something either happens; or I simply run out of time or energy and quit. It happens. Those are “fishing days.” A nice way of saying fishless days!
The worst thing is when there are abundant fish around and you have nearly pushed yourself to that last mentioned limit of time and energy. The other day I was there. Not even a missed strike to savor. Never mind the total number of cast I had made. I was just thinking about that new stretch along the bank I had located, the one with the dark hole beyond the downed tree branch. A new location always presents challenges. I was stepping over a couple of submerged tree roots. My Carpetbagger Stonefly and G.R. Hare’s Ear nymphs flicked out and landed a mere 15 feet ahead and along the river bank. Wham! One cast and in an instance I was hooked up to a very solid Rogue River steelhead.
Solid is to say that this fish definitely had some shoulders. One fish willing to reward me for all my previous cast and misses of the day. Two long maddening runs, the first one I snubbed before reaching the backing. Even managed to gain a little fly line back on to the reel. The second run went into the backing, the steelhead out further into the strong current. I hoped all would hold. It didn’t. I got everything back except for a bead head G.R. Hare’s Ear nymph.
Just like during a prior week with the Chinook salmon in a different hole, I had been whipped. This time it was a steelhead for sure. I had seen him during his one leap. They say the action will always bring you back. Of course they are right. So if you are missing, don’t despair. Nothing like a little action to boost a fisherman’s confidence. That next steelhead will come along, you’ll hook it, and be back to catching again.
A pretty pic shows a Carpetbagger Nymph firmly embedded where it should be.
For a rare lapse of time I have been away from the Rogue River. The first time I haven’t cast a fly rod for over a full week this year on the river. This was not because I went away to some place exotic, but because a couple of things; a nasty summer cold and then getting over it.
So about two weeks ago I had visions of capturing a 1st of September steelhead with a fly. My session proved eventful. They totally annihilated me and a six weight. You get to the point where you think you can handle just about any circumstance and situation. Those chinook salmon proved to be still active in that run. They cleaned me out. Could not stop either of the two hooked.
Unfortunately next came a battle with some serious summer cold snuffles. I recommend crystal vitamin C, Raspberry Emergen-C, Halls Defence Cough Drops, Ricola Honey Lemon Throat Drops, and rest. Don’t break your rest too soon. This is one of those nastier colds that will come right back at you if you get active too soon.
I’ve had a lot of time to catch up with some Rogue River Steelhead Flies – Guide Flies fly tying. I feel so balance seeing my bins full and overflowing. Similarly, shooting clays over the summer has helped me start up right where I left off at the end of August. Only now instead of the “orange disc” I’m hitting the real thing.
So getting my rhythm back and it sure feels good. First I’m going to drop a few more birds as that season is fleeting. Then on to the Rogue River steelhead. Fortunately they stay in one place, and the season is long-lasting.
An assortment of goodies to fight the summer cold. The cold effected both fishing and hunting this year.
Rogue River Steelhead Fly Patterns – Carpetbaggers, G.R. Hare’s Ears, Brown Fork Tails, Herniators and secret specials!
An early morning limit of high mountain band-tail pigeon. Oregon Siskiyou Mountains.
Mountain quail. Little chickens of the Siskiyous. I like mine hot and buttermilk fried for dinner.
Imagine my surprise when that large summer steelhead I was playing the other day turned out to be a fresh Fall chinook.
The contact came at the end of the swing. I was fishing a Midnight Fire Carpetbagger Nymph with a small bead head Prince Nymph on a tippet tied on to the bend of its hook. I felt solid weight to the rod, and then a little give to what I had hooked. Next came the head shakes of a good fish. I applied pressure and the fish moved out into the strong current. I knew already it was a large fish, but I suspected big, native steelhead. Downstream went the run and I applied even more pressure. Luckily the fish stopped and went to the bottom and sulked. Being in this situation before, I knew what to do. I began to reel and pump, slowly moving my prize up river. Once I got the fish on a short line, it became pretty much a slug-out, albeit one with no jumps and leaps. Who would outlast who? At one point I pulled the stubborn creature close enough to the bank to discern a different look. Instead of the silver and rose flank of a large steelhead, I saw chinook salmon. Weathering a couple more large runs down river I eventually wore on the salmon and I landed him. He had bit on the Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymph. Great thing about this part of the upper Rogue at that time of the year is you can harvest a chinook salmon. I did!