Welcome to our fishing report. Since we spend over 200 days on the water each year we have a pretty good handle on what's happening in the fisheries we target. For those of you who will be going out with us this season, you can visit this page to follow how those fisheries are stacking up. And for those who may be considering a trip, you'll be able to follow the action and see what you're missing.
**NEW** 2018 Early Fishing Lines Newsletter - PDF Format
May 13 - Wow - it's been a while since I posted. I kept waiting for the action to heat up a bit but it really hasn't. there have been a few decent days for springers but not what most people will call good. Every once in a while someone has a stellar day and then competition for the same spot (next day) is fierce. It doesn't seem to pan out though and the spot doesn't produce for a 2nd day in a row. The weather has been beautiful with a bit of change coming this week that we are hoping will help to produce more fish. Hatchery fin-clipped only fish through the end of May and then June 1st the springer action opens to all fish on the lower Rogue. The Klamath has been equally slow but the halibut opener this past weekend was good so ocean action seems to be the ticket. Ocean salmon season also opens soon so we'll see what's staging out there. I'll try to be more consistent now that we've had a break. Of course, that also depends on the fish! Stay tuned ...
April 1 - No fooling - the steelhead season on the Chetco is over. This past few weeks was a bit rough for weather/water conditions. The better fishing ended up being on the Rogue where there was a late surge of steelhead in the lower river and fish were around the Grants Pass and Medford areas. While the majority (vast) of the fish caught on the Chetco were downrunners there didn't seem to be many around. Of course, there was the occasional day that was good for the way the rains came pushed the downrunners right out of the system. This is good as they escaped many of the predators! The rain came in small waves too so the river may have gotten muddy and a bit high several times but it didn't have that giant blow out that would damage spawning areas. All good for future years, for sure. With the wrap on our steelhead season we'll turn attention to the salmon fishing on the Rogue. There have been a few springers caught but the action is still rather spotty and slow. It should start to pick up throughout the month with the better fishing happening in May. Hopefully the weather will start to settle as well! Thanks to everyone who came (or tried to come) fishing with us this winter. It's always great to catch up and hear the year's stories.
March 18 - It was a beautiful week of weather but the fishing wasn't quite as good. The river did rise a bit due to snow melt - we went from freezing to spring in a day! There are mostly downrunners around but the occasional fresh fish shows up too. There are several reports of spring salmon on the Rogue now with some steelhead still around there too. Anchoring along the side with plugs may produce a salmon or steelhead at this point. There are also quite a few half-pounders around. While the action is not bountiful right now it is very peaceful floating down the river; enjoying the sunshine. We have about 12 more days left in the winter steelhead season with a bit of rain predicted later this week. Should bring more flowers, possible a few more fish, on the river. Jack Creek, running through the golf course, had several spawning pairs this past week. Exciting to see all those big fish in the tributaries.
March 11 - We had some great weather this week but also a bit of frigid rain. The river didn't really rise much and kept its color supporting all the traffic that showed up! The mix of downrunners and fresh fish continues with the balance going to downrunners, for sure. Some of the fish (spawned out) are so fresh that it's a bit hard to tell they've spawned. That's typical for this time of the year and these smaller, coastal streams. We still have a few weeks left for the Chetco season with a bit of rain forecasted to help with water levels. The picture on the lower right is from Jack Creek where 8-10 fish were observed in the ritual of spawning. Very encouraging to see these fish in the tributary and close to the ocean when they exit so, hopefully, they'll make it past the predators. The other 2 pictures on the bottom show "first fish" for Renee and Henry. Renee's first trip in a drift boat too. Congratulations!
March 4 - Happy Sunshine! The rivers north came into shape sooner than the Chetco did (the Smith wasn't far behind) but it was certainly an effort to get there with 101 closed 15 miles north of Brookings. Carpenterville Road (old highway 101) was the alternative route but requires an additional 15 minutes of drive time. Still worth it with some great water conditions. The Chetco dropped into shape by the weekend and some nice fish; downrunners as well as some fresh fish. We're seeing some of the March Blue Backs - and they are as feisty as ever. The picture on the top left is the memorial float for our fellow guide, Craig Sutton. Many guides were in a variety of places for his service and felt his coast family needed to also remember him (which we do frequently on the water!) and were honored to escort his family down the river. The flowers were a fitting tribute and it was a gift to float the river and just observe. We'll continue to see the flowers this week as they make their way down the river. Thanks Craig.
