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!
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.
Boy did I get into them yesterday for the first time this summer. On my solo visit to the Rogue River I went 0 for 3 on the silver, chrome rockets. Took out a few trips earlier this month in the Drifter but could connect with nothing but trout. Yesterday’s visit was nothing but steelhead bites. I hiked one of my better trails to the river. The mosquitos are still bad, but the hot fishing in hot weather made it all good! The hot fly was my Yellow Fork Tailed Prince Nymph. The steelhead love it!
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.
Bill McMillan’s Steelhead Caddis is a great fly pattern this time of year on the Rogue River of Oregon
Lower water, warm afternoons…if you want to hook a steelhead near the surface, this is a great fly to go to on the Rogue River this time of year. Tied on a size 6 Partridge Wilson hook.