ROGUE - Late-season winter steelhead fishing remains surprisingly good in the middle and upper Rogue, while spring chinook fishing remains fair but consistent in the lower Rogue. The upper Rogue has a whopping 15 springers over Gold Ray Dam as of April 25, so that makes 5 a.m. a sleeping hour, not a fishing hour, for salmon anglers.
The best bet remains the middle or upper Rogue, depending upon which is closer. The middle Rogue has remained steady for driftboaters using worms and watermelon corkies. Many of the fish are dark and spawned-out steelhead. As of April 25, 8,195 winter steelhead have crossed Gold Ray Dam, with a pretty good flurry last week after the storms. They are not showing up as strongly in the catch as they should, largely because the water releases from Lost Creek Lake remain at 47 degrees. Bait is out-fishing plugs, but the plugs are catching bigger fish. Size 11 Kwikfish, pearl or silver or chartreuse and silver, are working best. Focus on tail-outs.
In the lower Rogue, about 18 to 20 spring chinook are being caught daily amid continually cold, but improving, water conditions. Most of the catches recently have come at Elephant Rock, but anglers are getting fish anywhere along the lower 18 miles of the river. Use an anchovy with a green-and-yellow spinner blade in front of it. Bounce your baits in 4-6 feet of water along inside turns of gravel bars. All wild springers must be released unharmed, and wild springers are so far dominating the catch.
Beginning today, all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The entire river downstream of the hatchery diversion remains closed through May 24 for trout fishing, fin-clipped or otherwise. That includes native cutthroat trout, which always must be released unharmed. The entire river is open for bait fishing.
UMPQUA - Spring chinook have started coming up the main-stem Umpqua and anglers have been catching good numbers of springers. The stretch from Scottsburg to Elkton tends to be the best for the early spring chinook. As water flows drop, look for springers to get on the move. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed system-wide. The South Umpqua is closed to angling. Sturgeon and striped bass fishing remain slow.
COQUILLE - The entire system is closed to steelhead fishing. Trout fishing is closed in streams and tidewater until May 24.
CHETCO - The Chetco River system is closed to all angling until May 24.
ELK/SIXES - Both river systems are closed to angling until May 24.
WINDCHUCK - The river system is closed to all angling until May 24.
APPLEGATE - The river system is closed to all angling until May 24.
CROOKED - Warmer weather is resulting in some nice insect hatches for fly-fishermen, who are doing fairly well on redband trout. Biologists have begun a radio-telemetry study on redband trout and whitefish, and anglers are reminded that it is illegal to keep or kill a radio-tagged fish. To determine if a fish is radio-tagged, anglers should check for an 8-inch wire antenna protruding from the rear of both redband and mountain whitefish.
DESCHUTES - Trout fishing is improving on the lower Deschutes with the warmer temperatures. Trout anglers should be successful using nymphs, but anglers should also be watchful for mid-day hatches. A few March brown and blue-winged olive mayflie hatches should be occurring. The Deschutes River upstream from the northern boundary of the Warms Springs Reservation is now open and fishing is good.