By: Troy Whitaker
The good news is people are catching springers on the Lower Rogue. However, it’s been a fair run. I’d call it average. It hasn’t been the worst I’ve ever seen and there haven’t been fish swimming everywhere either. Most of the people I’ve talked to are catching fish, but it’s been a mixed bag. One day it’s all wild fish and the next there’s a lot of hatchery fish around. We are in the middle of the run right now. Fish will continue to migrate through the lower river until the end of June.
We are hoping the run improves in the next few weeks, but none of us really know what’s going happen. The state is keeping a tight lip on everything in regards to the run. I think our hatcheries need to produce more fish. We can all remember when the Rogue River was a destination and it’s not that anymore. People are going to the Umpqua and other rivers because the run has fallen of.
On a bright note we are seeing quality fish this season. I’ve heard reports of fish being up into the 40s. I haven’t hooked anything like that, but there’s been a lot of nice fish around. They are averaging 15-30 pounds, which is a nice springer. It depends on your anchor spot, but if you get a good spot you can catch three or four fish per trip. The key is to get in a traveling line. Being in the right spot at the right high tide is key.
Everyone is on anchor now, which is normal for springers. When the water starts warming these fish won’t come shooting up the river. Instead, they’ll acclimate in Rogue Bay first. At that point people will start trolling, but now we are sitting on anchor. We have a lot of water, which is a good thing. The last five years we’ve been in a drought. In year’s past it was shallow and everyone was looking for a place to fish, whereas this year everyone has a place to fish and that’s not going to change because there’s tons of water around here.
Tides do matter. When high tides starts coming the fish shoot upriver. It’s best to fish a few hours before high tide and then fish it on the outgoing. Targeting springers on the Lower Rogue is straightforward. Everyone is running anchovies, spinners or Brad’s Cut Plugs. I’ve been using Blue Fire Brine anchovies. In our coastal waters normally the chartreuse and blue are the best colors. This year, however, blue has been the go-to color.
The water is getting clearer each day, which is forcing us to employ lighter line. In the beginning of the run you could get away with heavier line. Now I’d suggest you use a high quality fluorocarbon. I use Seagar 30-pound fluorocarbon as my leader and 30-pound Trilene Big Game as my main line. We are using size 1 Gamakatsu for the nose hook and an Owner size 2 treble hook as a trailer hook.
Editor’s Note: Troy Whikater operates Troy’s Guide Service (541) 761-0015 and U Save Gas & Tackle (541) 476-9871 in Grant’s Pass. For more information on his guided Rogue River trips please call 541-761-0015.