Rogue River near Grants Pass & Shady Cove, Oregon, Umpqua River near Canyonville, Oregon, and the Chetco River near Brookings, Oregon
Season: December through April
Winter Steelhead season is the favorite time of year for many anglers in the Northwest. The winter runs are typically much larger than their summer counter parts, and provide an exhilarating fight. This is the time of year to chase after that trophy Steelhead, and even though the temperatures are colder, you can still ride in comfort thanks to our heated drift boats while sipping on your favorite hot beverage.
Here in Southern Oregon we have a few rivers all fairly close together that all have excellent runs of winter steelhead. December usually kicks off with us on the Chetco as it receives fish a little earlier than the Rogue or Umpqua. In January and February we start to focus on the Middle Rogue below Grants Pass and the South Umpqua near Canyonville. The South Umpqua is where we catch our largest fish each year, and is the best chance of catching a true trophy steelhead over 20 pounds. In March and April we start shifting to the Upper Rogue, while still fishing the South Umpqua.
Winter can see conditions change in a hurry here in Southern Oregon, and where we fish will ultimately depend on what is in shape and fishing best. Luckily, with a wide range of rivers to choose from, there is almost always something in shape with a chance to catch some steelhead.
We employ a wide range of tactics for winter steelhead which makes them great for any level of fisherman. We spend a lot of time side drifting yarn balls and eggs, while taking breaks in between to run plugs or cast bobbers.
The Chetco and Rogue both receive strong enough runs of winter steelhead to allow for some retention. However, we always encourage the release of all wild steelhead to help ensure the runs stay strong for future generations. All of the rivers we fish have strong hatchery returns as well to give you a good shot at taking home some high quality meat. Each person may keep 2 hatchery steelhead a day, or 1 hatchery and 1 wild on the Rogue and Chetco during the set seasons.