ROGUE - This week's rains raised and muddied the Rogue more like a winter storm than a spring shower, and the shake-up should be good for spring chinook fishing once things simmer down. That could come as early as today in parts of the upper Rogue and perhaps Friday in the middle Rogue.
The best bet will be the middle Rogue area on both sides of Grants Pass for spring chinook, which are on the move as the water drops and clears. Flows have been high.
The river level at Grants Pass snuck under 8,000 cubic feet per second Wednesday afternoon, and the flow forecast calls for the flows to drop to about 5,000 cfs by Saturday morning. That should be perfect to intercept springers downstream of Savage Rapids Dam, in the Gold Hill area, as well as Griffin Creek and other popular spots.
Boat fishing will outstrip bank angling because these springers won't be holding in holes. They'll be hugging the inside turns of gravel bars and other obvious migration lanes. Catch them on Kwikfish wrapped with sardine filets; roe will be a second-tier bait until the water levels stabilize.
On the far upper Rogue, a few bank anglers are catching spring chinook off the dike at Cole Rivers Hatchery, but the flows are pretty fierce. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing 4,500 cfs of water Wednesday and it will hold that until the in-flows drop below 4,500. Then the Corps will be passing in-flow, and that could happen as soon as today. Bank anglers are using glow-in-the-dark corkies at dawn for best results.
Downstream of Big Butte Creek should be clear enough for angling today. The early run is dominated by fin-clipped hatchery fish, and most are around 12 pounds this year
In the lower Rogue, fishing was picking up Saturday before the freshet dirtied the water and the fierce winds blew boats off the bay. Fishing ought to return as early as today, and catches should improve as more fish get on the move.
The upper Rogue has more than 5,600 winter steelhead spread out from Gold Ray Dam to Cole Rivers Hatchery. Steelhead fishing is slow and most of the catches are spawned-out kelts that should be released unharmed. All wild steelhead must be released unharmed river-wide.
All wild spring chinook must be released unharmed.
ILLINOIS - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.
UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua is high and fishing for spring chinook is tough. The North Umpqua has kept its color and some spring chinook were caught in the Rock Creek area. The estuary has improved for sturgeon but remains slow for striped bass.
The South Umpqua is closed to all angling.
COQUILLE - The river is closed to angling. Sturgeon fishing in the Coquille's tidewater has been slow. Striped bass fishing has been slow, also, but there have been a few fish caught near the town of Coquille.
COOS - The freshwater portion of the river is closed to angling. Fishing for sturgeon is slow in the estuary, as is fishing for striped bass. Good catches of black rockfish have occurred in the lower bay near the high and low slack tides.
ELK/SIXES - Both rivers are closed to steelhead fishing.
APPLEGATE - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.
CHETCO - The river is closed to all angling until May 23.
METOLIUS - Anglers are reporting recently that redband trout are starting to become more active. Recent warm weather should result in some improved insect hatches and great fishing.
KLAMATH - Angling has been slow for native redband trout, primarily because of high and dirty flows. Water temperatures have cooled to the lower 50s. River flows at 1,200 cfs below Keno Dam should provide fair opportunities for anglers. Optimum flows for angling are below 1,000 cfs. Most redband trout have completed their spawn.