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Nymph Fishing for Steelhead on the Rogue River

The Rogue river is famous for Steelhead fishing. It has good-sized runs of both summer and winter steelhead.

The best months to steelhead fish on the Rogue are September, October and November. During these months there are both late summer steelhead and early winter steelhead.

During the month of October, most of the Rogue is fly fishing only. This means steelhead can only be fished with artificial lures, this means no bait, and no weights.

The most productive method for catching steelhead is to nymph fish. Dragging streamer flies on the surface can also be effective, but I have much more success nymphing; particularly when the Salmon are spawning and working the redds.

Here’s how it’s done: use a nine foot leader made up of 6 pound test. Tie on a heavy “ugly bug”, or something dark and fairly large. Then tie about 18 inches of 6 pound tippet onto the shank of the fly and attach another, smaller fly pattern to that. I like to use a number 8 or 10 Prince nymph. I’ve heard of fisherman tying the second fly from the eye of the first fly, but I’ve never tried it. It seems like it would get tangled easily.

Now you’ll need to attach the strike indicator. Decide what the approximate depth of water you’ll be fishing is, and put the indicator about a foot higher up the leader than that depth. For instance if you think the water is 4 feet deep put the indicator 5 feet up from the highest fly.

My new favorite indicators are thingamabobber indicators. These are air-filled balls which are extremely easy to cast and easy to attach to the leader. Yes, they resemble a bobber in every regard, but since were steelhead fly fishing were calling them indicators.

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