February 25 - We missed last week's report because the river was blown out for most of the week. Then we fished for the past bit, took some pictures, and again, we are currently blown out. The river is still rising with the very wet storm sitting right on top of us. We're lucky since north of us is a mess with snow! We had the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery Derby this past weekend. Val & her crew ended up 3rd with Marc Mondavi taking home Top Rod honors (landing 6). There were 18 teams and quite a few fish were caught between the 2 rivers. A good mix of fresh fish and downrunners with a few early blue backs showing. Once the river drops back down we should see more of the blue backs as well as a good mix of downrunners and fresh fish. Mid-week could see the Elk and Sixes fish but the Chetco will be later in the week. We've got about a month left for the winter steelhead season. Hopefully the weather will start to cooperate and give us some time on the river!
February 11 - What a weekend after a nice week of weather. The snow hit the river hard with falling trees preventing us from getting up the river past Loeb Park. Even Loeb had a couple trees across the access road that had to be cut out before getting onto the river bar. Very exciting! The fishing was fair for most of the weekend with the weather warming on Monday and the river is currently rising. We had significant snow fall in the mountains which will all be melting with the warming rain. That will make for a tough week of fishing on the Chetco although the smaller streams up north, Elk and Sixes, could fish as well as the Smith. Some of the nice fish we caught during these storms with very hardy fishermen reaping the rewards. Sometimes fingers were too frozen to get the fish to the boat but it was a fun week! We are still doing the broodstock collection with the numbers getting close to the goal. Some larger fish have been showing up too but there don't seem to be huge numbers of them. Hopefully with the snow melt and the rain we'll see another shot of fish. Downrunners are also starting to show.
February 4 - The weather created an interesting week for us. As with a good portion of our winter season, the forecast was not looking good, however, when the days arrived the weather didn't come in as bad as predicted. We do have a slide on the Chetco that was a bit bothersome (and dangerous) for most of the past week. The water level dropped to a point where the silt and color was not longer a factor but the dangerous trees are still present to caution is needed below Redwood Bar. Be sure it's passable before approaching the pouroff. This will continue to be an active slide until the river shifts back to the center. We had some decent fishing this week as the majority of the crowd had left; leaving reasonable number of boats on the river and creating a pleasant day on the water. We managed to find some nice ones that were excellent fighters and left lasting impressions. There were also some that were camera shy - shaking loose just a bit too soon. :) The weather is supposed to calm down this week but be very cold (currently snowing!). As we are in the mid-point for winter steelhead fishing there is still plenty of time to get a day on the water. Let us know if you'd like to have a day of rejuvination!
January 28 - We have been doing this for quite a while and we've seen our share of ups and downs with the fisheries. Sometimes it's about more than just the numbers of fish caught in one day - sometimes it's the pure joy, shown on Rebecca's face and mirrored by fiance John, by catching the FIRST steelhead ever (doesn't hurt that it's a beauty) and having a fight that she'd heard was what steelhead are all about. It's also about the cold, crisp morning that is typical of winter steelhead fishing (upper right). The fishing isn't red hot but there are opportunities out there and the river is beautiful. We are dealing with a bit of a slide on the Chetco but it's not terrible and as the river level drops to what would ordinarily be low and clear we still have a bit of color out there helping us be stealthier! Congratulations Rebecca on a first fish and thanks for the reminder. May there be many more beautiful fish for you.
January 21 - We had a gullywasher this past weekend. Big blow out for the rivers and creeks that stayed high for a couple days and will cause some gravel movement in the rivers. This is all good for getting the river to rejuevinate! Prior to the big rains (12+ inches in a couple days) we were on the water with clear conditions at the end. Fishing was spotty but that seems to be the norm this winter. After all the rain we're hoping the fish are more plentyful. Looks like the river will start fishing about mid-week so we should have a good report next week. There weren't any rivers in our region that were spared the big water but the smaller, norther streams should fish by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. Stay tuned ....
