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River Outlook: Sept. 30, 2010

ROGUE - The lower Rogue bay has picked up a little for fall chinook and some coho, but the effort has remained light. The middle Rogue is starting to wind down for fall chinook as the fish are getting into the early part of their spawn. The upper Rogue's water flows have dropped and cooled, turning swingers into nymphers among the fly-fishermen in the middle of the flies-only summer steelhead season there.

That makes the best bet the upper Rogue, where the flies-only season is no longer in full swing. With flows of about 1,000 cubic feet per second of 49-degree water, the steelhead are becoming less apt to rise to a streamer fly swung through riffles with dry or sink-tip lines. That makes nymphing the best way to go, with stonefly nymphs, prince nymphs and single salmon egg flies best.

The upper Rogue's chinook salmon are off limits even to intentional catch-and-release fishing.

Dusk is best. For spinning-rod anglers, a weighted Ugly Bug and a single egg fly are good under bobbers, but remember that no added weights or attachments like sinkers or swivels are allowed.

All wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

In the middle Rogue, fall chinook are still holding in shallower, faster water rather than the traditional holes. Middle Rogue anglers are catching chinook by side-drifting roe as if they were steelhead fishing, or running Kwikfish plugs through what looks more like steelhead water than salmon water. Most of the action has been down to Robertson Bridge.

The turbidity from in-stream work on the Gold Ray Dam demolition project should be over. Bank anglers were catching fish regardless of the turbidity at places like Finley Bend and the mouth of the Applegate River. Fish close to 40 pounds have been common.

The fall chinook bite has been a bit light in the estuary, and a few coho are getting caught by trollers. However, about three-fourths of the catch so far has been wild coho that must be released unharmed.

From Huntley Park upstream to Agness, fall chinook fishing has been good to very good. Back-bouncing roe has out-produced Kwikfish so far, and water conditions have been good.

When not fishing for chinook, Agness-area anglers are doing well for halfpounders. Small spinners, worms, roe and streamer flies are all getting attention from halfpounders, which are very aggressive when in the river. The limit is five fin-clipped halfpounders a day under 16 inches. Over 16 inches, and they are considered adults in the Rogue during the summer steelhead run.

The far upper Rogue upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir is stocked weekly with legal-sized rainbow trout through this weekend, then no fresh trout until next May.

UMPQUA - The mainstem Umpqua is fishing well for fall chinook salmon. The South Umpqua remains closed to all angling until mid-November. Summer steelhead fishing has picked up in the flies-only zone with the cooler weather.

COQUILLE - The lower river has been hot for fall chinook fishing, with trollers getting fish anywhere from Bandon to Coquille, especially around the Lampa Creek area. Cut-plug herring or sardines have worked best.

COOS - Fall chinook salmon fishing has been very good from the Highway 101 bridge upstream to the Daniels Creek area, which is a good place for bank anglers to catch chinook. Mooching with anchovies near the river bar has been very good for chinook.