On The Fly
Your ticket to Southern Oregon Fly Fishing Adventure
Congratulations, you have made a choice to step into a lineage of great fly fisherman such as Zane Gray, Ernest Hemingway, and Clark Gable by choosing the Rogue River. The deep emerald waters will lull you into relaxed, almost trance like, state until a chrome dynamite take pulls you into an adrenaline induced scramble.
On the Fly Guide Service wants to provide you with a trip that transcends a fishing trip. We want to provide you an epic adventure that you will be talking about for years. In order to do that we believe that if we provide you with a detailed look at our methods and home waters you can prepare yourself, for the trip of a lifetime. This philosophy also allows us to customize your trip, to meet your expectations. Of course your expectations will be formed by the information you have, so let me tell you about what On the Fly provides, the fish, and the river.
On the Fly Guide Service operates on waters throughout Southern Oregon, but our favorite stretch of water is the Upper Rogue—from the Old Gold Ray Dam site to Cole Rivers Hatchery. This section of river will have catchable numbers of steelhead from September to May most years. We use several different presentations that depend on water levels, and temperature, to connect with the chromed Rogue missiles. At higher water temps we find that most people like to follow the legends and swing flies through the Rogue’s productive runs as the “take” of a steelhead on a swung fly is something special. Once temps fall below the mid forties a Nymph indicator rig out fishes the swung fly by quite a bit. On the Fly adapts well to the conditions and will put you in the best water, using the best presentation to catch fish. We employ a comfortable Willies drift boat that is set up for fore and aft fly casters. We also will provide all the rods, leaders and flies you will need to cover the water well. If you would like to bring your favorite rod we invite you to do so (see recommendations below). We also provide non-alcoholic drinks and all the gear that makes our journey down the river a safe one.
The Steelhead is in a class all of its own. The Summer Run starts pouring its way into the Upper Rogue early September and last clear into March. The fact that these fish stay in the river so long makes them return to their smolt like feeding habits. This creates a rare opportunity in the steelhead world as we have seen, on rare occasion, ten pound fish slurping down BWO’s by the buckets when conditions allow. One of our most effective methods to catch these brutes is to nymph fish, matching the hatch. Summer fish will stay in the upper river until the smaller in number, but the larger in size, winter fish make their way up. In the months of March and April we find a mix of winter and summer fish. The Rogue boasts a robust wild steelhead population, even allowing an angler to keep a wild fish over 24” February through March, although we encourage our clients to release all Wild Fish. There are plenty of stocked hatchery fish if an angler would like to keep one. Winter fish seem to act more like the “typical” steelhead as they don’t seem to stay in the river as long. Both runs of fish become more challenging as the temperature dips below the mid-forties—making it only productive to Nymph. Regardless of what time of year you are fishing, hooking into a Rogue steelhead is a treat you won’t soon forget.
The Rogue River is known worldwide, and was one of the birth places of white water navigation. It is still one, of only two, rivers that has a mail run that is accomplished by boat. There is even a style of drift boat that carries its name. The Rogue is born under the shadow of Crater Lake and flows about 250 miles to the pacific. The river boast large runs of Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead. The upper section remains fly-fishable to flows equaling 3000cfs out of the Dam, but is prime around Half that. The Upper River consists of some of the best fly water in the Pacific Northwest. There are fish holding runs that seem to last a mile, begging for a fly to be skated its entire length under the autumn orange sky. Names like Sandy Bottom, Slide, Hoot Owl, and Clay Banks add to the nostalgia of this beautiful emerald Gem. Just to step foot in the wild waters of the Rogue will make your hear dance, but it doesn’t stop there. The Rogue maintains an ecosystem that is attractive to Elk, Blacktail Deer, Bears, Ducks, Geese, and Bald Eagles. Bring your camera as the slumber of the drift boat doesn’t seem to alarm them as much, and you might be able to get a picture of a lifetime. You may come to the Rogue for the World Class Steelheading, but you’ll leave with some of its wild Spirit in you.
7:00 AM – Winter (November—April)
5:00 AM – Summer (September—October)
12:00PM- For Half Days
These times are changed by the client if arranged ahead of time.
Where to Meet
Here is a list of things you should bring to make your adventure the best it could be.
v Waders—they will keep you dry if it rains.
v A waterproof jacket
v Layered clothing—it gets cold during the winter months
v A good hat—block the sun and rain
v A camera
v A Fishing license and Steelhead Tag—you can buy one here http://www.dfw.state.or.us/online_license_sales/index.asp
v Remember to leave your colorful hats and flashy jewelry home.
Lunch will be provided free of cost, please let us know if there are any special request for lunches beforehand.
Once again I will provide all the gear, but I realize that many people like to fish their own equipment so please read through the following recommendations.
v Rods—a fast 6wt or 7wt as long as you have will work. Remember a lot of our fishing consists of a two Nymph system with a indicator and long leaders so it might be advantageous to test cast your rods before you come to see which you like best. If you want to swing flies, and the conditions allow, any 5wt, 6wt, and 7wt for heavy water, Spey or Switch rod will work.
v Reels—make sure your reel is up to the challenge of a drag ripping jet as these steelhead love to make long runs. The smoother the drag the better as our fluorocarbon tippets are light. Make sure you have at least 100 yards of backing.
o Nymph—Bring a line with a heavy head and enough body to anchor and stack mend. The nymphs we use are heavy and on a long leader, you’ll need as much mass, up front, in your line as you can to turn over the large amount of rigging.
o Swing—Summers—bring both a floating and a sink tip line. I prefer long belly lines for skating flies and short scandi or skadigt head with light tips or sinking poly leaders.
o Swing—Winters—Skating flies are generally not used during this time of year so bring the short heads and if river flows are up bring your heaviest tips.
v Leaders and tippets—vary to conditions. We fish from 0x to 4x tippets and 2’ to 12’ leaders. When the river is running clear fluorocarbon is a necessity.
v Flies—there are way too many flies to list, but the top producers are Ugly Bugs, Egg Patterns(in orange), and October Caddis. We fish our own variations of patterns that have been refined to help produce through our favorite runs.