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
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!
August 20 - The weather has been wreaking havoc with pictures. Needless to say, fog has been around most days. The fishing has been up and down with plenty of people trying their luck and a few great days have been had but it's hard to predict when those days will happen. It's also important to be patient putting in the river as well as taking out - the launch ramp can be rather backed up. The bay is warm (sometimes hitting 70+) so the fish don't seem to be moving up the river much. There are a few half pounders upriver but the action is still iffy. There is some smoke around from the Taylor-Klondike fires in the Grants Pass Illinois Valley; depending on how the wind is blowing. The Klamath has been enjoying some decent fishing which has helped to take a bit of pressure off the Rogue. We are well into the fall run for the Rogue but there are still fish being caught in the ocean so it could continue for a bit.
August 7 - Sorry for the blurry pictures - it's been foggy at the Rogue and the lens must have had too much moisture. The fishing has been up and down in the mouth of the Rogue; some days are good and others are a struggle. It's very hard to predict which it will be for the day. There are plenty of boats trying their luck though so it's also a challenge to find a "spot" that isn't too crowded or where trolling in a straight line is possible. There haven't been too many fish moving up the river because the bay water is 72 degrees which means it's very warm inland. There are still fires burning the Grants Pass, Illinois Valley and Redding areas but we haven't seen the smoke drifting our way as yet. We are hoping the cooler weather will help the firefighters to get get more containment. The Rogue Wild River section has several restrictions right now but boating is still taking place. The Dunn Riffle to Galice section of the Rogue in Grants Pass is currently closed to boating to allow unrestricted access for firefighters. Similarly, the Bear Camp Road is also closed. Check social media or the BLM or USFS sites for more information. The Oregon State Marine Board will also issue a retraction on the boating restrictions when it is cleared.
July 30 - It's been 36 years since we've been in Oregon at the end of July. For that long we've lived for the "last day of kings" on the Kenai (July 31) along with many regulation changes and challenges. Seems very strange to be in Oregon, enjoying the beautiful weather and good fishing but all things change. As you can see, there have been some good days on the Rogue but also some tough ones. The weather and fish don't always cooperate together. There is still some dredging activity on the Rogue as well and a whole lot of traffic! Val had the opportunity, as a member of the Oregon State Marine Board, to take part in the end of "Jet School" where marine deputies from around the state come to train on the Rogue. It was a beautiful trip from the port in Gold Beach to Agness and back. We should see a continuation of the fishing throughout August and September. We haven't seen too many half pounders and the fires on the interior of the Rogue are impacting some of the water temperatures but that will all changes as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those along the Merlin-Galice stretch including Morrison's Lodge where Val guided in her early days as well as the Galice Resort. Currently the Rogue is closed to all boating from Hog Creek to Galice. Down river, "Canyon", trips can access the lower Rogue by Almeda or Graves Creek but access to both those is through Eden Prairie at this time as the Road is closed just below Hellgate Canyon. Hopefully the cooler weather will help to damper all the fires.
July 23 - We took a little break from Oregon and went to catch a couple freezer fish in Alaska. The fishing was tough but we did end up putting some sockeye in the freezer (it was hard work!) plus did a little catch and release on king fishing. It was fun to "play" on the Kenai for a change. We also ventured to Homer with a good friend and found a couple eater halibut for more winter tacos! In the meantime, Tyson was on the Rogue and has been finding a few fish but it's not easy fishing. While the weather is beautiful, all the fish are in the mouth so, guess what? All the boats are there too. Should start to spread out now that the fog is around and water temps are cooling a bit. The run on the Rogue should just be getting going so look for more consistent reports through August!
July 9 - It's been a bit of a lull for action since our last report although the bay on the Rogue has seen some spotty success, it's not been until recently that there was a bit of consistency. It's not red hot by any means but there has been some action every day. The upriver action is also on the spotty side but as the season progresses we'll see that improve as well. Calm ocean conditions have helped as well as some cooler weather. These pictures are from Tyson as he's been there just about every day now - sometimes working and sometimes with family. There is a bit of an increase in crowds but not too bad as yet since there is still some ocean action happening too.
We lost one of our great guide friends who helped throughout many years of winter steelhead fishing - Craig Sutton. He battled cancer for 20 years and always had a smile. He will forever be on the water with us and we'll miss seeing his smile.
