Fly Fishing The Rogue River Oregon
The Rogue River provides a highly diversified fishing
experience. You can catch about every species of
Pacific Coast anadromous fish as well as all the major
species of trout in the Rogue River. For that reason, we
have broken the river down into the two parts. This
section covers fly fishing the Rouge River from the
Pacific Coast to the end of the "Holly Water" section, or
the tailwater below Lost Creek Dam. Fly fishing the
headwaters of the Rogue River and Holly Water tailwater
section are covered under this separate Stream section.
The Rogue has half-pounders as well as both Summer
and Winter steelhead. It has both a Spring and Fall
Chinook Salmon run as well as a Coho Salmon run.
Fly fishing the Rogue River varies greatly depending on
the area. The Rouge, not including the upper river
above Lost Creek Dam that we cover under a separate
section, is generally divided into several sections which
can be confusing to non locals. They are, starting at the
lower end of the Holly Water section and continuing
downstream, the Upper Rogue, the Upper Middle
Rogue, the Lower Middle Rogue, the Wild Rogue, and
the Lower Rogue.
The Upper Rouge is the twenty-eight mile section below
the Holly Water downstream to the Gold Ray Dam. It's
considered the best steelhead water. It's as wide as 150
feet with a variety of steelhead water ranging from
shallow water, to pocket water sections to deep pools.
The Upper Middle Rogue flows between Gold Ray Dam
and Savage Rapids Dam. It's rough water that shouldn't
be fished from a drift boat and surrounded by private
The Lower Middle Rogue begins below Savage Rapids
in Grants Pass and ends at Grave Creek. Fishing in
Grants Pass can be good but below there's not much fly
fishing opportunity until you get to the Whitehorse area.
Salmon and steelhead pass through this section of
course, and spawning salmon can provide some good
steelhead opportunities in both the Fall and Spring.
The Wild Rogue section is 33 miles long and runs from
Grave Creek to Foster Bar. It's accessible only by trail
and includes the original eight miles of the fist Wild and
Scenic water established by Congress. It's a narrow
canyon section that's mostly fished from drift boats.
The Lower Rogue always has some anadromous fish
but it's not very suitable for fly anglers. The
opportunities change rapidly with fish passing through
The Summer run of steelhead are about half wild fish
and half hatchery raised fish. They average about three
pounds with some going as large as eight or ten. The
start entering the Rogue River as early as May with the
best fishing taking places in September and October.
Most all of the Winter steelhead are wild. They enter the
Rogue River beginning in November and continue
through March. Unlike the Summer steelhead, these fish
spawn in the main stem of the Rogue. The spawning
occurs as early as December until as late as June but
the majority of it occurs in March and April.
The Spring run of Chinook Salmon average about
twelve to twenty pounds. They begin as early as March
and continue into June. The Fall run of Chinook Salmon
are much larger, going forty and even up to sixty
pounds. They are almost all wild fish. There are two
runs, the first one in July and August and head to the
Middle Rogue and Applegate River tributary. The
second run heads for the Illinois River tributary. These
fish spawn in the month of October.
The overall season is year-round but species dependent
Steelhead fishing peaks from December through April.
Steelhead fishing continues in April. The Spring run of
Salmon enter the river in March, April and May.
Salmon enter the river in the Summer. Half-pounders
run in September.
September and October are the best times for the
half-pounders. October is salmon spawning time.
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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