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MailTribune.com
  • 6 on the fly

    Six spots to try your fly-fishing skill on the upper Rogue River
  • For fly-fishers, a huge benefit of living in — or visiting — the Rogue Valley is the ability to test your mettle on the river Zane Grey made famous.
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  • For fly-fishers, a huge benefit of living in — or visiting — the Rogue Valley is the ability to test your mettle on the river Zane Grey made famous.
    From early July through the Christmas holidays, fly-fishing for summer steelhead along the upper Rogue River is something easily pulled off between Shakespeare plays, wine tasting and holiday feasts — if you know where to go.
    Here's a look at the upper Rogue's Sweet Six steelheading spots, which offer a chance at success for flyfishers who otherwise wouldn't know where to cast for a summer steelhead.
    With an Oregon fishing license, a box full of streamers and nymphs, as well as a wad of dollar bills to pay for parking, these spots — from TouVelle State Park off Table Rock Road all the way upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery's aptly named Hatchery Hole — are the ones to sample for summer steelhead migrating in the upper Rogue.
    These easy-access spots start at the lowest point on the upper Rogue and work their way upstream.
    The Sewer Hole
    Downstream from the lower portion of TouVelle State Park, off Table Rock Road in White City, the Sewer Hole is where the discharge tube dumps water from Medford's water-treatment plant. The waters upstream of it are a steelheaders' gold mine.
    The water regularly holds migrating steelhead. Also, recycled hatchery steelhead occasionally are released at the TouVelle boat ramp, and they almost always drop into the Sewer Hole for a few days before heading back upstream.
    From Medford, take Table Rock Road north. After crossing the Rogue, take a left into the parking lot. Drive down to the end. Access is by walking down the boat ramp and wading downstream. Fishing is best from the top of the riffle all the way around the corner to the tailout immediately across from the actual release location for treated effluent from the adjacent water-treatment plant.
    Swing streamers or fish weighted nymphs like hair's ears, Ugly Bugs or single salmon egg patterns.
    Upper TouVelle
    Above the upstream portion of TouVelle State Park, which is bisected by Table Rock Road near White City, this stretch starts on the island just upstream of Bybee Bridge, where Table Rock Road spans the Rogue.
    Spey-rod anglers like to park at the upper parking lot and hike upstream to cast while wading in the mouth of Little Butte Creek. Also, the riffle between the parking lot and the creek mouth fishes well with streamers or nymphs.
    Still others will bypass the park altogether and park on the river's north bank, then climb down and wade across a short side-channel before heading upstream to fish the riffle from the north bank.
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