Considering all the snow, ice, rain and high water of early January this year it is good to reflect back on the warm days and hot fish of summer on the Rogue River, Oregon. Early morning wet wading. Oh what a treat. It will be a while until we can do this again. In the meantime keep an eye on the weather and river flow. Winter steelhead fishing is next on the Rogue agenda, and with the high water flows, fish could be trickling in sooner than expected.
A diminutive Brown Fork Tail Prince Nymph working well. I like the pattern with a slight, yellow-brown tail. Today I was using the pattern on the size 10 hook.
For several years I’ve been tying old classic fly patterns on decorative hook pins for Christmas. Here are a few of my favorites. The hat pin hooks are not easy to tie on. There is a lot that you have to work around. Number one is avoid the sharp point of the pin. Ouch, but the results are sure worth it. The finished pins do look great worn on clothing lapel or hat brim.
Even with all the fancy fly choices you can fling out there, cold water Rogue River steelhead like Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymphs best. Maybe it is the wiggly legs? Maybe it is the cool New Age Chenille body colors? Maybe it’s the weighted bead head? Maybe all that real matters is that they work best in the waning months of the year! Try the Midnight Fire, Midnight Rainbow or Copper/Gold/Black chenille body colors. Try the bead head “Magic Flies” this November and December and don’t go home a big gobbler!.
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?
The steelhead bite has been super slow the later part of this month. Teri and I found a couple to play Saturday afternoon on two low-water floats. One came unglued, but the second steelhead came to net during the warm moments of the late evening sunset. The fly was a small Pheasant & Hare.