June 18 - Finally a good week for the Rogue Springer run! The mix of hatchery and wild is about the same but since we can keep both it's increased the catch rate. We're hoping this continues. The pictures are from Tyson Crumley as he's been hitting the river hard and has "his spot" all dialed in. There are few guys trolling the bay already but the success is limited. The ocean fishing has also seen a few good days but more often than not the wind has been a big factor in keeping the boats off the water or very close to shore. That's the usual pattern for the summer so we'll continue to keep you updated when there is something to report and we're not so busy we can't get the report off!
June 4 - As you can see there were a few springers to hit the boat this past week. The restriction of finclipped only fish has been listed now so all fish landed can be kept as of June 1st. The traffic has increased a bit but there are still spots available - either very early in the morning or late in the day. The hot spots get taken quickly but there is always room for exploring and finding a new spot. The ocean salmon season is rolling along as well with some good/fair reports. The weather is cooperative at times (which is normal) and there is a forecast for a bit of rain this coming week which should push some of those fish to the rivers. Still focusing on the Rogue where the bay fishing will start to pick up in a bit more than a month.
May 21 - It's been a bit since we made a report due to the slow fishing on the Rogue. Things have picked up a bit, at times, but there are still a majority of wild fish that need released so no pictures. There are several new studies showing the increased survival of released fish (even when bleeding) if they are NOT removed from the water. The weather has been, mostly, beautiful so the fish are coming in but not in any blast that a rain would bring. The ocean season has opened off the southern oregon coast as well but the catch wasn't fabulous. Halibut fishing has been spotty as well but the rock/bottom fishing has been great! Ling cod are wonderful with a variety of greens and blues. We're hoping June 1st will bring the continued wild fish action on the Rogue as we'll be able to keep them. Also, cutthroat fishing opens on all the smaller coastal rivers this coming weekend.
April 23 - There is an old saying that when the dogwoods bloom the salmon are running - well, the dogwoods are in full bloom now! Isn't this a beautiful springer?! Our friends Jan & Larry ventured out in their boat and got this beauty over the weekend. Generally spring salmon are about 15-18 pounds so this is a hefty fish, full of yummy omega oils and so good for you! AND they were able to keep it (fin clipped). The action hasn't been consistent but that's to be expected with changing water conditions and weather. Blue bird weather is also happening with temperatures reaching the mid-80's just inland from the coast. The run should continue to build a bit with the spring run peaking in the Gold Beach area sometime in June. There are still some steelhead being caught on the Rogue in Grants Pass/Medford as well as the Smith River in California.
April 16 - The spring weather has seemed a bit more like winter weather lately. Lots of rain and wind! Last Thursday was nasty but the weather seemed to bring a push of springers into the Rogue. While it's usually not good fishing on a rising river there were quite a few caught, and a few that were kept! We are still under the hatchery only restriction (until June 1) and the percentage of hatchery fish is about the same as it's been the past few year. We're looking at a little stretch of great weather and hoping another blast of salmon show up. The ocean season out of Brookings has been set and opens May 19 for 100 days. Hopefully we'll see some good weather as everyone is chomping to get out there!
April 2 - The season for the Chetco is officially over. It ended on the 31st with beautiful weather. Unfortunately, our last party to fish ended up with the flu so we didn't hit the last few days. The fishing was spotty at best although spring was in full bloom with willows, osprey and many other beautiful sightings! This is also the time of the year when surf perch are available. Our friend, and former Alaska guide, Ryan McCormick was visiting his parents in Brookings when he took a day to hit the beach. Yummy tacos were the result of a successful trip. The ocean was flat last week as shown in the photo of F/V Helen Marie, owned by our friends the Marringtons, entering the mouth of the Chetco. This is great news for springer fishing as they make time moving up the coast and should be entering the Rogue in decent numbers. The action thus far has been slow but with the Columbia springer fishing heating up we're expecting the action on the Rogue to follow suit.
March 26 - What an incredible, stormy, week this was! The Chetco had about 2 fishable days but the action was slow. A few downrunners but the water level was very pushy. When the big blast hit (Thursday - Saturday) the wind, thunder, lightening, hail all made for non-fishing days. The river did get tremendous color but is clearing like normal now. The snow is on Mt. Emily and will be coming down this week, probably, with the warming temperatures. Just before this big blast hit the Rogue had several springers caught - and they were documented with pictures so we know they were real! The effort has shifted, for several guides, to springers. The smaller, coastal streams still have a bit of steelhead fishing (Elk, Sixes) and with the last week of the season upon us there will be some good fishing conditions this week. This is the last blast for winter steelhead so if you want a day or two on the water, let us know. We've shift to springers come April!
