nature's call is open to interpretation
Rogue valley Steelhead Swing trips
Having the Upper Rogue in my back yard is something I don't take for granted. Every year more anglers discover it as a premiere swing fishery, and that's no mistake. Within just a few miles of Medford, the Rogue offers classic riffle-run swing water, volcanic ledge-rock structure, and everything in between. The Upper Rogue is an adult Steelhead destination, as no true "Half Pounders" are present. Rogue Summer Steelhead start showing up in July and continue to migrate upriver through December. The early fish are aggressive and eager to move to a traditional fly. As the river flows and temps drop in the fall, sink-tip tactics are most effective. I frequently get asked "what's the best time?". The answer is simple: any time from July to December. July and August are hot summer days. Water temps are pushing 60 degrees. We are wet wading by 11 am. Scandi lines and traditional flies are on the menu. As the summer months fade into the fall, a mix of Scandi and Skagit line tactics are used based on water type and time of day. By October 1, water temps have dropped into the 40's and sink-tip season has officially started. Weather and water condtions dictate how late in the season we fish, but a typical year gives us quality fishing into December.
Winter Steelhead start showing up in March on the Upper Rogue. Most years give us opportunities through the middle of April. Upper Rogue Winter Steelhead are challenging to catch and are bigger than our Summer Steelhead. Like any Winter Steelhead fishing, water conditions play into our success. As a tailwater fishery, the Upper Rogue rarely blows out enough to cancel many trips.
The Applegate River, a Rogue tributary, is an intimate Winter Steelhead fishery less than an hour from Medford. It tends to fish best from mid-February to March 31, when it closes. I use private put-ins and take-outs to float Applegate. Due to it's lack of access and being illegal to fish from a boat, pressure is fairly light and it has a private water feel. If the Applegate is blown out or isn't fishing well, the near vicinity of the Upper Rogue is an excellent back-up plan, and certainly no consolation. Most of my clients book several days and we spend at least one of those on the Rogue.
UPper Rogue Salmonfly
The Upper Rogue has a great Salmonfly hatch in late May and June. Once the Upper Rogue opens for trout fishing, typically the last weekend of May, it's time to put a boat in and prospect for trout rising to the world's largest Stonefly. Upper Rogue trout are mostly out-migrating steelhead smolt, ranging from 6-10 inches. Mixed into the days catch are some larger resident trout, including the native Coastal Cutthroat. Anglers can expect dozens of grabs throughout the day, and at it's peak it might eclipse a hundred. Every year several early Summer Steelhead are hooked on dries during the Salmonfly hatch. This is a great trip for beginners or anyone wanting to spend the day casting dry flies to rising fish.
Late May-Late June: Upper Rogue Salmonfly
July-December: Upper Rogue Summer Steelhead
February-March: Applegate Winter Steelhead
March-April: Upper Rogue Winter Steelhead
full day Trip Details
A typical day on the river runs 8-10 hours. We'll launch a boat, fish 8-10 spots, and put you on the best water possible. Guided Spey trips can be as "instructional" as you wish. My goal is to set you up for success in every regard. In my boat will be the newest Sage Spey Rods, Sage Reels, and RIO Spey lines. If you don't have it, I've got you covered. Specific equipment requirements will be discussed prior to the trip, if necessary. Lunch is provided. Trip cost is based on 1 or 2 anglers.
Half day trip details
Half day trips are limited to Upper Rogue Salmonfly outings or special circumstances, at my discretion. Trips will run 4-5 hours. Rods, flies and terminal tackle provided as needed. Lunch not included. Trip cost based on 1 or 2 anglers.