Rogue River Report: Volume 2, Spring Kings [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Rogue River Report: Volume 2, Spring Kings

05-02-2002, 02:54 PM
Well il looks like we've tapped out the winter steelhead run (as of 4-24-2002, the last reported count) we had a total of 19,445 fish through the video machine. Salmon count was still low at about 500 fish.

But the good news is they're predicting another bonkers return for this year. The 'peak year' was 1995 with 82,000 springers, falling to half that the next two years. Then it 'tanked' in 1998 to 16,000 fish and the number has been building back up into the 30,000 plus range ever since.

Average springer clocks in at 8-15#, with many well beyond this number. (Last year my biggest pinned a 35# scale and there was fish still in the water). This year apparently has a larger than normal run of fish in the 30+ pound range so it could get interesting.

Bait of choice for the bankies and boaters is what's called a 'shrimp coctail' of roe and sand shrimp. Second choice are big flat fish with an anchovie wrapped to it for 'smell.' In either case darned tough to cast with a spey rod.:rolleyes:

Colour of choice for flys still is kelly green and red 'balls' or beads on a heavy sinking tip. Water is running at 1700 cfs, at 46 degrees, out of the dam but moves up quickly (so does the water colour for the next few days) due to heavy rains this past weekend. I'm 'testing' another choice recommended by a board member (blue maribu with a black hackle col. Only one time out after these beasties so no results to report.

Nate B noted a piggie hooked and landed in the uppppper end of the river in an earlier thread. Best fishing/shot at the buggers is from Shady Cove to the hatchery. But suspect that "highbanks" below Touvelle Park will be picking up quickly as the number of fish increases. This location is a 20 minute drive from the office, and a short hike down stream, so it's a good "afterwork hole."

With Joan gone for a few days suspect my "lunch hour" will be to zip out of here at 4pm, change cloths, pick up Poochie and hit the river.
(Side note: if you bring your dog be sure she's well protected from ticks; looks like this is going to be a crappy year due to the mild winter. Two off of her yesterday and even two of the damn things off of me! YUCK!!).


05-02-2002, 04:15 PM
Are you using a 9/10 weight or 10/11 weight spey rod for those kings? (Could term "beasties")

I have had thirty pounders on 10 weights and they are a load, many will break those rods if you are not careful.

How long are they in the river ?

05-02-2002, 06:01 PM
A few hundred will hit the top end of the river in the last two weeks of April but the bulk of the fish get here in May-June with a few lost souls into July. This is why it gets so interesting during the late 'winter' season (it's 75 degrees outside now), and late in the Steelhead summer run season. You've got the first of the spring kings (usually pretty darn good numbers) zipping around during the end of one season and lots more during the last 1/3rd of the summer run fishery.

Same situation in the fall when the bulk of the summer runs are in the upper river the fall king/coho run is on. No where near the numbers in this group of fish, but have had several hook ups on my sage 7136-4. Rod is flat to the water through out most of the process:eyecrazy:

When the spring kings are in I'll usually use a 10wt spey rod, even down to an 8/9 (Lomis glx3) if the rod is a 'euro' blank. But below a 9wt it's usually fish 1 - Fred 0 i the sucker wants to run on you. :whoa:

05-02-2002, 07:10 PM
I landed a number of 20 pound kings on my 8 weight but they began to pull the guides out of their footings. Had to send it back to Fenwick for rework. Thought the 10 weight would be enough, but even that was not able to hold 20-30 lb kings when they decide to go back to the lake.

Lot them when then are silver right out of the lake, awesome fish on the fly rod.

05-02-2002, 09:36 PM
Considering we're 150 miles up stream from the 'salt chuck' I'm always amazed at how bright these fish are when they get to our area. Must be moving like a bat out of hell. 90% are 'cromers.'

Life, with a hook up, is good.:devil:

05-07-2002, 06:54 PM
River report as of 5-6-02:
Inflow behind dam: 2295 cfs
Outflow from dam : 2277 cfs
River temp: : 48.3 degrees (it's back to one pare of socks)

Fish counts as of 5-1-02 (from 12-1-01)
Steelhead: 19,711 (most have come and gone by now)
Spring Kings: 2,630 through the counter into the upper river.

As the numbers above are a few days old you can probably figure the salmon count is closer to 3,000 at this time. Runs, as noted earlier, have averaged over 30,000 each of the past two years. And "they" think this one will be as big, if not bigger.

05-13-2002, 05:37 PM
At 12 am on 5-13 the dam release was at 1915 cfs (1700-2000 cfs is best range in my opinion anyway) at 50 degrees water temp. Cotton socks under breathable waders time again (it was almost 85 outside yesterday).

