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19 November 2005
Rogue River fishing report [19 November 2005]

Fishy water...I really like deer season. Once the firearm season for deer begins, there is very little competition for prime steelhead water. B and I headed for the lower Rogue today; we expected pretty good results. The water level is currently 300 ft3/sec, a tad above the historical seasonal average (230 ft3/sec) which is significantly higher that it's been in a long time. The skies were partly to mostly sunny and the 43o air felt warm after recent days of 20o, wind and snow.

Neither B nor I were in the mood to start drifting nymphs and eggs under indicators for steelies yet, we've got all winter for that. So we rigged up 7- and 8-weight rods with heavy sink tip line to drift and swing streamers and spey flies. Heck, that's how Speytrout's been doing it. Though I think he's targeting fish closer to big Lake Michigan, where they've just begun their upstream migration, while we're fishing for steelhead that have already swum 100+ miles. Maybe that's important, and maybe it's not.

We hiked through the woods to a really fishy spot - a long deep run on the far bank. For some reason, I required quite a few casts and a couple tree branch disentanglements to get the hang of landing my fly on the opposite bank with no back cast. B fared better from the get-go. She caught a nice little 12" rainbow on her favorite 'Smallmouth Crack' streamer, right where I'd been standing a few minutes earlier. I tried dark colors then lighter and finally bright pink or orange numbers with no results. We probably fished a half-mile of river in total - including one really deep, snaggy and fishy spot downstream from an island. I did detect a couple of trout smacks, but I had no hookups all afternoon. Two other fishermen we ran into later in the afternoon reported the same kind of day - a trout or two but no steelhead.

I got skunked but it was such a pleasant day that I didn't mind. Chilliness chased us back to the car around 5:30 or so, after the sun went down. I'm looking forward to getting out a couple more times late next week.

Layers of fleece necessary for optimal comfort, assuming longjohns: 2
Lost flies: 1 (pretty good for me)
Wildlife sightings: lots of chickadees, a couple red-tailed hawks, a couple ghosts of salmon-past and a shot & drowned deer-past
My prediction of how many more times B will wear her slightly leaky waders before repairing them: 2
Water temperature: 40 oF
Did I get to use a spey rod?: No
Enjoyment grade for the day: A+

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