March 19 - March rains have been consistent; coming just about the time the river gets fishable again! This is our friend Matt who was supposed to drift the river but the Chetco was too high so we suggested plunking. He headed to the Rogue and caught his first steelhead ever! The Chetco has had some decent plunking days as well as a few driftable days but they have been sparse. The catch is a mix of fresh and downrunners with some bluebacks showing up. There aren't any big numbers but there aren't many people on the water so it's very peaceful. We are just getting back to good levels this week with another impending storm due to hit us on Wednesday. The last week of the season should show good water conditions so if you're still looking to get a day on the water please let us know. Many rumors of spring salmon on the Rogue but no pictures as yet (that we've seen!) Won't be long and that season will be in full swing too.
March 12 - Sometimes the days just slip away and I realize I've missed a week. Oops! The weather has been weird ... plus we got used to the unseasonably warm, wonderful weather earlier in the winter. Now we're into the home stretch for steelhead and it's raining a lot! More is expected but at least it's warmed up and it's not snowing anymore. Trees are all blooming and we've heard there've been a few springers caught on the Rogue which means it's true - spring is really here. We've been seeing a few fish but just like the rest of the season 2018 it's been on the slower side. There are downrunners throughout the system now. The picture on the far right is a "fresh" downrunner coming to be released. The other fish are from a rainy day on the Elk with Tyson. There is still a bit of the season left since we'll keep rolling through the end of March. The crowds are gone and on the sunny days it's a peaceful float.
February 26 - Update - sorry this didn't load on Monday. Congratulations to Linda Sunberg and Kathy Figas (and their husbands) - they won the 36th Annual Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery Derby on Saturday night. Between the 2 of them they caught 6 fish out of the total 34 caught in the 2 day tournament. They were fishing with guide Mick Thomas and single handedly won the derby! Gary's team ended up 3rd place with 4 fish (2nd place also had 4 fish) but it was a tough couple days of fishing. Both rivers measured 17 fish - probably a first in derby history. Since the derby ended on Saturday night the rain arrived and it's been a steady few days with off and on rain plus rising river levels. There are some fresh blue backs showing as well as downrunners on both rivers. It's extremely cold and a few snow flurries around as well. The Rogue (lower) also had a bump in river level that got the steelhead moving with a fresh spurt moving through the lower end. Elk and Sixes are both up a bit and fishable too - looking like it could be a very productive March!
February 19 - Happy Birthday Gary! Usually he's fishing on his birthday, often for a derby, but this year had the day "off"! Some of the off was due to the water conditions - while we did have a bit of rain yesterday it came down in frozen water in the form of hail, snow and freezing rain. Consequently, the river didn't really rise much (about 2") and the gravel bars were frozen. The volumn of water has been lacking for quite a while making side-drifting almost impossible. We've been "pulling plugs" and getting a few of the fish to play but we're seeing fish in a few of the places we've fished and they didn't want to play the game. Once that happens it's time to go to the next spot. There are some fresh fish entering the system but they are either having a hard time with the cold water (after leaving an ocean 10 degrees warmer) or they've been to school about biting! Bad joke ... yes. At any rate, the fishing is slow but the trip is beautiful as you can see from the pictures. We're hoping the rain at the end of the week (during the Rowdy Creek Derby) is enough to bump the river a fair amount. There should still be some tributary spawners ready to head up the river as well as a few bluebacks we usually see in early March. Weather forecasts are for a wet March so that might be the time to wet a line.
February 12 - After the winter of 2017 it's hard to believe we are in 70-75 degree weather. This past week was a bake fest on the river with mid-70's and the water dropping dramatically each day. We are now in the low, clear doldrums with small schools of fish. There is a chance we'll be getting more weather this weekend and we're hopeful there will be a few more fish showing with that event. The broodstock collection is a bit behind compared to previous years but that can also be attributed to the low, clear conditions we are now experiencing. The Rogue has started to pick up a bit but it seems the winter run is also on the low side. We're expecting some reports of spring salmon any day with all the spring trees starting to bloom, turkey vultures showing up and the warm temperatures. As you can see from the pictures, it's very peaceful on the river - and there are a few fish out there willing to play!
