River Outlook: Nov. 5, 2010

ROGUE - Anglers are battling low water flows river-wide, but it hasn't kept them from catching summer steelhead in the upper Rogue. A few coho are getting caught in the middle Rogue along with a smattering of summer steelhead, while the Agness area remains fair to good for fat and feisty halfpounders biting flies or spinners.

That keeps the best bet on the upper Rogue, where it's a pick-your-pleasure fishery now.

Those fishing from the Hatchery Hole to the Shady Cove boat ramp now have their full arsenal open to them. The annual flies-only season ended Sunday night, so anglers can now drift-fish with worms or roe for summer steelhead. Most driftboaters are side-drifting roe or egg flies soaked in roe juice in the heads of riffles immediately downstream of chinook salmon redds. A few anglers are finding steelhead with crayfish plugs on sunny days, but the chinook are keying in on eggs.

From the Shady Cove ramp downstream to the former Gold Ray Dam site, anglers are relegated to artificial flies and lures but no bait. So most are either fly-fishing or side-drifting single salmon-egg patterns in riffles immediately downstream of spawning chinook. The change in rules, however, means molded plastic egg patterns are now legal, and they are excellent choices for the next week.

Some big fish have been in the mix of late, with a regular complement of 10-pounders showing up in catches. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Flows are not expected to rise much until late next week.

The Agness area continues to be fair for a mix of relatively dark fall chinook, summer steelhead and halfpounders, though halfpounder fishing has dominated the action of late. Evenings and mornings are best. Panther Martin lures and red ant flies work well. The current low flows are helpful to fly-fishers swinging flies, especially in the evening.

The limit is five fin-clipped halfpounders a day under 16 inches. Over 16 inches and they are considered adults in the Rogue during the summer steelhead run.

In the middle Rogue, fishing for summer steelhead and cutthroat trout is fair and a bit sporadic. Plug fishermen are catching coho in Brushy Chutes and at Robertson Bridge.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua continues to fish fair to good for coho salmon up near the forks, and water conditions have been low. Coho are also moving into the North Umpqua. Only fin-clipped coho may be kept, and wild coho continue to dominate the catch. The South Umpqua is closed to all angling until mid-November.

COQUILLE - The wild coho salmon season in the river is over. The lower river remains good for fall chinook fishing, with trollers getting fish anywhere from Bandon all the way to the head of tidal-influenced water near Myrtle Point. Large spinners or cut-plug herring have worked.

COOS - Fall chinook salmon fishing is decent in the South Fork of the Coos River. Trolling cut-plug herring or sardines continues to produce fish, with gold-bladed spinners a decent backup choice. Sand shrimp drifted under bobbers have been producing chinook in the upper South Fork of the Coos River in pools where chinook are hiding out in low water.

ELK/SIXES - Fall chinook salmon have spread throughout both systems thanks to last week's rains, and fishing has slowed amid low and clear conditions. The mouth of the Elk River has seen some good schools enter this week, and fishing pressure there is heavy. Upstream, the fish are holding in pools, so the best results have come to those fishing roe and sandshrimp under bobbers.

Fresh chinook have moved into the lower Sixes, with fishing good in the Orchard and Hughes holes mainly during overcast periods.

CHETCO - The river opened a week early for fall chinook, and fishing has been fair to decent. Chinook are spread throughout the system, but low and clear conditions persist. Flows Thursday were down to 1,315 cubic feet per second. The Chetco fishes best with flows around 4,000 cfs and dropping. Anglers fishing roe and sandshrimp under bobbers in holes have done best, while a few chinook are taking Kwikfish in tailouts.

A spike of about 2,600 cfs is expected Sunday, but Chetco chinook usually don't bite well when the water is rising. Look for a good bite with fresh fish possible Monday as the river drops.

Chinook fishing in the estuary continues to be fair and occasionally good for those trolling large sardines.

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