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When fly fishing Oregon's upper Rogue River you have a choice. Steelhead is the main focus with good runs of both summer and winter steelhead but you can also target resident rainbow trout.
You also have a choice of water structure. There is something for everyone, from large rocky runs and ripples to deep pockets.
The Rogue River upstream of Gold Hill has good access and footing for anglers who prefer to wade and good access for drift boats. Access is a draw for fly anglers to this section.
The Rogue River has low and stable flows from late August to the middle of November. Add to this the mild weather this time of the year and you have a much loved summer steelhead season for fly fishers.
The middle of February to the end of April is your best time to target winter steelhead on the upper Rogue.
You will also have less fishing pressure in April. When fly fishing for winter steelhead the upper section of the Rogue River will often be the only section that will be clear.
Public use of the river banks between Grave Creek and Lost Creek Dam is in ongoing litigation. At this time I would stay in public use areas or get permission from land owners.
Upstream of Fishers Ferry is restricted to artificial flies from Sept. 1st to Dec 31st. Always check Oregon Fish and Game Regulations for the latest information.
Lost Creek Reservoir downstream to below Shady Cove
Shady Cove downstream to TouVelle State Recreation Site
TouVelle State Recreation Site downstream to Gold Hill
Click here and download the Rogue Water Trail map. It shows bank and boating access to the upper Rogue (scroll down to see each river mile).
Streamers and swinging flies:
The best part of fly fishing Oregon's upper Rogue River is that you can use just about any method you like. Whether it is dead-drift techniques or a swung fly, the upper Rogue has water for you.
If you are going to swing flies you will need to bring some sink tips, especially when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers starts to drop the flow out of the Lost Creek Dam toward the end of September. As the water temperature drops the steelhead are less inclined to move very far for a fly.
For summer steelhead:
For winter steelhead:
See Oregon Department of Fish and Game's fishing report on the Rogue River. They update it a couple of times a month.
For trout and steelhead
For steelhead fly fishing
Valley of the Rogue State Park (Camping by the freeway)
The community of Shady Cove will put you in the heart of the upper Rogue. Lodging can also be found in Medford.
Trophy Waters Flyfishing Shop, Medford (541)-734-2278 www.trophywaters.net
The Rogue Fly Shop, Grants Pass (541)-476-0552 www.rogue-flyshop.com
The Ashland Fly Shop (541)-488-6454 www.ashlandflyshop.com
For a list of guides who know the Rogue River see: Rogue River Guides
The Rogue River is known for its summer and winter steelhead runs and the upper section is one of the easiest fly fishing rivers in Oregon to access so expect a crowd. Like most rivers a remote spot can be found if you are willing to take a hike.
If you are planning on fly fishing Oregon, you need to include the upper Rogue River. The upper Rogue has something for everyone. If you prefer indicator drift fishing from a drift boat this is the place. But if you prefer to wade and swing flies for steelhead the Rogue is also a good choice.
Please be aware of spawning fish in the upper Rogue in the winter. Steelhead will be spawning in the mainstream, and disturbing their redds may destroy thousands of eggs.