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Fly Fishing the Rogue River Valley

Welcome to the Wild and Scenic Rogue River!  Swinging flies for steelhead practically started here on the Rogue with Zane Grey being one of the first to write about this magical place and fishery.  Now the Rogue River Summer Steelhead Run is famous all over the world and for damn good reason!  We catch Steelhead (and Trout) on the fly 365 days of the year here, with fresh fish moving through different parts of the river(s) at different times.  This is our home water, and some of the best steelhead fishing in the World is found right here from July through November.  Winter steelhead season on the Rogue goes from January through April, with March and April being the peak months.

There are many other great fisheries in our region that should be explored at certain times of the year as well.  The North Umpqua River from Roseburg to Soda Springs is the other world famous steelhead river in southwest Oregon, and once you see the scenery and experience the pull from these wild steelhead you will instantly know why!  There are steelhead moving through the N Umpqua all year too, and they are some of the largest anywhere in the world.  The South Umpqua offers great winter steelhead fishing from January through early April as well.  When at all possible we do our winter/spring guiding on the Umpquas, as the winter steelhead run on those rivers is one of the best in the world and 15 pounders aren't uncommon!

The Applegate River is a nearby tributary of the Rogue, and can be an amazing winter steelhead fishery until closing April 1st.  After re-opening in late May it's a beautiful spot to fish for trout, camp, and explore (Applegate Lake as well).  The Illinois River offers incredible fishing and scenery for big winter steelhead as well!  Many of the famous Rogue "half pounders" spend their fall near the confluence of the Illinois and Rogue, so you can have a blast with a 3 or 4 weight switch down by Agness in October.  In the winter the Illinois gets many of the biggest steelhead that swim through the Rogue River Watershed. 

All the steelhead in our area are very healthy and strong fish, as they have been swimming up Class IV+ rapids and waterfalls for generations.  Once you feel the grab and your reel starts singing your favorite song you will know why so many fly fishers have come here and never left!

Trout fishing in southern Oregon and northern California is also world class! 

The "Holy Water" at the top of the Rogue is a great stretch of trout water, and especially popular during the Salmonfly hatch in late May and early June.  Trout season on the entire Rogue opens on May 22nd, which is generally towards the beginning of the huge salmonfly hatch.  Some of our best days are during this time of year, as we throw big dries all day, get tons of action, and catch plenty of fish!  The Rogue has some big cutties as well as resident trout, smolt, and the occasional early summer steelhead that eats the big dry fly!

Upper Klamath Lake feeds the Klamath River, which has great trout fishing in the Oregon stretch.  And with the announced removal of Iron Gate and other dams we will once again have steelhead swimming in the Oregon stretch of the Klamath River in the near future.  Feeding into Upper Klamath Lake are the Williamson and Wood, with the Sprague River feeding into the Williamson at Chiloquin.  These rivers are home to some of the largest trout on the West Coast, as some of them are descendents of steelhead that were trapped when the dams went in.  The season here runs from the end of May through the end of October, and trout can be caught every way possible.  During the warmer summer months the rainbows leave the shallow lake and reside in the cooler more oxygenated and bug infested waters of the spring fed rivers listed above, so make sure and bring a 6 weight with you and be ready for a 10 pounder on every cast!  The Upper Sac, Pit, McCloud, etc are all great options for trout fishing nearby in Northern California as well. 

(Updated 5/22/19)


Today is opening day of trout season here on the Rogue, and the salmonflies are hatching!  The hatch has just started and will get much bigger in the next week as we get warmer weather.  My best guess is the fishing will really turn on about the middle of next week when there are thousands of the giant stoneflies flying around.  Salmonfly floats are some of the funnest trips of the year, as it's constant action just throwing single dry flies!  Tons of smaller trout, with some bigger cutthroat and rainbows mixed in, and we hook a steelhead on the big dries every 3rd or 4th day out there.  Give a call to the shop to schedule your trip today to get out there and have a blast in the nice weather.

It was another great run of summer steelhead on the Rogue last year, and we're already starting to look forward to our first summer chromers arriving in the upper river in June.  The Huntley Park seine counts were well past double of the 10 year average last year, so as always thanks to all who helped get our dams out as that's what has made our summer run so great!  There were a lot of ~20 inch summers in the river last year, as those were all part of the huge run of half pounders in the lower/middle river in the fall of 2017.  Next summer all those fish will be 24 - 28 inches along with a boatload more 20 inchers as we had another huge run of half pounders this past year, so I certainly expect an even better summer run this year!

The Holy Water was starting to fish better before the crazy high water, and hopefully will fish good again now that the water is fishable (still high though).  Generally nymphing, swinging stonefly nymphs or soft hackles, and streamers will be your best bet this time of year if the fish aren't rising, but bring the dry fly rod as you can generally get at least one greedy fish to rise to a big dry even before the salmonflies start hatching (especially true in the evenings).  There are now boxes to report your catch up there, so please do your part it will help the ODFW know how good the fishing is so they know if they need to stock more fish.

Other Local Fisheries: 

We'll look forward to the trout opener on May 22nd and the SALMONFLY hatch on the Rogue! 

Over the next 6 weeks or so some of the lakes like Klamath will start fishing better and better.  Also bass fishing the lakes should get quite good on flies as the fish will be in shallower water the next few months.  I definitely enjoy getting out there and throwing poppers and big streamer type flies for both smallies and largemouth.  Emigrant is a fun spot that is nice and close as well. 

Trout season is pretty much over on area rivers until May 22nd, but the eastern Oregon rivers like the Owyhee should fish well if you just can't wait another 9 days.  You'll have to fish fairly close to the dam though, as the river will be blown out downstream.

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