Winter 2020 Rogue River Field Notes
December 30, 2019
After a very long summer steelhead guiding season on the Rogue River, I have been getting my stoke for the upcoming winter season. I have been poking around a bit but not really getting after it until yesterday.
Yesterday was a Sunday, the busiest day on the river during the week. A new friend and I decided to venture out to the upper Rogue to drift a section of river he hadn’t seen yet. I had very low expectations and was really just looking forward to getting out and playing with my new 13’3” 7 weight Winston AirTH a bit more.
We met at 8, launched the boat around 9, and, to my surprise, found an empty river (except for a few duck hunters). We started at one of my favorite swing runs where I immediately hooked two late summer steelhead. Great grabs…not so great fights. I was just happy to see them spit the hook out after giving them some slack.
In our next run, my buddy Lucas tried his Alaskan-trout-setting technique only to find that those fish swam away freely. But he got his redemption ten casts later hooking and landing his first Rogue River winter-run steelhead. This fish fought incredibly well for her size. She even worked her way into the backing on her second run with lots of energetic jumps.
We swung flies the whole day, got super wet, and ended up landing four fresh winter steelhead and four late summer steelhead. We did our best to avoid water where the late summer fish were holding but they seemed to be everywhere and willing to eat a swung fly.
Its looking to be a great early start to the winter steelhead run on the Rogue and we look forward to finding another big pull. Go get your boots wet, swing flies and enjoy our wonderful river.