Rogue River Fishing Guide

The Rogue River in Oregon is known for having some of the high quality salmon fishing on the West Coast. This is one of the few wild and scenic rivers with a variety of fishing opportunities. The river has over 215 miles of fishable water that provides a fantastic sport fishery for salmon and steelhead. The effort to remove dams on the river contributed to a better fishing experience.

There are many trout-fishing opportunities on the Rogue River, including the challenging fly-fishing for steelhead and summer angling for salmon fishing. This river has maintained a good run of salmon and steelhead, partly due to the availability of cold water that is constantly supplied from the Mountains. In this Rogue River fishing guide, we explain the best time and places to fish on the Rogue River.

When do you fish on the Rogue River?

There is a wide variety of fish on the Rogue River. The Chinook salmon are the largest Pacific salmon species that weigh up to 40 pounds. On the other hand, the steelheads are ocean-run rainbow trout found in the family of salmon. Apart from the spring chinook, there is the Rogue River fall Chinook salmon that is more widespread across Oregon’s coastal systems.

fishing reel pond public domain image - FreeIMG

The Rogue River offers a fantastic fishing experience all year-round. However, you will find different fish types depending on the season and time of the year. Mid May through September is the best time for king salmon fishing, while July to November is best for steelhead.

The spring is the best time to go on Rogue River fishing for the Spring Chinook with the best months being April and May. This is when the spring Chinook salmon enters the river and stock at the lower section of the river. The Foster Bar around Agness offers the best spot for anyone seeking spring salmon.

How to fish salmon on the Rogue River

Drift fishing is the most common technique used to catch the Chinook salmon from a riverbank. Anglers have to cast the spinners and spoons during salmon fishing Rogue River. Anglers can also use adjustable slip floats, pink worm, or jig to bait the salmon. When fishing in clear water, you have to use smaller presentations, with bigger offerings used in murkier waters.

The spring is the best time to fish the Chinook salmon by targeting the lower river section, such as Foster Bar. The best catches happen in May, running to July. This upper section of the river can be difficult for anglers, so anyone unfamiliar with the area should not attempt fishing in the downstream.

The lower sections of the river produce high-quality salmon during August and September when the Chinook is lingering in the calmer bay. Anglers can also catch the Coho salmon in the fall, with the best catches being in October. The Coho salmon is best found in the bay and lower section of the river.

How to fish steelhead salmon on Rogue River

Steelhead salmon are mostly found in the upper section of the river during the summer. The fish starts entering the river in late spring and stays throughout the summer period. The summer season provides a perfect time to catch steelhead, with the upper river section providing an added Chinook attraction.

The steelhead is mostly found in tidally influenced areas, which is why you have to stick to the free-flowing water when fishing for steelhead. For example, the upstream river sections provide this tidewater that attracts steelhead salmon. On the Rogue River, the steelhead passes along Interstate 5 in large numbers.

The steelhead passes through the lower sections of the river rather quickly, before they slow their migration upstream. This means they hold up in great numbers along the upstream with tidal influences. Fly anglers can use the upper river section for fishing steelhead salmon between August and November. In contrast, the winter steelhead fishing is useful in the lower river section. 

How to fish trout salmon on Rogue River

The best place to catch trout on the Rogue River is in the upper sections. These upper sections of the river are stocked with several trout fish that cannot be found anywhere else. They particularly have wild varieties of cutthroat trout alongside the non-native rainbow salmon and brown trout.

Bottom line

The Rogue River is an angling destination for many fish enthusiasts interested in salmon and steelhead. The upper Rogue River north of Oregon and the middle Rogue River near Grants Pass offers the best places to fish the steelhead. The lower section of the river produces the highest salmon qualities with the fall Chinook found mostly in the cooler areas. This means the salmon will only migrate upstream when the river cools enough. Most anglers will target salmon from August to mid-September before the fall steelhead arrives. October is the best month for steelhead fly-fishing. You will need to hire an Oregon fishing guide to take care of all details if you are new on the river.

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