Fall is finally here and we can all feel it in the longer, cooler nights, and dropping water temps. I've been fortunate enough to have spent some time recently on both the Rogue and Klamath in the past couple weeks and both rivers have shined at times.
My brother guides in Montana on the Missouri and each season after his guide days wind down, he makes the trek out to steelhead country to fish with me for a couple days. Him and I floated the Rogue three different days, with Jon Hazlett and Stuart Warren. Each day had a slightly different feel in terms of the fishing. The first float we were 0-2, the second 0-0, and the third was just epic. Each of us landed solid fish on the third day.
For swinging flies, that sounds exactly what the swing fishing for our Rogue fish has been like as out late - spotty. Some days are great, others it's like there aren't any fish in that stretch of water. I have a couple theories as to why that is. First off, I think the water is pretty damn cold, and fish generally don't move as much in cold water, especially as they're adjusting the a consistent cooling trend. The second reason I think has to do with pressure and the amount of flies they're seeing. I think our steelhead are less receptive to the swung fly after seeing many presentations. Mix those two things with high pressure weather systems and it's just a tough situation for swinging flies. That said, I've still had some great fishing on the Rogue recently in between some slower days. And that's just how swinging flies for steelhead goes.
Last weekend I headed down to the Klamath for the day with my girlfriend Miranda. Although we didn't get any larger adults to hand, the Klamath seemed to me to being fishing a bit more consistently than the Rogue. It was noticeable when I first stepped in the river that the water was warmer than the Rogue, maybe up to six or seven degrees warmer. To me that means more active fish - so I started the day with a muddler on a dry line and was able to bring one nice fish up the surface for it. Later in the day I switched to light versileaders and slightly larger October Caddis swung flies and was able to find some nice fish that way.
Let's talk a bit about the gear I've been using as of late. When my brother and I floated with Jon last week I got the chance to fish with his Sage Igniter 6126-4 and that rod is just incredible. He likes to fish it with a 475 grain RIO Skagit Max so for all practical purposes, that rod is a 6/7 weight. And personally, I think that's great. I loved fishing a 6wt that was so light in hand, but had the backbone to throw 10' of T-11 and a big Intruder. For the fall on the Rogue, that rod would simply cover all your bases.
Another rod I've been really grooving with lately is the Sage X 5120. This is one of Sage's newer models in the X series and it's one of the most well suited for our area. One thing I've always noticed in the 5wt Spey category is that you traditionally the lighter line came with a sacrifice in line speed and lifting power.. Not anymore with the 5120. This rod is line speed demon and is able to generate a ton of power, making it a really versatile rod on both the Rogue, Klamath and beyond. For a line on that rod, I don't think it gets any better than the 400 grain Scandi Body and either a 3-5ips Versileader or 10' of T-8. This setup has become my favorite over the past month.
Finally, on the Klamath with Miranda, I spent some time with the Redington Hydrogen 4wt Trout Spey. This is a rod we've liked at the shop for years, but it was good to really test it out on a windy day on the river. This rod performed great in the wind with the 325 grain Scandi Body and a 1.5ips Light Scandi Versileader and small to moderate sized flies, like the Klamath Intruder. For the half pounders and smaller adults that we run into on the Klamath, this rod is such a sweet length and weight, and it crosses over for your trout fishing at places like the Holy Water and Lower Sac.
We've got some great fishing fall fishing in our area, and with the dry conditions slated for the next couple weeks, it looks like it'll hang in there for some time. As always give us a call if you're looking for more up to the minutes reports, we're always happy to help.