April 16, 2018
Well this year’s Steelhead season is over on the Applegate and I must say that I’m sorry to see it end. I spent the last week of the season on the water with Jan hitting the water pretty hard with only one beautiful chrome 30 inch Steelie coming to hand. The Great Herons were just starting to nest with five pair in the rookery and we finally saw a Bald Eagle flying overhead, to me this means that the run was late this year. Hopefully, there will a late run in the Applegate and the fish will be able to spawn without being harassed by the likes of me.
Now what? Well I guess I need to address all of the yard work that I’ve been putting off for the last 3 months, but wait a minute; we still have the Rogue River! That’s it, the Rogue has fish to try and catch but first we need to find them, where are they? I’ve been talking to a few of the fly fishers who fish the river religiously and they all seem to ask that very question, where are they, nobody seems to know or they’re not telling. I guess that I’ll just have to hit the water to find them, so stay tuned.
March 21, 2018
Well it’s finally Spring and the birds are on the nest, only one nesting pair mind you, but the Giant Herons are here. It should be great fishing but it’s been very sporadic for me. I’ve seen more fishermen than fish, more cars in the pull-outs, and more rafts than I would really want, but that’s fishing. We’ve even had visitors from Los Angeles and Montana who came to fish the Applegate. I’ve had varied reports from people catching one or two a day to thirteen in one day, what’s wrong with me? I can’t seem to locate the numbers of fish that I had hoped for. Well for one thing I’m not floating the river but walking to the public access areas which are being pounded by people all day long. And I’m swinging a fly which by the opinions of most of the guides, is the least effective way of hooking a fish. Gee, I’ve answered my own question! Despite all that, I still get up and hit the river, hoping for that tug!
Yesterday I had a soft take will swinging a fly and before I could react, my line went slack. I’m been told by the experts that you should feed some slack line to the fish so it doesn’t feel any pressure, sure, easier said than done! I thought to myself, did I really have a grab or was it the bottom, you really start to doubt yourself when you miss a fish, but oh no, two minutes later a steelhead porpoised right where I was swinging. Ok, game on, there is a fish in this river and I know where it is. I started to really fish that spot, changing flies, adding weight, trying everything I could think of to no avail. Then I remembered what the guides said so I went to the dark side and put on a bobber, yes I said it, a bobber. I put on a weighted stone fly and dropped an egg eighteen inches below it, I’m really desperate now. I fished this setup for a long while with no results, then I started adding some split shot, one at first, then another until my bobber was almost underwater. Then it happened, my bobber disappeared, I set the hook and immediately a beautiful buck became airborne! It was not happy but I was, and it continued to leap for at least ten times before it settled down and make a couple of impressive runs. I was a bright beautiful wild buck and it had taken the egg. I carefully released back into the run and headed for home with a smile that lasted all day!
Today Jan decided that it was time for her to hit the river, after all, it is spring and it promised to be a warm day. We got to the river late around eleven and saw a car in the pull-out, not a good sign. We went to a run and started to swing our flies covering every inch of the run without a bump. We decided to head up river and met a fisherman crossing the river and coming from where we were going to fish. He said that he didn’t get anything above when asked and we proceeded up river anyway. We got to the run that we wanted and it Jan’s turn to fish it first. She started swinging her fly progressively across the river to the far bank, then stepping down river and casting across. I started to get my gear ready when I heard a splash and looked at Jan seeing her bent rod! I saw the fish make another leap and saw Jan get it under control giving it a little pressure with a couple of down and dirty moves keeping the fish unbalanced. The fish made a few more runs and Jan had it under control and landed a bright hatchery hen. Jan has a smile on her face which I think will last all day.
February 12, 2018
The Rogue River has some winter fish showing up in the Grants Pass area in good numbers. I’ve checked out the boat ramps between Grants Pass and Robinson Bridge and there are good numbers of drift boat trailers indicating the presence of fish. Fishermen have reported catching fish below Robinson and at Griffin Park. Some fish are being caught at the Tavern Hole on the Applegate and also above the 199 Hwy but the water is very low and fishing is better early in the morning. Fish the tail outs early and the deeper holes. The Cow is also holding some fish, The Pres. and I have landed fish last week and the club’s outing is looking good. Bring some orange Steelhead flies like the Polar Shrimp to swing making sure to cast as close to the bank and then swing across the creek. The fish were holding near the bank and hit the fly only a few feet into the swing. The deeper holes hold fish and best fished using an indicator with a weighted stonefly nymph with a smaller nymph or egg pattern dropped 12”-18” inches below it. It’s time to get on the water!
February 4, 2018
Anticipating the next push of fish into the local waters has proven to be fruitless. I’ve been wading through my favorite spots on the Applegate without getting a bump! What’s going on? We clearly had plenty of rain raising the water level to around 900 cfs, making it prefect for fish to move up, so where are they? This situation has got me to do a little soul searching, looking to past years I’ve come to the realization that I’m probably too early. In the past, my best days fishing have come when certain natural situations occur at the same time. When I lived back East, I looked forward to fishing the Light Cahill and Sulphur hatches and learned from the Old Timers that the hatches coincided with the Dogwood trees blooming. Here, a different story, my best days happened when the Herons were nesting and usually the best indicator has been the arrival of the Osprey. How about you? Do you have any local knowledge to share with our members? If you would like to share any information, please contact me.
January 24, 2018
Interesting lecture by Matt Schmasow: Mayflies, Stoneflies & Caddisflies. View video – MidCurrent
January 11, 2018