Even good Rogue River steelhead flies like the G.R Hare’s Ear and the Carpetbagger Nymph need time off for rest and recuperation. Take a look at this past weekend’s successful guide patterns. The Midnight Fire Carpetbagger lost all it’s rubble legs. The G.R. Hare’s Ear still looks like it might hook a fish…even though it lost a tail. In fact it did accounting for a large buck steelhead hooked in the waning hour of the afternoon. Good strong hooks can be stripped and retied on. That and a bit of retouching to the hook point with a file are warranted for this pair.
My first venture out for the month was today. I hooked four and landed three steelhead, all on my own ties. A double bead stonefly and a Brown Fork Tail Prince nymph was the tandem team. Getting your flies down and dredging the bottom is definitely the ticket right now in the 1800 CFS flow. One of the fish caught may have come up to the trailing Prince Nymph judging that I could feel the bite as the fly was swinging and rising at the end of a drift. I encountered no gill-punched retread fish this early September, just fresh chrome sides as the video below will show..
Although the weather may not show it, winter is still here in the Rogue Valley. Sunny, mild days persist with daytime temperatures near the 70°F mark. During this stretch the lack of any measurable rainfall has left the rivers low and fishable; and right on time the winter steelhead are ever arriving and catchable.
Bless with this treat of fishable waters through early March, I have ventured out on both the Rogue and Applegate Rivers. From early-on plug, bait, and spoon high water efforts, the fishing method as of late has been with flies. Once again patterns such as the Carpetbagger Nymphs, bead head G.R. Hare’s Ears and Prince Nymphs are taking steelhead. I reckon it is the same old melody, but those buggy flies do really do the trick on the above mentioned rivers.
The Waddington shank Jock Scott is similar to the regular hook Jock Scott in colors and materials. However the similarity ends there with the Intruder-style octopus hook attached to the posterior end of the shank. The tip, tag and butt section, found in the classic, salmon-hook pattern, are tied on the rear octopus hook. The majority body section and wing of the fly are tied “in the round” on the Waddington shank. In truth this wing built “in the round” is different than the classic, upright Atlantic salmon fly wing, but the colors and effect are much the same. Hope the fish agree.
Low cold water, shy bite…small flies on the swing have proved productive. Thin tippets have also been key. Depending upon the water, I’ve scaled down to six pound test. Generally two flies are good and the norm. A large Carpetbagger or other stonefly and a trailing smaller fly works well.
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.
Today’s hot steelhead slammed a Carpetbagger Nymph. First cast! No kidding. One cast into the run and, “Fish on!” Taking full advantage of the recent increase in water flow within the Rogue River of Oregon, this hatchery steelhead put on a very hard and stubborn fight. Happy to see the Midnight Rainbow Carpetbagger holding firm and strong in the jaw of this wily Rogue River bright.