Rogue River fishing report [23 December 2005]
We loaded the car and headed to the Rogue River near Grand Rapids for a few hours of afternoon steelhead fishing. Air temperatures were quite warm, near 40 oF, but the water temperature was a nippy 33o. The water was cold, clear and higher-than-average due to the melting snow running into the river. The sun peaked through occasionally, though the skies were mainly cloudy and hazy. We pulled away from the house a bit later than planned and arrived at the river at about 2:30 pm.
We headed for what has become a favorite steelhead stretch of this river. How many steelies have we caught here? Well... one. By the tail end. But it has so much potential... So much potential that we arrived at our parking spot to discover 3 trucks already parked and emptied of their fishermen. Such is the nature of suburban fishing. We slipped into our fleece and waders, rigged up at the car and headed upstream into the woods toward a couple of super good-looking holes. I chose my 11'3" 6-weight rod and B selected her beautiful 9'6" 7-weight. The first good hole was already occupied with a couple of apparently static anglers, so we opted to jump in below them and fish back downstream through less attractive, but still pretty fishy water. Since we figured to be fishing on the move rather than fishing hole-to-hole, we rigged up with sink-tip lines and started slowly dredging and gently swinging streamers along the bottom rather than drifting eggs and nymphs under an indicator. We fully expected this approach to reduce our probability of hooking a fish, but it's a pleasant way to fish and enjoy the day.
We quickly realized that for a year or more, we'd been hiking right past a very nice stretch of river. Today, we fished deep pools and runs that we'd previously ignored. I had always walked right past it, assessing that it needed to be fished from the opposite bank and never noticed an obvious crossing spot. Today, we realized that the river is easily crossed and that the stretch below is very fishy looking. We discovered 3 or 4 very nice holes and runs that we'll surely return to again. We didn't hook any fish in them today though.
Just after the sun settled behind the trees, we both began to feel a little chilly and decided to take just a few more casts and call it a day. A fishless but good day. B remarked, "If you're not going to catch fish, I'd rather do it here than at the office." Well said.
On our way out of town, we stopped by one of our favorite fly shops for some fly-tying materials, a fishing report and friendly chit chat. We learned that a few folks had found some fish today and listened to a few tips on their approach - slow, slower and still slower. We hung around awhile swapping some good stories and enjoying a really good beer from the shop owner. How can you beat that?
Fleece quotient: 1 mid + 1 heavy
Lost flies: 0 for me, 2 for B
Wildlife sightings: lots of red-tailed hawks, an eastern kingfisher, a little flock of yellow-shafted northern flickers
River flow rate: 200+ ft3/s
Water temperature: 33 oF
Did I get to use a spey rod?: Not really, but 11'3" is almost a spey...
Enjoyment grade for the day: A
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