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For Salmon, Trout or Steelhead Fishing In Oregon, Try The Rogue River

Updated on April 27, 2015

Do You Want To Catch Fish?

Some of the best fishing I know of is in Oregon, primarily on the Rogue River. A river located in Southern Oregon that runs basically west to the Pacific.

If you're looking for Trout, Salmon or Steelhead? The Rogue River is the place

For me? Since I was a kid, I have always had great success fishing that river. For some who have read any of my other hubs on fishing?

Then you know I come from a family of outdoors people and we spent nearly every spare weekend on the rivers and lakes, in the woods or out on the ocean.

River fishing from the towns of Grants Pass, Rogue River and even a bit further upstream (towards the remains of the old Savage Rapids dam), west to the Oregon coast is always great fishing.

With the removal of the dams along the Rogue River, fish populations are actually on the rise.

Starting with the small town of Rogue River, (just east of Grants Pass.), the town and the river itself are both easily accessible from I-5. From this point on the river, west to the Oregon/California coast, (ending in the towns of Gold Beach and even to Crescent City, California) you can almost always be guaranteed a great day of fishing..

Doesn't that picture above make you wish you were out there fishing right now?

How About A Steelhead?

How About A Steelhead?
How About A Steelhead?

The Lower Rogue River - Fishing out of Gold beach

salmon fishing jpg 2
salmon fishing jpg 2

At the start of the season:

Where to start? Well, come late May or early June, I like to start on the lower Rogue River, near the small town of Gold Beach. This is when the first of the summer Steelhead will begin to appear.

Gold beach is a cool little town on the South Western Oregon coast where the Rogue River meets the Pacific Ocean. It has a fairly temperate climate for the Pacific Northwest and has been home to some of the best Salmon and Steelhead fishing for many, many years.

There are guided tours available and even jet boat rides, but for boat fishing, I take my own and fish roughly 3 1/2 miles above a place called Lucky Lodge. It's an RV/campground that is located on the north side of the Rogue River about 7 or 8 miles inland from Gold Beach itself. It has a great boat ramp and easy access. There is also plenty to do at this small oasis for the non fishing folks as well, who come along on your weekend fishing trips.

I put my boat in and head upriver and anchor slightly to the right of the center of the stream. I rig my lines with Steel Leader and Flashtrap Spinners. I use salmon eggs right on the hook. I then float my line downriver in the current about 3 or 400 feet and then lock the reel and just wait.

The Flashtrap spinners work so well, that I use them almost exclusively here. The choice for eggs is up to you, but just make sure you use cured eggs. I prefer Pautzke's Balls O' Fire Salmon Eggs because they are considerably less gicky (not sure that's a word, but it does describe things well) than most of the roe bait that's commonly available. If you're baiting hooks during cold weather? it makes a difference. The smell WILL draw the salmon from downstream, in the direction of your lure.

Besides, I keep my jar in my pocket to keep the bait warm making it easier to work with.

My Salmon Eggs of Choice

Pautzke Bait Balls O'Fire Salmon Eggs Green Label 1oz.
Pautzke Bait Balls O'Fire Salmon Eggs Green Label 1oz.

If you want the Best all around salmon eggs? Use Pautzke Bait Roe, Fire Cure Balls O' Fire salmon eggs. These salmon eggs don't stick together or tear out easily like some others on the market.

Evaluation: If you think you can find anything better? Buy it. But these eggs are the Mack Daddy of Salmon Eggs.


Where to Fish for Steelhead - Salmon and Steelhead running upstream

fishing in oregon jpg 4
fishing in oregon jpg 4

By late May or early June:

Steelhead and even some spring Chinook are found coming up river. But very few of these fish (Chinooks) will have made it to the Upper Rogue until June or even July because of water temperatures.

Water temperatures:

Traditionally, they are in the low to mid fifties in the early spring, so it does limit fish catching in the upper Rogue which is why I fish the lower. But as the water temperature heats up, so does the fishing. By this time of the year (mid to late May, the winter Steelhead are pretty much done.)

Spring Chinook:

A few do make their way through though, so be on the lookout. The biggest problem I have experienced at this time of year is the water temperatures are usually still well under 60 degrees F.

My rule of thumb: With water temps rise, then the best fishing right then, is usually around Grants Pass or Rogue River, Oregon. As always, check with the fish and game department to get the latest updates before you head out and if you don't or can't, then talk to some of the locals where you intend to go.

One final note...Spinners and flies are the choice for catching fish. (May-June)

Akuna Trolling Spoon Fishing Lure for Northern Pike, Salmon, Walleye and Largemouth Bass, 3-Inch, Five of Diamonds Mustard
Akuna Trolling Spoon Fishing Lure for Northern Pike, Salmon, Walleye and Largemouth Bass, 3-Inch, Five of Diamonds Mustard

I grew up Salmon Fishing using a combination of salmon eggs and flashing spoon rigs. The dimpled or hammered finish with it's wobble action will catch the eye of any predatory salmon on it;s way upstream. Color in murky water of spring runoff works to our advantage.

