Two for three today all on a size #14 Pheasant Tail Nymph (my tie). I’ll take that back. That big third steelhead which threw the hook after streaking across the river and then making a big leap, my have taken a size #8 Yellow Fork Tail Prince Nymph. Why? Because that is what I had on.
Very similar to the old Rogue Ant, only lacking a double point hook and a fine gold oval rib.
The Red Ant is very similar to the Rogue Ant. Indeed John Shewey mentions in his book Steelhead Flies that the Rogue Ant is also referred to as the Rogue Red Ant. I believe the Red Ant is the older pattern, and the Rogue Red Ant was an adaptation created for the lower Rogue River in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Instead of a single, down-eyed hook the Rogue Red Ant was usually tied on Mustad double point hooks. It also featured a fine, oval gold rib through the body. If jungle cock feather eyes were available, two were mounted on the outside of the bucktail wing. One on each side, much like the old Rogue River Special. Old double point hook flies were fished off the front of the boat to swing and flutter in the current 30 to 40 feet below the driftboat. No casting of the flies. The movement of the boat did the work. The half-pounders and adult steelhead found this tactic irresistible.
After a hard January, finally some fishable conditions on the Rogue River as February arrives. This may be a little window of opportunity and today was a good day to take advantage of it. Summer or fall steelhead, I don’t know, but this little hen was a fun, spunky catch. Still awaiting that first true winter steelhead on the upper Rogue River of Oregon.
Feather Merchant fly pin in box.
Feather Merchant fly
A real classic. A Ted Trueblood designed steelhead fly pattern.
There are a couple of ways of catching steelhead and salmon this month on the stretch of the Rogue River that I fish a lot. Fly fishing remains a good option, and the fun thing is that you can go full purist with fly, switch or Spey rod, or you can fish a spinning rod with weighted fly and float bobber. With the fluctuating water levels of this month the latter method is a good option.
Plugs and spinners are also allowed now after the close of the flies only September through October period. The Coho salmon, currently present in the river and legal to fish for, will occasionally take a fly. However a plug, spoon or spinner is often the best presentation for the salmon. In the second half of this video I hook a nice Coho buck with a Rebel Crawdad plug. Very interesting in that I cast the lure out mid-river; had a spool over run with the fresh Maxima line; quickly fixed the tangle while the floating plug drifted downriver and immediately hooked the Coho upon beginning the retrieve. I have to wonder did the fish track and follow the lure while it was free floating downstream, or did it just drift down into his holding position and he immediately attack the lure upon the first wiggle of the retrieve?