Summer Steelhead Nosing into the Rogue; Umpqua Bass Biting
The McKenzie – We’ve been seeing very good fishing over on the “Mak” using a combination of Dry/Dropper, match the hatch dries (PMD, Epeorus, Caddis, Stones, Terrestrials), Nymphs and Euro Nymphing techniques. 40 to 50 fish days are common with fish to 16 inches. Spring salmon fishing is winding down but fish, although darkening, are still being caught. Eggs and shrimp back bounced or behind a diver are getting the most fish. Fish early. It’s mostly over by 9am.
Rogue River – It’s officially summer steelhead season on the Rogue! This is our favorite time of year and the next 4 or 5 months are the best fishing we see here in beautiful southern Oregon. We are starting to see our first decent push of steel getting into the upper Rogue, and fishing will just get better and better thru November. We are hooking fish every day out there swinging and nymphing, so it’s been a great start to summer steelhead season. We are back guiding with precautions, so give us a call to get out there and get your steelhead on!
I swing mostly dark flies basically all year in the upper Rogue, whether it be classic summer flies (green butt skunk, silver hilton, muddlers etc) or mini intruder type flies on sink tips when the sun is high. First and last light I’ll swing the classics or throw the skater on my Rage head with a floating Polyleader, and definitely fish mostly blacks and purples although I do like having a bright butt on my flies (chartreuse, pink etc). After 10 or so AM I’ll throw my skagit head with 10 or 12.5 feet of T-11 with mini intruders or hoh bo spey style flies. Black/Red, Purple/Black, Black/Blue are my go to colors on the sink tips, and I actually probably catch more of my fish fishing deep in the summer then early morning throwing the skater or classic summer steelhead pattern.
Nymph the usual suspects like Otis/Ugly Bug stoneflies, with oversized trout patterns below it like copper swans, steelhead brassies, princes, copper johns etc. I like flashier flies early in the summer steelhead season, as that extra flash seems to attract a few more fish. These early fish somewhat race to the cooler waters of the upper Rogue without feeding all that much, so when they first get here they don’t seem to like the natural stuff quite as much as flashier stoneflies Once they have been in the river for a few months they start learning that the real stoneflies aren’t so flashy, and more natural stonefly patterns will work better.
Umpqua River – Bass fishing is awesome right now throughout the main stem and the south fork. Flies with rubber legs, 3 and 4 inch plastics, small spinners and worms are all take bass. This is the time of year you can catch 100 bass a day! Steelhead are entering the river now too and fish has been fair to good. Small baits work best in low flows so fish beads and pink worms and keep your egg clusters in the small side. Fishing in the fly water on the north fork has been slow but should pick up as more fish move in.
Diamond Lake – Fishing has continued to be good at Diamond Lake. Bug hatches at times have been prolific, so much so that when they are if actually slows the bite as fish gorge on the flies. When that’s not happening, fish the callibaetis hatches and the damsel hatches. Slowly working damsel nymphs, leeches and prince nymphs is very effective. Trollers are doing well with a bladed lake troll like a Paulina Peak or Shasta Tackle dodger with a wedding ring and worm or an F-4 flatfish behind it. Trout are ranging from 14 to 20 inches.
Ten Mile Lakes – Bass are up on the shorelines early and you can reach them with spinnerbaits and topwater plugs. When the sun hits the water fish the deeper points and in deeper water near boat docks. 5 and 6 inch plastic worms rigged drop shot style or a Caroline rig will entice bass to 5 lbs with a solid 2 lb average.
Southwest streams – Steelhead are in the Coos, Elk, Sixes and Chetco along the other area streams and fishing for them is fair. There are also Sea Run Cutthroat’s in the systems too and they are fun to target by trolling or bobber fishing with a piece of sand shrimp. They are also aggressive to a fly above tide water and offer great action and delicious table fare. Sea Runs can run up to 20 inches but average around 14. Salmon will be in the nearshore and bay areas of these systems soon too. Although runs aren’t forecast to be great, there should be enough salmon to have a good chance of success. The Coos will be the first river to get going and the tide water fishery is very good.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend everyone! And don’t forget, firsthand reports from you – the reader – are great and will be incorporated into these reports.