Teri Selbicky hooks up the first winter steelhead of 2018. I helped her finally land it. For the first of February the weather is extremely nice. Air temperatures today got up to around the mid 60°F’s. The river CFS (cubic feet per second) is about 1560 and the afternoon river temperature is around 46°F. The bite came in the early afternoon to a small nymph swung with a Carpetbagger Nymph from the front of the drift boat. The water type was a sunlit, and gentle riffle at the top of a run, just like where you would fish during the early summer.
January 4, 2018 I found the trout are more active and biting well now. There was even a little hatch of small flies coming off the water. I found the hatchery stock summer steelhead are still in the Rogue River near Medford, Oregon. A Yellow Fork Tail Prince Nymph accounted for this retread summer steelhead. The Orange Bead Head Carpetbagger (Brownbagger) Nymph was also attracting a lot of attention in the very clear and low water of the day. First steelhead of 2018!
For some reason the steelhead bite really came on in the afternoon on July 19, 2017. The fish sure kept me busy with the hookups coming fast and furious. I managed to catch some of the action on video. The fish were hitting small stuff like G.R. Hare’s Ear, Prince and Pheasant Tail Nymphs. The small nymphs were fished as the dropper fly off of larger, heavier Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymphs. Oh, and I did manage to land a humdinger of a hatchery steelhead. Fillets for the table!
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.
The Prince Nymph. Also know as the Brown Fork Tail. The most prolific steelhead catching fly of the past season. Fished on a dead drift. The weighted Prince. I like a brass bead and wrapped lead wire underneath. A drop or two of Zap-A-Gap will cement it in place. Two brown goose biots are wrapped on as a forked tail with red thread. An oval silver tinsel is attached to the far side to be wrapped as a rib. A length of strong, fine wire is attached to the near side. The thread is advanced to the front of the hook. 15 pieces of natural peacock herl are attached there at their fine tips. The thread is wrapped back to the base of the tail over the herl. At this point the red thread is wrapped around the full length of the peacock herl strands. The herl and the thread are twisted together to form a strong rope. Then the “rope” is wrapped to the front of the hook forming a tapered body. End the peacock herl body behind the brass bead head. Be sure to separate the extra herl from the thread. Clip the herl leaving a little free space behind the bead. Wind the oval silver tinsel forward over the body with 5 or 6 equal spaced wraps to the front. Counter wind the strong wire over the tinsel to the front. Bind down the tinsel and wire with several taunt wraps of the red thread. Trim the excess tinsel and wire ends. Attach a prepared brown feather hackle to the little space left between the body and the bead head. The fibers of the hackle can be folded to help slant rearward. The brown hackle is wrapped once or twice to sweep rearward as a collar. Two white goose biots are attached to the top just behind the bead as wings. To securely attach the wings, I like to fold/bend the cut ends rearward and cover them with the final wraps of thread. Build up a little red space with the tread behind the bead, whip finish and cut the thread. Several coats of cement (Sally Hansens or Zap-A-Gap) are applied to the thread. Notice the folded end of the white goose biot poking out at the base of the wing. A very attached wing that will not slip off.