Winter steelhead fishing on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River

Half-pounder steelhead are still kicking in the Rogue River. Official Rogue River correspondent Greg Hatten sent the following report:

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

The Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue is different in winter. Nights are cold, the river is high and fast, it’s very quiet without boats and people, and the fishing…. well, we wanted to find out for ourselves. Four of us watched the forecast, looking for the right combination of weather and water over a weekend. Last week, when the five day showed a window of sun for the weekend with water levels below 2,000 cfs, we made the decision to go and arranged our shuttle (which had to take our rigs down to California and up because of snow on Bear Camp road).

We left Eugene at 5:30 a.m., drove 3 hours to Merlin, had a river-rat breakfast, and drove to Graves Creek Landing where we launched at 9 a.m. There was frost on the ground.

We covered 35 miles of river, ran 86 rapids with names, camped on the river two nights, had perfect weather, sipped single malt scotch, ate fresh fish every night with fantastic sides and had Oreo’s for dessert.

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

Half Pounders were hungry and aggressive and we caught them in bunches on the swing. They took the mega prince, possie bugger, and just about any nymph we threw with hairy legs.

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

It was a nice combination of Natives to admire and release and hatchery fish to clean and eat, most of them between 16” and 20”.

Despite our best efforts and most attractive leaches, intruders, and big beautiful flies – we never raised an adult steelhead on this trip. Guess we gotta go back. And Dave and his dog ran all 86 rapids without a problem.

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

Pictures by Scott Volstedt… thanks Scott!!

By the way, the last time my friend Dave was on the Rogue, he lost his boat in Blossom, this was his first trip back.

Greg Hatten's Rogue Winter Trip

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4 Responses to Winter steelhead fishing on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River

  1. Rick Allen says:

    Sounds like a stellar trip brother
    Amazing courage and strength by your friend Dave.
    Looking Blossum straight in the face and saying WHooooYA!!!
    It’s gotta be tough loosing your boat. Glad he made it out unscathed. That’s some dog.

  2. Fishkamp says:

    That last photo makes me so sad. It’s always a shame to loose a good boat.

  3. Jay Nicholas says:

    Absolutely fantastic story. Blossom has claimed many boats and lives. Both the beginner and ultra experienced have died there. A tip of the ball cap for having the guts to go it again. Amazing water, fish, and experiences.


  4. G Hatten says:

    A nod to Dave’s dog “Rogue” too – who liked to ride the rapids on the fly deck of Dave’s drift boat and was washed off the boat when Dave went down in Blossom. Rogue, “dog paddled” the rest of Blossom, got out, shook off, and ran all the way back upstream, jumped in and tried to reach Dave – who was right in the middle of Blossom perched on the bow of his boat. He was swept away by the current and “again”, dog-paddled his way down Blossom… got out and despite Dave’s frantic pleas to “stay” – Rogue jumped into Blossom and “did it again” with the same result. They finally got a raft out to Dave and reunited him with “Rogue” – both a little tired and very glad to be out of an extremely challenging Class IV.

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