ROGUE RIVER: Lower - Salmon fishing has been excellent in the Rogue Bay. The majority of fish are being caught below the Hwy 101 Bridge, but as river temperatures cool anglers will find fish spread throughout the bay. The Chinook have been big this year, with a lot of fish in the upper 20s.
Half Pounder steelhead started showing up this week. Half pounders are immature steelhead that return to the Rogue this time of year and run 12 to 15 inches. These fish will return back to the ocean in the spring. Anglers can do well fishing spinners or casting flies in the riffles.
Middle - Summer steelhead are available and fishing has been good on nightcrawlers, spinners, and side drifted roe. Additional fall Chinook have been starting to move upstream. The past weeks pulse of water from Lost Creek Lake has dropped the temperature of the mainstem Rogue to give the Chinook that have been moving through the canyon below Grants Pass relief from high water temperatures. Anglers are able to keep both hatchery and wild Chinook per zone regulations from Hog Creek to Fishers Ferry through Sept. 30. Sardine wrapped kwickfish/flatfish or plugs should pick up moving fish. Anglers can continue angling for hatchery and wild Chinook between the Fishers Ferry and Dodge Bridge reach through Aug. 31.
The Rogue River is open to trout angling. Only hatchery trout can be retained. Wild trout must be released unharmed. Trout over 16 inches are considered steelhead in streams and must be tagged as part of the daily salmon/steelhead catch as per zone regulations.
The flow at Grants Pass as of Tuesday at noon, Aug. 23, was 2210 cfs., The water temperature was fluctuating between 62oF and 66oF. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Divisions website offers information on river conditions at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.
Upper - As of August 1, all Chinook angling is closed from Cole Rivers Hatchery downstream to Dodge Bridge, as per zone regulations. Anglers are still able to retain wild and hatchery Chinook downstream of Dodge Bridge through the month of August. Anglers are catching Chinook by drifting or back-bouncing bait or drift-bobbers, or backtrolling quickfish.
Anglers have been doing well on summer steelhead, but with the warmer stream temperatures experienced lower in the system, not as many new fish have been moving upriver, as evidence by the drop in new hatchery fish entering Cole Rivers Hatchery. However, there are still fish in the upper river, and the fishery should continue to improve over the next few weeks. Anglers can keep two hatchery steelhead per day.
Trout fishing has been good. Anglers can keep five hatchery rainbow trout per day. Non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed. Track the fish returns to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery by the collection pond tally.
As of Aug. 17, a total of 2,242 spring Chinook have been collected at Cole Rivers, with 75 new arrivals for the week. A total of 1,312 early run summer steelhead have also entered the hatchery, with 61 new fish entering for the week. The flow at Gold Ray was 2,310 cfs at noon on Aug. 23, and the water temperature was fluctuating between 58 and 64 degrees daily. The average release from Lost Creek Reservoir was 2204 cfs at 56oF on Aug. 23.