Went two for three today on the Rogue River. All of the steelhead took the Orange Bead Head Brownbagger Stonefly Nymph pattern. This hatchery and native steelhead I was totally on top of except for the complete landing of the small native. The small native splashed it’s way to freedom at the bank. The first fish I hooked today was a biggy. I struggled to get it to shore (and to the camera), but the dry bank was a long way’s from the deep water were I hooked it. As I neared my chosen landing spot, the fish gave a great leap and the hook was shaken. The Brownbagger Nymph has been on fire as of late hooking the majority of the steelhead. I believe that hot orange bead head is the key.
An interesting hot bead head stonefly nymph.
A Carpetbagger style nymph with brown body and orange bead. Very good fly.
My version of the Agent Orange pattern and my Brownbagger Nymph pattern.
I’m on a roll this past week and a half. Each of my last three fish has been a progressively larger than the prior. Todays steelhead went an estimated 30 inch’s long. I’d thought I would capture part of the battle on video. However the fish suddenly “came alive”, and was off on a determined run that eventually traveled 100 yards downriver. At the very onset of that run I knew I’d never land the fish near the camera, so as quick as possible I turned it off. The two capture photos were taken as fast with my phone camera before the grand native steelhead was quickly released back into the Rogue River of Oregon. The fly was my Brownbagger Carpetbagger Nymph with the orange bead head.
Snow covers the whole of Mt. McCloughlin on November 6, 2017. Luckily our rain has been light and scattered enough to maintain good fly fishing flow in the Rogue River.
I was a little down. Had just missed harvesting my blacktail buck that morning. This large Rogue River summer steelhead was a bit of consulation for missing that shot. I don’t know if the video captures all the beauty of this fish. In my memory the fish looked just perfect coming up out of the depths. A real gorgeous hen steelhead with good size. I’d estimate that she went about 28 inches long. She was quickly released back into the river to rest up before her winter’s spawn. The fly again was my fish-catching Yellow Fork Tail Prince Nymph that has been so successful this Fall.
No blast, but two for the cast yesterday morning. Well I did get a blast at a couple overhead passing geese very early morning. I have to rethink those shots. They were off. I think next time I should shoot for the head. Perhaps more for the front of the goose bill?
Arriving at my prime “duck pond” I found only a couple ring neck ducks. The river fog slowly disappeared as I watched them cavorting along the far bank. Waterfowl entertainment! I would say that the migration has slowly begun. Last week I did see a bunch of widgeon at another pond, and have noted more passing mallards while fly casting. In general, the weather has been more bluebird than duck weather.
From the early morning duck hunting I transitioned to steelhead fly fishing. I went to the spots that have been good recently. No immediate success, however I persisted and as the day warmed I found a fish in both spots. Happily no hatchery retread steelhead, just fresh arriving steelhead from the lower river. The first fish took a Pheasant Tail Nymph, and I had to wade precariously to a spot to land it. The second steelhead took a Yellow Fork Tail Prince Nymph. I could feel the first nibble of this fish to the fly and I missed the hook up. I cast again and hooked him on his
This fine hatchery steelhead took a Pheasant Tail Nymph fished as the dropper fly off a Carpetbagger Nymph
Smaller native steelhead took a Prince Nymph on the second bite.
second bite! A beautiful small native steelhead. Half pounder size I would say. Funny how since the dam removals on the middle Rogue River I have been seeing more of these smallish steelhead in our catches on the upper Rogue River.
A little bit of snow lingers after the weekend rains on Mt. McCloughlin.
There was a little rise to the Rogue River flow after the weekend rains. Good for the catching as it makes the fish less skittish.
As the month of October rolls along the steelhead fly fishing gets better and better. Throw in a little early waterfowl hunting and you have a Rogue River treat that is hard to beat. The mallards fell during the dawning morning. Pretty sure they are local birds. There is not a lot of migration noted yet. The newly arrived hatchery steelhead is a sure sign that the Autumn run from the lower canyon is filtering in. Sure is fun to have a strong and pulling fish on the line again. An Agent Orange pattern accounted for the hookup in the bottom of a deep run during the warmth of early afternoon.
A freshly arrived Rogue River steelhead.
A pair of early season mallards and decoys.
The Agent Orange with speckled spandex legs.
I’ve been finding a lot of gill punched Rogue River hatchery fish as of late. Thank goodness for those second chance steelhead. They make the doldrums of Indian summer low-water days of October a little more interesting and pleasant. That’s particularly true when you can hook up multiple fish with little hesitation out of a short little run of water when the bite is on. Looking forward to coming days of colder weather, rain and rising water. Bring on those fresh fish languishing down in the canyon.