January 14 - We're already into mid-January and the fishing hasn't been stellar but in all fairness we haven't had as many opportunities for boating. The weather has been a bit rough with rapidly changing water conditions. Even this weekend it looked like a total blow out and then the weather took a turn and Sunday was great water conditions. We're looking like it's going to be another rough weekend for weather and water but with the way things have gone this year we'll have to wait till it gets closer to see what actually happens! We are helping with the broodstock collection program again this year so some of these fish were donated to the program or released. The gauge on the river seems to be off a bit as we fished "perfect" water levels this week and it was still a bit pushy. Northern rivers, Elk and Sixes, has a couple good days when the rivers came into shape and there are fish being caught on the Rogue as well. Still a few half pounders around on the Rogue so action can be good with the feisty fish helping fill out the time waiting for a big adult. We're still early in the season so plenty of opportunity to get a day on the water.
January 7 - The New Year is off to a bit of a slow start with low clear water. Sometimes we get lucky and get to see them swim away, like here, and other times they swim away just a little too soon. We've started doing the broodstock collection for steelhead with ODFW so some of these fish will go into the live box that we carry onboard. The goal is for 100+ fish to go to the hatchery. While the weather this week was a bit tricky - looked bad for the first of the week and ended up being okay for Monday - it's still looking like there will be quite a raise in the water by week's end. Most of that will be due to the snow melt (yes, we have snow in the mountains and it's pretty chilly on the water in the morning) plus we're supposed to get more rain throughout the week. The run seems a bit on the weak side right now but that could be because of the low water conditions we've had. We'll see what this storm brings - hopefully a big bunch of steelhead! We've also seen a good number of migrating smolt and some larger half pounders or small adults which leads to future big fish returns. Stay tuned ... there will be more good fishing to come.
December 31 - Goodbye to 2018! We hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday. We were busy with family and other activities last Monday and didn't get the report posted. Plus it'd been raining - HARD! While Christmas Day ended up sunny and warm the river was flowing hard and everyone was anxious to get on the water. Plunkers along the shore caught a few but boats were chomping; ready to put all that new gear to good use. The fish seem to be spread out a bit and there isn't any big "pack" but there are a few around. After the river dropped to manageable levels the fish seemed to be biting a bit better. Gary had a good day with Darrel and Derek but the action remains spotty. There are a lot of smolt migrating down the river with a few larger, half-pounder sized steelies, thrown in the mix. That makes for a bit of "action" but not exactly what we're looking for. We should see action to continue to improve with the continued rains and river flushing. We hope everyone has a safe, happy new year celebration. Check out our newsletter for 2018 - the link it posted above and will open up a new window with the PDF document.
December 18 - The biggest storm of the season hit today - it started coming last week with rain, power outages, more rain and lots of wind. There have been fishable times during this storming time and a few steelhead around but the action is far from great right now. After the current barrage gets finished with our coastal region we'll be set up really well for some good water conditions and should have good numbers of steelhead around. There are also the swimming dead and spawned out salmon like the one here being sampled. ODFW with Oregon South Coast Fishermen make several floats during December and January to get carcass counts - we have always enjoyed being part of this effort to "catch" fish a different way. We look forward to the holidays and getting on the river when it recedes later this week. We'll also be getting our newsletter out soon so stay tuned!
December 10 - The steelhead have started to show but some are rather on the small size (think half pounders). Salmon season is pretty much over - even the northern rivers have slowed. We were supposed to get a good storm this week but it seems to have fizzled out and the river isn't supposed to come up very much. Another storm is due to hit next week but at least the water level is flowing enough now to get down the river and try for a few of the steelies laying around. Carcass counting will begin later this week (YAY) and broodstock collection is slated to begin at the end of December according to ODFW. We still have some space in January for steelhead fishing so give us a call or send an email about some time on the water.
November 27 - We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. The rain continued to pile up but the river went down as fast as it went up - surprisingly. By Saturday the Smith and the northern rivers were fishable and the Chetco was also coming in. A lot of leaves and debris were there for the first few fishable days and the bobber rule was still in effect. The Bobber Rule ended last night (11/26) but the river was muddy again this morning. Our friends fish the Sixes this weekend and found a few fish - some were dark but there were a few bright ones as well. The action was spotty. Same for the Chetco but a lot of the fish are darker since they are ready to spawn. There have also been quite a few steelhead caught - mostly the smaller ones but it still bodes well for the coming season. Rain is coming in again now but later this week, next week the rivers should all be in good shape.