February 5 - This has been a bit of a strange year. The weather is unbelievable and the water conditions this past week were fabulous - the fishing is just a bit hard right now. Actually, the fishing is great, the catching is tough. You can see the beautiful weather with the pictures - one day was 80 degrees on the gravel bar at Social Security. Hard to believe it's winter! The picture on the far right is from our guide friend, Josh Terry. He was fishing on the Umpqua this past week when they hooked a fish and lost it. They made a few more passes in the hole and got another one. When they landed it, the fish had both his leaders in her mouth! That's a real biter. We are supposed to have the same weather for most of this month so we'll probably be out of water at some point. We are already low flow and very clear - there are small schools of fish coming in with the tide each day but we have a few seals and sealions around that are keeping those fish moving. So we'll keep hunting for the fish and hope to land our bites!
January 29 - Sorry there aren't any pictures this week but last week was full of rain, rain and more rain! While the rivers had a couple of marginally fishable days from the boats, the real opportunity was plunking off the bank. The plunkers had some great days including yesterday (Sunday) where some reports were 24 fish at Social Security Bar (there were probably 40 people!). Some of those fish were donated to the broodstock program which is fabulous. We should see improving boat fishing water as this week moves on and weather forecasts are for only good weather for the next couple week - so that means we'll be saying it's low and clear soon. The great news about the banner plunking day is that it means we've had a good push of fish show up - we're hoping a good number of them spread out through the river and will provide great opportunity this week.
January 22 - It's been a plunking show while the river goes up and down this week. There were a couple marginal days for the Chetco but the flow was still pretty big and the plunkers did better than the boats. The Smith had a couple days when the levels were good for boating and there were some fish caught but it wasn't on fire by any means. There is a lot of activity around the Smith right now though as there is a movie (starring Sandra Bullock) being filmed there. We're looking at a big weather week with predictions for big water later this week. We're hoping they are only half right and the river will calm down quickly. In the meantime the Elk fished pretty well today and the traffic was fairly light. It should also fish tomorrow but will probably succumb to the bad weather too! Stay tuned.
January 15 - Martin Luther King Day - This was a very busy weekend on the water of the Chetco. Not only were the conditions perfect (for fishing) but for bank fishing and boat traffic as well. Add to that a law enforcement saturation patrol and there was a lot of activity on the water. As far as fish ... honestly, it should be better than it is. Are we suffering from years of drought? Are they late? Is there too much predation on the out-going smolt? What about the Chetco Bar Fire impact? We don't have the magic ball answer to any of these questions but we are definitely seeing fewer fish this year - it shows in the boats (really good guides and private boats only landing one fish) as well as the broodstock collection effort. Angler donated fish is under 20 right now and this time last year we were half way to the season total (120). The river is beautiful, the fishing is great but the catching is a little tough so maybe we need a different mind set after years of great fishing. We'll keep trying to find more fish but this week might be a little tough with the impending storm. Keep tuned for more fish stories.
January 8 - Happy Birthday to Val's sister, Kari. The only way to describe this past week is weird. We did get some rain - not a lot - and the river went straight mud. Also, the gauging station is not correctly reporting the river height so it's hard to tell what going on without going to the river. According to USGS the gauging station uses a nitrogen bubble system to detect the water level - they think it's either out of nitrogen or the tank has an issue. A fix is scheduled for this week sometime. The mud was probably due to the salvage logging going on from the Chetco Bar Fire as it reminded us of the color from last spring when the roads were getting repairs. Hopefully this will not be a common occurance. There are fish in the system but they aren't in huge numbers and many bank fishermen, as well as boaters, are scratching their heads wondering why the ones that are there (we can see them!) aren't biting. Many theories abound including sea lion harrassment, cold water, sunshine ... you get the the picture ... hopefully they will decide to participate in our winter steelhead fishery. Broodstock collection is also going on right now but the numbers are behind last year so there will be a push for getting some fish in the capture boxes as well as the holding pens. Andrew has been monitoring all areas and the river level in hopes of collecting more fish. Remember, this is just the beginning of a nice, long season so make time to get a day on the water. It's beautiful and as you can see from the pictures, the river corridor is mainly untouched from the Chetco Bar Fire.
Happy New Year 2018 - The years seem to fly by which is something we always heard when we were younger but it's true. Steelhead fishing is in full swing but the action is still a bit on the slow side due to the lack of water. As you can see from the pictures there is plenty of sunshine - only a little rain this past weekend although 2018 will, undoubtedly, get rolling soon with plenty of storm fronts passing through our area. We are off and running with with plenty of fishing dates booked so we're hoping to see the catch rate go up as we move through the season. We hope everyone had a great new year's celebration. If you didn't get a chance to read the newsletter, please click on the link above and check it out.
