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River Outlook

ROGUE - The middle Rogue continues to churn out decent catches of adult and halfpounder steelhead, while fresh winter steelhead continue to push through the lower Rogue despite gin-clear water and the upper Rogue is its stagnant December self as all of the steelheading world prays for rain.

That makes the best bet still the middle Rogue, where flows are about as low as they get.

The Grants Pass gauge on Wednesday showed the Rogue at 1,500 cubic feet per second of flow, which makes even the well-channeled middle Rogue a scrapey float in places.

Plugs are out-producing bait, with K-11 Kwikfish and Bagley crayfish plugs the top choices.

And don't cross the Josephine County line without at least one Cop Car WeeWart in the box.

The upper Rogue from the Gold Ray Dam upstream to the Shady Cove boat ramp now is open to flies and lures, but no bait. Fishing there has been fair, with a mix of small adults around 18 inches to fish in the 6-pound range. Side-drifting egg flies is best.

The water upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp is open to bait fishing, and side-drifting small clusters of roe is good from Rogue Elk to Shady Cove. Most of the bigger fish are in faster water, and a decent contingent of halfpounder-sized resident rainbow trout appear to be in the mix.

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was just passing in-flow at Lost Creek dam, where the releases were stuck Wednesday at 1,128 cfs.

Summer steelhead movement is small. As of Nov. 29, there have been 5,763 summer steelhead and 2,224 coho over Gold Ray Dam. Both numbers are quite low.

In the lower Rogue bay, fishing for coho and chinook was over. But more winter steelhead blazed upstream and were tough to catch in the water so clear that the fish were easy to spook.

UMPQUA - Low-water conditions have hurt the winter steelhead fishing in the mainstem river, where coho still are getting caught.

Fishing in the North Umpqua remains slow amid poor water conditions, and the South Umpqua is very low and not accepting fresh fish yet.

All wild steelhead throughout the system now must be released unharmed.

COQUILLE - The river was low and clear and fishing poorly for early-run winter steelhead. Rains are needed to get things going.

ELK/SIXES - Both systems have dropped and fishing has slowed dramatically for fall chinook. A few anglers are walking into the Orchard Hole and the Highway 101 hole to fish bobbers, eggs and sandshrimp. Catches, however, are light.

APPLEGATE - The river is open to trout fishing, and anglers are finding some rainbows and cutthroat. All wild rainbow trout and all cutthroats must be released unharmed.

CHETCO - The river was flowing at just 779 cubic feet per second at the gauge at Ice Box, and that's far too low and clear for decent winter steelhead and late-run fall chinook fishing. A serious rain is needed to jump-start that fishery.

When the rains return, fish a combination of eggs and live sandshrimp for the chinook, or side-drift roe for steelhead.