November 19 - Rain is finally in the forecast in good amounts. The Chetco and Smith Rivers are extremely low right now but there are a few fish in the lower river holes that "sometimes" go on a bobber bite. Our friend John Marrington shows off his 30 pounder caught on a bobber at Social Security. His best girl, Kensie, is pretty happy to see more salmon. The rain coming during this holiday week should produce enough flow that we are hopeful ODFW will lift the bobber only restriction but we'll have to see if the weather man is right. The storm is going to flush the river so the first rise will probably be very leafy and silty depending on how hard it rains. We hope everyone has a great turkey holiday and enjoys time with family and friends. We're looking forward to a more predictible fishing season with steelhead just around the corner. Get your crew together and get a date on the calendar! Happy Thanksgiving (eat pie first)
November 12 - Hard to believe we haven't had any appreciable rain to raise the river and keep it up. The river hasn't been flowing well enough to truly "float" the river although a few people have been dragging their boats down the river (or in a couple cases - carrying them). It's also been hard for the fish to get up the river and make it to different holes. There are fish stacked in the lower river holes - Social Security, North Fork, Tide Rock - but there are many anglers trying their luck and a few seals/sealions too. The bobber only rule is still in effect until the rains look like they will keep the river up and floatable or December 31st. The forecast is for some rain next week around Thanksgiving. We are hoping to get a few days of salmon fishing in but it's looking tough right now. There have been a few fish caught in the estuary still but that is also very tough for numbers.
October 29 - It's raining! Not a lot but the thunder and pouring last night sounded so good - gave some hope that the river would be rising to a decent level. Predictions are still rather low but it was encouraging. ODFW, in light of the low water and weather predictions, have extended the bobber only rule until December 31 or until an extended period of flow is reasonable to predict. There is quite a bit of effort in the "snagging" holes and they are trying to prevent and all out snagging effort. There are plenty of fishermen/women out there abiding by the rules and they are upset about the attempt to snag with bobbers. That being said, there are some fish in the lower river "holes" where bobbers are effective. With the slight rise of the river the fish will be able to escape the tidal zone and make it upriver to a few of the deeper, safe holes where bobbers can also be used. Riverside Market is not open until the river is flowing and drifting is possible (at least not early morning hours) so give them a call if you need to get an Ice Box permit. Oregon Southcoast Fishermen have also been helping with the Salmon Rodeo Roundup where ODFW seigns the holes for broodstock. They have collected about 60 so far and plan another couple days soon. OSCF have also released Ferry Creek smolt into the river to give us some future fish to catch.
October 22 - The final ocean season was a bit on the rough side with not too many fish caught. However, the estuary on the Chetco has had a few good days with some high tides pushing fish up the river. There is a lot of angler effort in the tidal areas - Social Security, Tide Rock, Morris Hole - and there has been some success with a variety of sizes. It is still bobber fishing only - not bobber on the bottom snagging which some people have been doing. The river will open to all means, all methods on November 4th but until that time it's the bobber rule. Oregon Southcoast Fishermen will be doing their "Rodeo Roundup" to seign for broodstock this week. It was originally going to rain quite a bit but the forecast has backed off significantly with only a few showers and a blip on the river gauge. Doesn't look like there will be a good rise on the Chetco until late this month or early November. The Rogue has continued to produce a few fish in the mouth and some action upriver but it's very spotty. The traffic is light for enjoyable fall days on the river! We're ready when the river is flowing so if you're waiting for salmon season be sure to track the weather here. If you are planning a trip for steelhead fishing this winter give us a call or send an email and get on the calendar.
October 8 - The first of the ocean fishing opportunities outside the mouth of the Chetco was this past weekend. The 2 days were looking like rough water but the forecast cooperated by Saturday evening and Sunday was beautiful. There were some brave boats out on Saturday (including us!) and there were a few fish caught. Quite a few jacks were brought in but they all have to be released as the limit is one fish over 24". Sunday produced quite a few fish with many in the 40 pound range. Rumors circulated the a 50 pounder was caught in the estuary just before the ocean season opened. There are some jacks making their way up the river - Tide Rock and Social Security Hole - but there isn't any flow to the river as yet so that's about it. The "bobber fishing only" rule applies to the river until November 4th. The 13th and 14th are the next opportunity for the ocean season. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. In the meantime, fish are still to be had on the Rogue for mid-week action including some half pounders and silvers. Sorry for the fuzzy pictures ... ocean weather.