December 25 - Merry Christmas everyone. We did warn you we were taking a few days to go enjoy Morgan's graduation from George Fox University and we did! The bottom right picture shows the family (including Val's dad) after the ceremonies. Morgan will be doing some work for a local non-profit (ORREC), working on rehab projects for the Chetco Bar Fire, this winter. She also had a chance to go fishing with Gary this week and landed a nice, hatchery steelhead. Fishing is a bit spotty with a few fish coming into the Chetco on the last rise but the rains haven't materialized as forecasted so the river is low and clear at this time. There are a few fish sneaking up the river but action is very slow. Perhaps with the little warming trend we'll see those fish start to stream in the Chetco and Smith Rivers. Action on the Rogue has also been slow with a couple days that were the exception - plunking along the edges with plugs has been the ticket on those days. As we welcome in the new year we'll see those fish show up whether we have water or not - we'll also do our best to get after them and hope to have consistent pictures throughout the season. If you haven't put a date on the calendar let us know and we'll get something worked out. In the meantime, check out the newsletter for 2017 - the link is above the fishing report. Have a safe and happy ringing in for 2018 and thanks to everyone who've fished with us this past year. We are looking forward to year #40 guiding in Oregon this year (yep, that right - both of us will be in year 40 guiding in Oregon)
December 11 - No report last week as there really wasn't anything to report. The fishing is slow right now - the last rain was on December 2-3 and the river has been steadily dropping since that time. That rise in the water encouraged many of the salmon on the Chetco and Smith to hit the tributaries and spawn. The first picture is of a couple of spawned out fish on Jack Creek. There were quite a few counted by the ODFW carcass survey on the creek - the majority were spawned out or actively spawning. Watching the fish spawn in the clear water of Jack Creek is incredibe! The drying trend is supposed to continue through this week with a small chance of showers toward the weekend. We'd like to send those showers to southern California where the Santa Ana Winds are raging - something we certainly understand here. We did take a couple trips but have switched over to side drifting - sometimes we get a salmon but we're targeting those early steelhead. Chris is showing off a small steelie in the middle picture. The final picture is of Morgan (our daughter) because we'll be taking time off this week to attend her graduation from George Fox University. Morgan graduated a half year early - not surprising if you know Morgan. We are incredibly proud and look forward to spending a bit of time with her. If some of our friends find some fish this week then we'll give a report next Monday. Otherwise, we'll get something out soon after. We hope everyone enjoys this blessed holiday season. We are grateful for many gifts in our lives.
November 27 - We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It was a rough week for getting on any of the rivers locally as the rains came in harder than predicted. Monday produced 4.5" and again later in the week another 4.75" - almost 10" of rain made for ugly water. The other product of the yoyo river effect is that many of the salmon (on the Chetco and Smith) start hitting the tributaries. We're seeing fair numbers in Jack Creek as well as Emily on the Chetco. A lot of the salmon have also been running through the canyon on the Smith; hitting the north fork confluence. While this isn't unusual for the past few years it is contradictory to the traditional run-timing where Thanksgiving week was a hot time. The northern, smaller rivers had more fishable time this week but the action seemed a bit spotty. On the positive side, a few of the plunkers on the Chetco have bagged some early steelhead - many of them hatchery fish. So it may be time to put the salmon rods back on the rack and focus on side-drifting where there is a bit more activity and the chances of catching either a salmon or steelhead seem about equal. Plus there's nothing like fighting a big salmon on steelhead gear. Looks like December will be a good weather month which should lure the steelies to continue coming into the river. Make a plan to close our 2017 with a bit of fishing time.
November 20 - We're on the roller coaster ride of river levels again although this past week wasn't quite as high; nor as low as we've experienced in the past. The northern rivers came in sooner, of course, but the Smith and Chetco also came in by the weekend and provided some opportunity to spread things out a bit. The Chetco seems to be following the predictions from ODFW of a smaller than usual run (numbers) and we're seeing fish in the tributaries already. These fish (pictured) were caught over the weekend and were the brightest of the fish landed by Steve and Willie. Steve was up to pack up TOSHI as the property has been sold. Some great times and wonderful friendships have been forged around the campfire at TOSHI as well as some fundraising to help the fisheries on the Chetco. We'll be re-inventing something but it won't quite be the same - at the same time, Steve won't have to worry about flooding from the adjacent creek into the shop! When the rivers receded from the 5" of rain today (Monday) we'll start side-drifting to provide more opportunity for steelhead and also the tail end of the salmon run. There were a couple steelies caught by plunkers at Social Security this past week so we should start seeing a few more numbers as we move into December.