Fly Fishing the Rogue River on foot — Half pounder report

The fall is upon us once again and while the kids may be bummed out about returning to school, my heart skips a beat with the anticipation of returning anadromous fish. My annual outing on the Rogue with my dad got the fall season off and running.

Rogue River pic1

In recent years the fall fishing for Chinook has really dropped off for the fly fisherman in the Rogue estuary, but the half-pounders runs have continued to grow. Last year brought a record setting run, and while this year won’t break that record the 2009 run is above the 10 year average.

Rogue River pic2

We spent our days focused on the Agness area as usual, finding light fishing pressure and a lot of willing half-pounders and small adult Steelhead. Usually we will put the boat in, but chose to walk and wade this year. I purchased a new pair of the Simms boots with there new stud system for my dad; that proved to be just the medicine for the Rogue’s notoriously slippery bedrock. Dad was very impressed with the traction and I was pleased that I didn’t have to drag him out of the river!

Rogue River pic3

It was great to spend time with my dad and listen to his old Hardy Princess sing as he hooked and landed several really nice fish. And yes, he did out fish me this year. Something I will not soon be allowed to forget.

 Rogue River pic4

These fish love the swung fly with an occasional twitch on a floating line. Traditional Rogue flies still account for a lot of fish caught: including the Royal Coachman, Juicy Bug, Red Ant, and many others. But our traditional trout nymphs tied in sizes 8’s and/or 10’s work very well when swung. Flies with peacock such as the Mega-Prince, Tungsten Ice Prince Peacock # 8 get grabs. Leaders should be long and relatively stout; the usual medicine is a 9ft 2X with 3 to 4 feet of 2X fluorocarbon tippet. You have a good chance of hooking an adult this year and 2x will get the job done. I prefer a 6 weight rod for the job, but have recently added a Dec Hogan 11’9” 4 weight Spey Rod to the arsenal. All I can say is WOW! The rod performed exceptionally well and was fun to fight the strong fighting and acrobatic half-pounder. I fished a 300gr Airflo Compact Scandi head and is was the perfect match.

Rogue River Pic5

If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy this unique fishery, October is prime time. You will not be disappointed in the beauty of the area and how hard these little fish can pull your string.

-Tony Torrence

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2 Responses to Fly Fishing the Rogue River on foot — Half pounder report

  1. Tom Miller says:

    Tony, nice story and fish. I got a permit to float from Grave Creek to Foster Bar July 30 Aug 5th. I have never fished the Rogue and would appreciate what to expect for fishing during this time. Also, any patterns,gear,lines, rods, and or any other pertinent info would be of great help for this Alaskan. Thanks Much Tom miller

  2. Mrmachinist says:

    Maybe it’s my fish goggles, but I’d say those steelies were more than half-a-pound,….anyone ever actualy weigh a one-salt Rogue steely?

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