October 1 - We finished out September in style on the Rogue Bay. KC and Linda have been coming to fish with Val for many years (none of us really want to count). Fall is definitely their time and the weather as well as the salmon cooperated. Many of the Rogue fish look like cookie cutter fish being the same size and shape. The morning sunrise on the bay was also beautiful, accenting the calmness of the bay water. The ocean wasn't that calm all week but the picture shows how wonderful the last morning was. Saturday did bring a bit of rain which was beneficial in fighting the fire approaching Agness. The Klondike-Taylor Creek Fire is over 150,000 acres and with the wet weather seems to be coming under more control. The wet weather didn't come soon enough though since the smoke was laying heavy over the Agness - Quosatana section of the Rogue making it difficult to fish there. The bay on the Chetco has been hot and cold as well - but the rain water helped move a few fish to the head of the tide so bobber fishing produced a few jacks over the weekend. This should steadily improve with more wet weather on the way. If the bigger rains hit mid-month then the flowing river will move the salmon up. October 6, 7, 13, 14 will have the ocean season within 2 miles of the Chetco mouth open for salmon. Barbless hooks and a one fish limit should bring out many folks as long as the waves and weather cooperate too.
September 17 - It seemed the Rogue was on a down slope but there are some nice fish showing up including this one (far right) caught in Tyson's boat weighing in over 30 pounds. The action isn't red hot but there are some good steady spurts of fish now that they have adjusted to the water adjusting! Half pounder action in the Agness area has also slowed a bit signalling their exit to the canyon. Speaking of canyon, a long time guide friend of ours, Dan Stumpff, passed away this weekend. He was an excellent boatman and guide who always had a smile on his face and conducted himself with professionalism and hard work. We will miss our passing encounters with Dan - and send prayers for his family dealing with his untimely passing. Dan would say you never know when your time is up so you better fish when you can!
September 10 - The Rogue seems to be hitting a bit of a lull after a good beginning to the Labor Day week. Toward the weekend the winds picked up as did the ocean swell and there weren't too many fish hitting the river. Just prior to that the fishing was good - as you can see in the pictures - with good sized fish showing up. We haven't seen too many silvers but they may have sneaked by through the cloud of chinook hitting the river. The crowds have started to move to a few other places - Coos and Coquille - as the fishing has slowed on the Rogue. There are good numbers of half-pounders through the Agness area still with fly-fishing being the best for catching. Seems almost every riffle has some fish with a few (very few) adults interspersed with the smaller steelies. As the Rogue chinook fishery slows the next salmon fishing will be on the Chetco - the ocean "bubble" season will be open the first 2 weekends of October followed by the river depending on the rain. No rain as yet but it's coming as fall is definitely in the air! If you're thinking of winter steelhead fishing send us an email or give us a call as this is the time to lock in prime dates.
September 4 - Happy Labor Day to everyone (a day late). We were working! This past week saw some good action on the Rogue with some good days upriver as well. The fish seem to be moving fast after the flushet of water so they probably won't stay long in the upriver holes and will be in Grants Pass before we know it. It's quite amazing how fast they move through the canyon section of the Rogue! These pictures represent 2 days of fishing - and some great days they were. Some of the bigger tributary fish are also starting to show along with a few silvers. That should be the norm for a couple weeks before the fall run on the Rogue tappers off. There will be some opportunity to get more salmon in the bubble fishery outside the Chetco as well as the Chetco run. The Rogue half pounders also showed up with quite a few moving through the riffles between Agness and Quosatana Creek. They will also beat fins to the middle Rogue around Grants Pass.
'August 27 - A few of the fish from this past week. The barge and dredge left the mouth of the Rogue this week - it was quite the process to see with one tug hooked to the dredge and another tug "tugging" the tug! There is a bit more room for all the boats now though. Word has spread like wildfire about the fishing on the Rogue so there are more people than ever but the fishing is just fair at this time. Seems like we had some early fish come and now we're waiting for the next blast. Water was released upstream to help with smolt migration in the warmer water so a few of the fish staging in the bay have moved (quickly) upstream. Half pounder action has also increased some with the flush of water. However, the fire from the Klondike-Taylor Creek fires has started to impact the Agness area so access is going to be tough over the next few days. The eastern end of the fire is getting under control but the western flank is very rugged and difficult to fight with the exception of air. A bit of smoke has make it to the Brookings and Gold Beach areas. Oregon has free fishing days September 1-2 so no licenses or tags are required. All regulations apply though. Enjoy the upcoming holiday and stay safe on the water!