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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 in both the fall and the winter 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 7/25/17)


The SALMONFLY hatch has come and gone on the Rogue...  It's been another great trout season, with hundreds of small rainbows, quite a few nice cutties and resident rainbows, as well as 3 steelhead that we saw but couldn't quite land on the big dry flies. 

Now our focus has shifted to our favorite species of fish...our beloved Rogue River summer steelhead!  There are already quite a few fish here in the upper Rogue, and our really first big push of steelhead is getting into the cooler waters of the upper Rogue right now.  537 hatchery summer steelhead have already made it to the hatchery, with almost 400 of those in just the past two weeks.  This is the time of year I start swinging flies pretty regularly before/after work, as that's when the fishing is the best.  these early summer fish are really grabby to the dry line as well as the dry flies, and provide some of my biggest takes of the year so hold on when you feel the pull!  I got my first fish on a classic hairwing in the first five minutes of the first swing run on my first steelhead float of the summer in late June, so get out there while the getting is good!

I fish mostly classic hairwing/feather wing patterns and skaters this time of year.  I like to have hot colored butts (pink, red, &/or chartreuse) on my flies for the early fish, but they will take anything swung well so pick your favorite color and fish it with confidence.  I do fish dark colors mostly on the dry line, as I fish a lot early morning and late evening when fish will see dark flies close to the surface the best.  Once the sun has been on the water for a few hours I switch up to the skagit head and sink tip with slightly bigger flies (hoh bo speys, reverse marabou mini intruders, fish tacos etc).  Nymph the usual suspects like Ugly/Otis bugs, copper swans, princess nymphs, steelhead brassies, rubber leg stones etc.

The Holy Water fished pretty well like usual during the salmonfly hatch.  It should continue to fish well up there with golden stones, lots of caddis, and numerous mayflies hatching at different times.  Also throw the salmonfly dry every once in a while.  The fish have stopped seeing the big bugs, but haven't forgotten about them totally yet.  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: 

The summer steelhead are also in the North Umpqua river, which will fish really well over the next few months too.  This is one of the prettiest places you will ever fish, and one of the best chances to catch a steelhead skating dry flies.  I always look forward to a few quick camping trips up there every year in the summer to try and skate up the fish of a lifetime!

Trout season is open everywhere again, and most places are fishing pretty well.  The Williamson has been decent, and will just keep getting better as Klamath Lake keeps warming up.  NorCal stuff is all fishing pretty well too, although it always gets a bit tougher this time of year when the water gets pretty low and clear.

The lake fishing has also picked up quickly with the warmer weather we are getting.  I've heard good reports from almost all the lakes, and especially the higher elevation ones the last week or so.  Klamath Lake has been fishing pretty well over the last month or so, but will start to slow down as lots of fish leave the lake for the cooler waters of the Williamson and Sprague.
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medford oregon fly fishing shop, rogue river fishing reports, steelhead fly fishing
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