ROGUE ANGLERS DEALING WITH HIGH WATER IN QUEST FOR SPRING CHINOOK
Anglers on the middle section of the Rogue River will probably need to start getting used to fishing high water, at least for the foreseeable future.
A flow that spiked around 9,000 cfs earlier this month has slowly come down, but it’s expected to stay around 5,000 through the weekend.
And while anglers would rather see it close to 3,000, they’re dealing with the high water and doing the best they can.
“It’s not blown out anymore but it’s running high, and that’s going to be the case all summer,” Troy Whitaker of U-Save Gas and Tackle said. “Just means people will have to fish high water.”
Whitaker said there are spring chinook in the water all the way from Grave Creek into Grants Pass. He said if the water is somewhat muddy, the best bet will be to fish along the edges of the river. If the water is less dirty, he suggested fishing in the slower water or back eddy.
“Try to find that easier rowing water if you’re fishing from a boat,” he said.
Whitaker suggested either back-bouncing roe, back-trolling KwikFish or using a Brad’s Wiggler.
Regulations for spring chinook from the ocean to the old Gold Ray Dam site state that anglers can keep two salmon — two wild fish, two hatchery fish or one of each.
Many anglers have been going up higher in the river to the Shady Cove area, where the water is in slightly better shape.
However, anglers cannot keep a wild fish in that area.
“At least if you catch a wild fish in the Grants Pass area you can keep it,” he said.
Fishing for salmon continues to be good between the hatchery and Casey Park for anglers using beads or corkies.
A total of 2,025 winter steelhead, eight summer steelhead and 491 spring chinook have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery through June 3.
The Rogue is open for adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout. All nonadipose fin-clipped (wild) rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed.
Spring chinook fishing picked up late last week and June is looking to be a good month as water temperatures and flows are near perfect.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM
The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Trout season opens May 28, check regulations for harvest and gear restrictions.
Spring chinook are still being caught below Elkton, but they are also being caught at Cleveland Rapids, River Forks and Amacher. Sturgeon have also been biting recently. Only white sturgeon can be retained. Striped bass are also available and have been caught in the upper tidewater area. Shad have started arriving but will be difficult to catch until the water drops and warms up.
FREE FISHING WEEKEND
This weekend is Free Fishing Weekend around the state, and on those days Oregonians won’t need a fishing or shellfish license to fish, crab or clam in the state.
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to take your spouse, kids or friends on the fishing trip without having to buy a license,” said Rick Hargrave, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife deputy administrator for information/education.
Other regulations apply, including bag limit and size restrictions. People who have a combined tag for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut are encouraged but not required to use it.
At most events, there will be free loaner equipment for novice anglers, special events for children, and volunteers to help. For a list of events with times and locations, go to http://www.dfw.state.or.us/odfw_outdoors/free_fishing.asp.
In Southern Oregon, events will be held at Lake Selmac (Josephine County), Lost Creek Marina (Jackson), Hyatt Lake BLM Campground (Jackson), Fish Lake (Jackson), Expo Pond (Jackson), Cooper Creek (Douglas) and Diamond Lake (Douglas).
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