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River Outlook: Nov. 12, 2009

ROGUE - The upper Rogue is still pretty good for a mix of bait, plug and fly-fishing for summer steelhead, while the middle Rogue continues to be a good place for catch-and-release fishing for wild summer steelhead, and the lower Rogue bay has slowed for a mix of coho and chinook as coastal anglers scramble to nearby streams with fresher fish.

That means the upper Rogue holds onto its station as the best bet for another November week.

Upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp, anglers are side-drifting small pieces of roe or egg flies and doing fairly well for summer steelhead in tail-outs and around boulders. Bait returned to this set of water as of Nov. 1, and the steelhead remain keyed in on single salmon eggs floating down from the gravel shallows.

Plug fishing will work for some of the bigger summer steelhead when the sun's on the water. Downstream of the Shady Cove ramp, anglers are relegated to artificial flies, lures and plastic baits but no regular baits like roe or worms. Single-egg patterns side-drifted from boats remain very effective all day along this stretch.

As of Oct. 31, there were 5,417 summer steelhead and 467 coho salmon counted at Gold Ray Dam. Flows out of Lost Creek Lake are up a hair to 1,090 cubic feet per second. The reach remains low, largely because of low tributary flows.

The middle Rogue has seen some fresh summer steelhead move in recently, and catches for them have been good with roe and plugs. The majority of these fish are wild summer steelhead that will spawn in middle Rogue tributaries beginning next month, and they'll start to congregate around creek mouths waiting for a freshet to trigger their upstream charge.

Chinook fishing is hit-or-miss in the Agness area, with catches decent, but most of the fish are big and dark. Many of these dark chinook are bound for the Illinois, and they will shoot up the Illinois once flows rise there. Catch these fish now in the Rogue by side-drifting roe. The Quosatana area remains best.

Halfpounder fishing remains good, and fly-fishing for them around Agness is very good thanks to low-water conditions, but look for fly-fishing success to wane dramatically if the river rises over 3,000 cfs at Agness.

The lower Rogue Canyon remains very good for adult steelhead and halfpounders, with angling no longer restricted to artificial flies and lures. Worms or roe side-drifted from boats or crayfish plugs work well, and flows remain low enough for good catching on streamer flies.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide. The far upper Rogue and its tributaries upstream of Lost Creek Lake are closed.

UMPQUA - Chinook and coho are on the move in the mainstem river, and remnants of both can be found all the way up to the forks. Fish coho with red spinners and chinook with roe and sandshrimp combinations either back-bounced or fished beneath a bobber in slack water. The vast majority of the catches are wild coho that must be released unharmed. Summer steelhead fishing is fair to slow in the flies-only waters of the North Umpqua, where cold water has kept the fish down and dirty. Chinook fishing is closed in the Rock Creek area.

COQUILLE - Fall chinook fishing has tailed off for those trolling downstream from Coquille.

CHETCO - Fishing remains closed upstream of the Highway 101 bridge until further notice. Catches have been good in the estuary west of the bridge.

ELK - Chinook are distributed throughout much of the lower reach and fresh chinook are coming over the bar and into tidewater during a string of daytime high tides this week. Fly-fishing and fishing spinners in the estuary has been fair to good. Fishing with roe and sandshrimp farther upstream has been fair to good. Another rainstorm will spread the chinook out significantly. The bag limit is two chinook a day, but only one can be wild. The wild limit is five per year in the zone.

SIXES - Fishing for chinook has been fair to good on occasions in tidewater as high tides and a short freshet have pulled chinook over the bar and into the river. The river's all-wild run has an angling limit of one wild chinook a day and up to five per year for the zone.