ROGUE - A mix of late-run summer steelhead and some coho fishing has been going on in the upper Rogue, while the middle Rogue is still trying to hold on for some decent steelhead fishing with eggs and the lower Rogue has slowed for fresh winter steelhead and chinook after a little flurry amid higher water conditions last week.
That keeps the best bet the upper Rogue, but by default. Flows have dropped again after a spike last week that got the fish moving and biting. But flows are down and cold, harming the bite. Through Nov. 16, 5,110 coho had crossed Gold Ray Dam and hit the upper Rogue, with more than 1,000 them already finding their way into the hatchery. Coho are notorious non-biters, but the best places to intercept them are the far upper Rogue from the Slide Hole up to the Hatchery Hole. They'll eat eggs, red spinners or bright red streamers. The Sand Hole always has been decent for coho. All wild coho must be released unharmed. Many of the hatchery coho are dark by the time they reach Trail.
For summer steelhead, the numbers still remain low, with 6,426 fish over Gold Ray Dam through Nov. 16. The mid-November spike of water brought some good migration days at the dam, but things have slowed again. Look for the bite to pick up when the river rises and colors a bit again.
Downstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp remains open to flies and lures only. That, however, still allows the side-drifting of egg flies using regular spinning rods and weights. That action remains good, especially in shallow tail-outs downstream from spawning beds. Scent on your yarn flies always helps. Also, plug fishing should be good from driftboats during the day. Focus on tail-outs below spawning salmon. Many of the big fish are laying in shallow, fast water.
Flows have increased slightly at Lost Creek Lake, with about 2,490 cubic feet per second forecast for release Wednesday.
In the middle Rogue, steelhead fishing is fair with roe downstream from spawning beds. Tail-outs are best. Most of these fish are wild steelhead that must be released unharmed. Flows at Grants Pass were down to 3,128 cfs Wednesday. A few coho are getting caught below Savage Rapids Dam, but coho effort remains light. Cast red or orange flies, lures or corkies for them. The lower Rogue remains in fishable condition and anglers may see the first winter steelhead of the season this weekend.
All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.
UMPQUA - The South Umpqua re-opens to angling Saturday, but few steelhead should be in the system.
Steelhead fishing remains very slow in the fly-only area of the North Umpqua, and coho fishing is fair in the lower section of the North Umqua. No chinook are in the main-stem now, and only a handful of coho have shown up in recent catches. Water conditions are low and clear.
COOS - The first winter steelhead of the season were caught last week, with good fishing in the public access areas along the North Fork until water conditions dropped. Fall chinook fishing is done as low and cold water conditions have hampered angling for those chinook that have yet to spawn. No winter steelhead have been reported yet.
COQUILLE - Early winter steelhead catches were decent in the South Fork and fair in the North Fork. The East Fork opens to fishing Saturday. Bait out-fished plugs during the higher water. Catch and effort slowed this week as water conditions dropped and cleared.
CHETCO - After very good fall chinook and decent early winter steelhead fishing over the holidays, fishing has slowed for both species riverwide. Flows had dropped to 1,148 cubic feet per second on Wednesday afternoon, making for light action. When rains resume and the river increases, fish the migration lanes for chinook. A few early winter steelhead were taken on roe last week, but catches have slowed.
ELK/SIXES - Both streams were low and clear, meaning tough fishing this week. Fall chinook are holding in holes or on spawning beds now.
APPLEGATE - The Applegate is open for trout fishing, but anglers cannot target salmon or steelhead. Anglers are catching and releasing lots of wild rainbow trout from 15 up to 21 inches between Jackson Picnic Park and the deadline below the dam. Rainbow trout over 16 inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.