Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spoonin' For Summer Steelhead

Today's post is a recent story I wrote over on my fishing blog (Southern Oregon Fishing). It's been a very popular post so I thought I would re-post it here for all of you.

For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you may remember me giving some advice on beating the heat with some Evening Fishing on the Rogue. Well Sunday I completely ignored my own advice and hit the river during the middle of the day. With it being a hot afternoon on the weekend I knew there would be a pretty big crowd on the river. I left the house with a few options up my sleeve to try and get into a summer steelhead or two.

Option 1 - My favorite fishing hole on the Rogue River has been unfishable since March due to the high water. It requires the river to be below 3ft on the Gold Ray gauge to even access it, and below 2.5ft to be the least bit fishable. With the gauge reading 2.9ft I decided to swing by and see how it looked just in case. Unfortunately I know the hole way to well and it was running too high to be fishable. So on to option 2 I went...

Option 2 - My second option is my favorite stretch of the Rogue to throw spinners and spoons. This stretch of river is located behind a locked gate that requires a key from the ODFW, however, anyone that requests it can get a key for access. It's also happens to be a very popular spot for river boarders.  When I got down to the water the river boarders were out in force and they even had a metal rock band playing a concert. Luckily they take up the lower half of the run while the upper half was free for me to fish. I soon found out that summer steelhead apparently like multiple types of metal.

My first summer steelhead of the year caught on a spoon
I was casting my spoon up into the current letting it tumble down through the run. When it would get to about 45 degrees below me I would start swinging it across the current. As I did this for about the 20th time I felt what seemed to be a trout strike at the spoon as it was swinging across the seam. I let the spoon continue to flutter when WHAM! The chrome rocket attacked the spoon and immediately came out of the water for an aerial display. After a few more flips and a couple runs I slid my first summer steelhead of the year onto the beach. After a quick photo it was released to continue its journey as its adipose fin was intact marking that it was a wild fish.

All the comotion drew the attention of a couple fellow anglers, so my spot quickly became crowded. I decided to pack it up after a few more unseccesful casts, and head onto option 3.

My spoon caught jack salmon
Option 3 - I had never fished this next run, but knew it was a good spot for steelhead. After stumbling a 1/4 mile through the river I reached the very slight bend in the river. I started part way down from the head of the riffle and slowly started working my way down river casting my spoon the entire time. After fishing the entire stretch unsuccesfuly I decided to head up to the very top of the riffle before giving up. Again after about 20 casts in this spot my spoon was attacked while swinging across the current. Being thigh deep in the middle of the current I had to stumble my way down stream and towards the bank to be able to land the fish. As I finally made my way onto shore I slid the fish onto the grass. This time it was a small jack salmon instead of a steelhead. With retention of wild salmon allowed in this stretch of the Rogue I was able to keep the jack for a nice meal. After continuing to fish for a little while longer I decided to call it a day.

Here's the hot spoon of the day: 1/3oz hammered Little Cleo in blue and silver

The jack salmon with the Little Cleo spoon
Some of the best advice I've ever heard has been "You can't catch anything without your line in the water", and it's something you've got to live by if you're a fisherman. No matter what time of day it is you've got to hit the water when ever you've got the free time. Who knows you may find something pulling on the other end of your line even though it's not the "best" time for fishing.

  Tight Lines....


  1. this blog post made me yearning to get my fishing license...also strangely it made me hungry

  2. Oh I just LOOOOVE fishing! I caught my last fish like 3 weeks ago, it was a 50cm carp, I let him go aftrwards


  3. I dont know a lot about fishing, but i always found relaxing just to hang out, have a few beers in a boat. I guess this is my chance to actually learn something instead of just looking :)

  4. Can you catch fish with plastic bait or do you need to use live bait? I bought a kit from walmart a few months ago and a few people said that it is garbage and that I should just use live bait.

  5. Oh my God, I haven't been fishing in over a year. I miss it so much, I need to motivate my friends, and get us back out there. We used to go 3x a week, just drink beer and chill.

  6. @Cheryl...You definitely don't need live bait. Depending on what you're fishing for artificial baits can often outproduce live bait.

  7. I got an awesome chance to go deep sea fishing. It was so much fun. But it makes lake fishing seem just a little lame in comparison.

  8. dude, you have an enviable life. I wish I was fishin right now!
    good on ya, cobber!

  9. man I haven't been fishing in forever

  10. I'd have loved to have witnessed the metal concert while fishing. Those two passions of mine have never coincided.

  11. Ugh, I hate fishing.
    But don't take it personally, that's mostly because of my father. He's more of a fanatic, you see. And that can turn a kid into a hater. :D

  12. those are some nice fatty fish. YUM :)