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River Outlook: Aug. 5, 2010

ROGUE - Fall chinook are rolling and jumping in the lower Rogue River estuary, but catching them is proving to be a challenge, and summer steelhead are lying low. In the middle Rogue, some bright chinook are passing through and summer steelhead have been active. In the upper river, anglers have had success on early-run summer steelhead, and spring chinook fishing remains open between Gold Ray Dam and Dodge Bridge, while fishing for adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout has been very good. That leaves the upper Rogue as the best bet for the weekend, at least until the bay heats up again.

The upper Rogue has a decent mix of steelhead and spring chinook, with steelhead the top draw for most anglers. They're aggressive this time of year and will hit everything from roe and worms to streamer flies, nymphs, small spinners and smaller crayfish-patterned plugs.

Fishing for spring chinook is closed between Dodge Bridge and Cole Rivers Hatchery. The Rogue River from Gold Ray Dam up to Dodge Bridge remains open for chinook, including the harvest of nonadipose fin-clipped spring chinook salmon through Tuesday, Aug. 31. This is the first year anglers have had this opportunity.

Jackson County has closed access to the river from a point 1,000 feet above Gold Ray Dam to a point 500 feet below the dam to accommodate work to remove the dam. The change should not significantly affect anglers fishing below the dam.

On Aug. 3, flows out of Lost Creek Reservoir were at 2,210 cubic feet per second, and the flow at Gold Ray Dam was 2,240 cfs. The river temperature was 52 degrees at the reservoir outflow and averaged 62 degrees at Gold Ray Dam and 65 degrees around Galice.

Chinook are visible throughout the lower estuary, but anglers are having mixed success catching them. Most of the fish are being caught downstream of Highway 101. The best bait is a straight anchovy or anchovy with a spinner blade in front, but anchovies are in very short supply, so anglers may need to bring their own. Summer steelhead fishing has been slow as river flows have dropped and water temperatures in the lower river have risen.

In the middle Rogue, some bright chinook are passing through, and summer steelhead are being caught. The flow at Grants Pass on Aug. 3. was 1,780 cfs and the water temperature was 65 degrees. Trout and steelhead have been biting small spinners, Panther Martins and copper colored lures.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed riverwide.

The far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir is stocked weekly with legal-sized rainbow trout.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead.

The South Umpqua is open to trout and smallmouth bass fishing. The South and its tributaries are open from Jackson Creek downstream to the mouth. Jackson Creek and above is closed to angling. Tributaries to the South Umpqua, plus Cow Creek and its tributaries, require the use of artificial flies and lures. Bait is allowed in the mainstem South. Bass fishing in the South is good.

In the North Umpqua, fly fishing has been good for summer steelhead. Only adipose fin-clipped steelhead can be harvested on the North Umpqua. Chinook fishing in the North Umpqua closed July 31. The North is open to catch-and-release trout fishing from the mouth upstream to Soda Springs Dam.

COQUILLE - A few chinook were caught in the lower river the past couple of weeks, but fishing overall has been slow. This is the beginning of the fall chinook run, and fishing will pick up in the next couple of months.

CHETCO - The lower 2.2 miles of the river are open, but the rest of the mainstem is closed to all angling until Nov. 5 to protect fall chinook, which have yet to show.

WINCHUCK - The river is closed to all angling until Nov. 5 to protect fall chinook, which have not shown yet.