Fish count as of 5-6 was 19,804 winter steelhead (95% of which have come and gone) and 4,525 kings through the counter. The king count is probably off by a few hundered fish as the counter was down for a week.

The fish coming through now are all hatchery fish so they're moving up stream like a scalded cat. Fish the deeper holes and migration slots .... or it's going to be 'zip time.' Higher up on the river the better (Shady Cove to Hatchery). Once the count gets closer to 10,000 fishing should improve mightily.

New deal late last week! The game guys pulled three stirgen (sp?) out of the hatchery spillway:confused: These fellows do populate the lower river but apparently it's very rare for them to come up stream this far (hatchery is 155 miles up from the Ocean). Now there you are twiddling along for salmon, et. al. and you hook a 4-6 foot fish:whoa:

05-23-2002, 04:36 PM
Inflow behind dam is running a relative constant of just under 2000 cfs from snow melt. Out flow varies a bit beteen 2000 and 2100 cfs (excellent for Spring King fishing).

Fish counts (a bit dated and with a week where the counter was out of operation) as of 5-14-2002 was 19,861 winter steelhead (99% now come and gone) and 7401 kings in the upper river. Suspect the number is much closer to 9000 as the counter was down a week and the reported count is 8 days old.

Nate Bailey
05-27-2002, 09:52 AM
Now I remember why I sold the drift boat and swore that by the time june came around
i would stay well away from the upper rogue. I took my son up there yesterday and we saw several fish caught most were snaged, few were hooked in the mouth. People were yelling at other people , people were casting over the heads for other people.

There are tons of fish up there , but thats the last time ill hit the river until the salmon are gone.


05-27-2002, 10:36 AM

Sounds like our fall king salmon runs at the dams where they must stop and the mongolian hordes decend upon them with the heay artillery. Been away from those locations for a long time, 20 years probably, now go downstream, where I can FF, with less fish, but safer and in solitude for the most part away from the crazies. I survived the Vietnam era don't need to take more risks with my life etc... for a couple of fish. :whoa: :whoa:


05-28-2002, 06:28 PM
The "Dam Idiots" upped the water flow to over 2400 cfs, Monday it was obviously well above this. Few more steelhead to the total as of May 17th (so we're way behind the info curve) Salmon reported at 9072 kings. I'd bet more than even money the "real count," if current, was well over 10,000 fish in the upper river.

Nasty news is with the increased flows, fishing yesterday for Dave Kelly (avid1) and I was excellent, the catching was zip ... as was it for most folks. To get down, stay down most of the folks were using a minimum of an ounce of lead, more likely 1 1/2 oz just to get to the bottom.

Not 'condusive' to good spey rod work .... Unless we want to seek advice from Hal on the mid-west guys version of 'chuck and duck.':devil:

05-28-2002, 06:34 PM

Chuck n duck works in the mid west only because we do not have a lot of large boulders through out the runs and pools in most of our rivers. Lots of gravel, sand, log jams, and some small boulders only.

Out in BC when I reverted to chuck n duck on the Vedder I got snagged just about every cast just about, and new this is why every one else there was using Silex with boober set ups. Did not take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

You should be glad to know I have been a non chuck n duck fisher for over 15 years now. Actually I am seeing less and less of them here in the mid west. Mostly sink tip and floating lines with indicator set ups etc.

That must be one hell of a flow if you need an ounze of lead to get down, there is no fly rod chuck n duck set up in the world that can execute that.

Have a good one.


05-28-2002, 08:34 PM
But your right, not a lot of fun fishing where you've got to use a "feathered brick" to have even half a chance.

06-05-2002, 04:24 PM
As of midnight 6-4 the dam inflow was 2009 cfs, out flow at 3029. Problem with this is by time you get 30 miles down steam to Medford the additional inflow has it up to almost 4000 cfs. You hook a springer and all you can do is hold on!

Fish count as of 5-22-2002:
Summer run steelhead: 46
Spring Kings: 12,212.

So, give the latest info is at least a week old we can assume higher numbers than that above Medford, OR

Willie Gunn
06-05-2002, 05:07 PM
Wait till you get your new Willie Guuns tied on Waddington irons they will get down to these Pacific fish, you will have to fight them off.


06-05-2002, 07:58 PM

May have 'missplaced' the primary salmon rod but I've got, thanks to Bryan, a new Tioga 12a coming. I've still got 'half' of a 120' 11wt DT and a 400 grain "big boy." AND, AND, AND!!! The 18' Bruce and Walker ... and it take this huge stick to throw a 400, or more grains head.

