The Rogue Steelhead is in a class of its own: the summer fishing run starts pouring its way into the Upper Rogue late July, and lasts clear into March. Over the summer the Steelhead will come readily to a well-swung fly.
The fact that these fish stay in the river so long also makes them return to their smolt-like feeding habits. This creates a rare opportunity in the steelhead world; when conditions allow we have seen ten pound fish slurping down BWO’s by the buckets. One of our most effective methods to catch these brutes is to nymph fish, or swing soft hackles, matching the hatch.
The Rogue boasts a robust wild Steelhead population, even allowing an angler to keep a wild fish over 24” February through March, although we encourage our clients to release all wild fish. There are plenty of stocked hatchery fish if an angler would like to keep one.
In the months of March and April we find a mix of winter and summer fish. Summer fish will stay in the Upper Rogue until the winter fish, who are smaller in number but the larger in size, make their way up. Winter fish seem to act more like the "typical" steelhead as they don’t seem to stay in the river as long. Both runs of fish become more challenging as the temperature dips below the mid-forties—making it only productive to nymph.
Regardless of what time of year you are fishing, hooking into a Rogue Steelhead is a treat you won’t soon forget.