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27 November 2005
Rogue River fishing report [27 November 2005]

Rogue River steelhead weatherOur weather here today was 150% overcast with misty drizzles and occasional rain showers. Maximum temperature reached into the low 40s and all the snow we've recieved over the past week melted away. Melting snows have caused the rivers to rise slightly. We fished the Rogue River this afternoon and found it to be a few inches higher than when we fished it a week ago. Overcast skies and rising water levels this time of year often yield good steelhead fishing, so we were looking forward to catching our first steelies of the season. Sadly, this expectation was not realized - we were skunked again.

We arrived at the lower river at about 1:30 pm. We slipped into our waders and rigged up our 8-weight rods while standing in muddy puddles of melting snow. We didn't have to dress quite as warmly as earlier in the weekend given the warmer air temperature, but standing waist-deep in cold water still necessitates plenty of insulation. No one else was around this stretch of river and there were no new prints on the footpath, so we were happy to start in the first really good hole upstream from the parking spot. We drifted eggs and nymphs under indicators for a good hour up and down this very nice run. No results. We were quite surprised that we didn't even hook a trout.

When we started to feel a little cold, we hiked upstream quite a ways to warm up our legs and feet and to get to the next really nice indicator-fishing spot. On the way, we encountered one other fisherman who reported that he hadn't caught anything today either. He insisted that he was having a good day anyway. Sometimes I can claim the same, but this afternoon was not heading in that direction. We drifted eggs and nymphs through this second promising stretch for another hour and were amazed that we didn't stimulate a single strike. Wow. On paper, this afternoon possessed a typically productive set of conditions, but we failed to tempt a single fish of any kind.

Feeling a little frustrated and disappointed and a bit cold, we switched tactics to swinging streamers for the return trip downstream. I also switched to a really heavy sink-tip line to make sure I was getting all the way down to the bottom. I was, but still no results. By the time we returned to the nice, fishy hole we started in, the rain had increased to a steady shower and gave the impression it would continue to escalate. Darkness had settled too, so I fished this hole quickly and packed it in. We conceded to the freakin' skunk and headed back to the car. Peeling off cold, wet, neoprene waders in the rain, without having hooked any fish, is rather miserable.

Layers of fleece necessary for optimal comfort, assuming longjohns: 1 mid, 1 heavy, plus a rain jacket
Lost flies: 2
Wildlife sightings: very scant - red-tailed hawks, an eastern kingfisher, some LBBs, one rabbit
Water temperature: 36 oF
Did I get to use a spey rod?: No
Enjoyment grade for the day: B

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