Part that's interesting about the 400 grain stuff is I have a very old Sage 8wt that I built years ago. This thing will chuck the Teeney Nymph lines like there was no tomorrow. But to do the same, you need one honkie spey rod.

Go figure?



06-26-2002, 01:21 PM
as of 6-6-2002 the count was 24,000+ Spring Kings in the upper river as well as a few hundred summer run steelhead. As the numbers are at 20 days old, the salmon count is probably closer to 30,000 at this time.

The VERY good news is, as we're approaching the end of the run, the water flow out of the dam has been cut by almost 50%. Typically the flow will be at/about 3,000 cfs to suck up the salmon, and they will cut it back down to as low as 750 cfs during the late summer.

The best fly rod fishing kicks into gear at about 1500, or less. Today the flow was 1898 cfs and 51.2 degree water. Still need sink tips for many of the Salmon runs, but a lot of the water can be covered very nicely with a dry line and 14-20 foot long leader. Released my first summer run Sunday afternoon. Nice little guy at about 3-3.5 pounds on a dry line and #8 Prince Nymph.

06-26-2002, 02:17 PM

When you get that new Rogue river drift boat alluded to in another post let me know. I can envison drifting the world famous Rogue River now guide by the salmon spey master of the Rouge in the pursuit of wild steelhead. :hehe: :hehe:

P.S. What kind of brew would we be drinking in Oregon ?


06-26-2002, 05:14 PM
Just too much fooling around for one guy to play with ... unless there's a very good reason (shuttling, etc.). I can get to the majority of the water I want easily on foot.

Up in Canada several years ago (Joan and I on a three week vacations to visit all the parks, etc) and a Canadian Park Ranger made a comment that has always stuck in my mind. Especially as it's proven to be true over and over again.

Fellow said average 'tourest' will not go more than 15 minutes walk from his car door. You go 20 and you'll have the place to yourselves. Gross understatement of truth; including fishing 'spots' on the river.

06-26-2002, 06:53 PM

Okay, I get the message I will be doing a lot of walking. Will keep up my running for as long as possible. Theres no rattlesnakes out there I hope. I can deal with your cougars and bears, but not the rattlesnakes.


06-26-2002, 10:43 PM
For you I'll slip the oars. Besides, "uncommon knowledge" suggest you 54 year old guys can't keep up with us 60 year olds.

07-03-2002, 12:45 PM
Inflow behind dam is 1158 cfs, outflow is 1603 cfs (1600 cfs, and down, are dry line water conditions in most areas of the upper Rogue). At 1300 cfs, or less, very few places a 'sink tip' would be required.

Fish count info is "dated" (6-16-2002), but at that time there were almost 800 summer runs through the counter above Medford, OR and and additional 32,000 spring kings. Given this is two weeks old 'real count' is probably closer to 1000-1100 on one and 33,000 on the other.

The 33,000 figure for this run matches up with the past three years fish counts.

Spey cast and Prosper!

07-12-2002, 12:32 PM
7-11-02 lake inflow at 1100 cfs, outflow (this is just above the hatchery) 1602 cfs. River temp is 51 degrees (and we're having day time temps at 105-109 degrees (it's wade wet time around here!).

Fish count as of June 24th is 1177 summer runs through the counter and 36, 722 spring kings. As these numbers are almost 3 weeks old you can assume the count is higher in both areas.

07-13-2002, 11:44 AM
Fred how come you never offer to row me down the River ?:D

07-13-2002, 11:47 PM
First, he's half my age, secondly when I blow the hell out of my arm/hand I have the good Grace to fall two stories on to concrete; Andy does it falling GOING up a set of stairs (?) Now I like my single malts but .... going up a fleight of stairs????

And I've offered (long before his "infermity") to do the rowing.

Going up a set of stairs????:confused:

07-14-2002, 09:10 AM

We forgot about your fall. I guess you did not land on your casting arm though, other wise you would not be able to throw the 18 footer around.

Could see how rowing would bother your arm though.

Don't worry I'm a great rower and 5 years younger than you and I work out with weights and run 5 days a week (2-3 miles),

I will take care of the rowing when I get there.


07-14-2002, 10:39 AM
I not sure what is worse telling people how I did it , or knowing that my Summer Season might be over . Jack Daniels and Running up a set up stairs don't mix well . Fish-head:eyecrazy:

07-14-2002, 12:58 PM
1) When can I expect you?
2) You didn't spill the booze did you?