Rogue River, upper REPORT
As of April 7, 322 new winter steelhead entered the ladder at Cole Rivers Hatchery, bringing this year’s total to 673 fish. ODFW estimates around 1,100 winter steelhead are destined for the hatchery (well below normal, but meeting mitigation goal minimum of 500 fish), so the upper river will be the place to fish in the coming weeks as this year’s run has been later than average.
Water conditions have dropped significantly, with only 888 cfs being released from Lost Creek Reservoir, as a conservation measure in order to store as much water is possible as the snowpack above the reservoir is below average. This water will be used to augment flows to benefit spring Chinook salmon. Be aware of this if floating a drift boat, as navigational channels have gotten a bit tight. Make sure you can row and read water or float with an experienced boat handler!
Winter fish are being caught from Touvelle to the hatchery. Wild steelhead can now be retained in the entire Rogue basin through April 30, as long as the fish is a minimum of 24 inches long. Only 1 wild fish per day, and 3 per year SW Zone wide in aggregate may be kept. Wild trout must still be released. Hatchery steelhead may be retained year-round.
Trout fishing on the Rogue also closed March 31, and opens again on May 22. This includes catch-and-release trout anglers. Any angler on the Rogue at this time will need to have in possession a valid combined angling tag, in addition to their fishing license.
Locally-owned and operated tackle and fly shops in Medford, Shady Cove, and Ashland have excellent gear and very fresh bait, local flies and knowledge that is specific to the Rogue and to your particular technique. Go check them out and offer them support during this time.
For the latest fish counts, call into the Lost Creek Reservoir hotline or check the MyODFW.com fish counts page.
For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434. For real time streamflow from USGS gauges on the Rogue click here. Last updated 4/14/21.
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