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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.