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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 9/18/18)


The Rogue River summer steelhead season has been going great since getting going in late June, and is really starting to pick up just in the last week or so!  Our biggest push of summer steelhead are just starting to get into the upper Rogue, and fishing will just keep getting better for another 6 weeks or so.  The best spey fishing will be over the next month, as the fish are more willing to chase the swung fly when the water temperatures are still over 50 degrees.  It looks like another great season is coming, as the Huntley Park seine counts are running almost double of the 10 year average.  There will be a lot of 20 inchers in the river this year, as those were all part of the huge run of half pounders in the lower/middle river last fall.  There will also be plenty of big steelhead as well, as I've caught quite a few over 27 inches myself already this summer and one over 30. 

I fish mostly classic hairwing/feather wing patterns, muddlers, and skaters this time of year in the mornings and evenings, but will fish bigger flies on my skagit rod when the sun is high in the sky.  I like to have hot colored butts (pink, red, &/or chartreuse) on my flies when I'm fishing hairwing/feather wing patterns, 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 springers have gotten on their redds in the upper river by Shady Cove pretty thick in the last week, so the egg bite is turning on up there already.  Below Touvelle the egg bite is still a few weeks away, although steelhead will eat the egg any time of the year. 

The Holy Water jas beem fishing ok with some caddis and mayflies still hatching.  Generally nymphing and streamers will be your best bet this time of year, but be ready to throw dries if the fish start rising.  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, and the fishing has just been OK for most people I've talked to up there.  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 had been fishing pretty well through the early summer, but now quite a few fish have left the lake so the Williamson has been fishing quite good the last month or so.
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medford oregon fly fishing shop, rogue river fishing reports, steelhead fly fishing
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