Evaluation: Adding salmon eggs is a personal preference, but once a Salmon smells the scent trail from the eggs? With the bright color, the wobbling action and the scent trail from the eggs? Tthere is just no way you won't get a strike.

Akuna [JM 68] 2.45-Inch Hammered Spoon Fishing Lure for Bass/Salmon/Trout/Muskie, Reflective Gold, Two of One Color
Akuna [JM 68] 2.45-Inch Hammered Spoon Fishing Lure for Bass/Salmon/Trout/Muskie, Reflective Gold, Two of One Color

Here's the Hammered Finish I spoke of. I cannot tell you how many salmon I have caught using one of these. I keep the brass finish good and shiny before each use. Place your eggs on the treble hook, troll at a slow speed or anchor your boat in a river and you have one deadly combination lure for salmon or steehead.

Evaluation: You pick your choice in colors (there are over 2 dozen to choose from) , but I have ALWAYS had luck with the brass finish.


"The fish and I were both stunned and disbelieving to find ourselves connected by a line." William Humphrey in "The Armchair Angler"

A Chinook Salmon

A Chinook Salmon
A Chinook Salmon

"If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business." Sparse Grey Hackle

Spinnerbait, Split Shot and a K.O. Wobbler - These are ones I use that work, besides, you need this stuff

Let's face it. No lure works 100% of the time. It pays to keep a variety of choices on hand. You know, an assortment of spinners and lures to be complete, and mine is no exception. I have gathered here today, a few of my favorites.Nothing works all of the time, but having an assortment of tried and true lures? Well, it sure slides the scale in our favor as fishermen and women. Grab a great stove while you're at it. Good luck

Strike King BBMK-301SG Bleeding Bait Mini-King Spinnerbait, 1/8
Strike King BBMK-301SG Bleeding Bait Mini-King Spinnerbait, 1/8

If you think you can't catch Salmon on a Spinner bait, then tie one of these on and see how well they work. The bright red eye, yellow tail and red hook are tantalizer's for any self respecting salmon

Eagle Claw Sinker Assortment Removable Split-Shot (Per 124)
Eagle Claw Sinker Assortment Removable Split-Shot (Per 124)

No tackle box would be complete without a box of split shot. The weights of choice. This handy box fits in any tackle box and almost any pocket so that you have what you need when you need it.


Fishing in Oregon - In closing today

Many of the dams that used to dot the rivers and streams of Oregon, have been dynamited and the areas returned to the pre-dam natural surroundings. The salmon counts have increased, but only time will tell if the move to destroy all of the dams will bring about the change the Forest service, Fish and Game and others are hoping for. That problem is exacerbated by the foreign fishing fleets scrubbing the offshore waters clean of ALL fish, not just salmon.

But until we as a nation, deal with the massive Foreign Fishing Trawlers and Foreign Fishing Fleets scouring our coastal waters clean? In the opinion of this fisherman, the fish counts will remain low despite the best of intentions of everyone involved.

The picture above is of one of those trawlers.

These fishing fleets (most of them foreign) utilize nets that are sometimes as much as 35 miles long. Nothing escapes these nets. If you want to see Salmon fishing (as well as the fishing of many other species) continue and for fishing to be something to pass down to our children and grandchildren, write your Congress man or woman and/or your State Senator's about the issue. Some things just need to be preserved.

For myself, having grown up Steelhead and Salmon fishing on the Rogue River, I have a particular fondness for that river. I have spent many a day, caught plenty of fish and continue to. I have grand memories of that river. We all look back on the days of our youth with fondness I realize, but the Rogue River will always remain magical to me. It's inherent beauty and the abundance of fish it can provide are above priceless. Let's help keep all of our nations rivers that way.

Thanks for reading, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail--CampingmanNW

Acme KO Wobbler Lure, Nickel Chartreuse Stripe, 3/4-Ounce
Acme KO Wobbler Lure, Nickel Chartreuse Stripe, 3/4-Ounce

The Acme (no, not from the Road Runner cartoons), but the Acme K O Wobbler lure. It's called the K O for obvious reasons and the 'wobbler because of it's 'distinctive' wobble that will draw a strike For many, this is a lure from the past, but truth be known? Even though this lure was around many years ago it never ceases to entice a strike in Steelhead or Salmon.

Evaluation: Buy the 3/4 oz and Shipping is FREE right to your door


Do you have any comments about where to fish in Oregon - Or maybe a favorite spot of your own? Feel free to share

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    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @TransplantedSoul: All of the Pacific Northwest is a great place to visit and live. Thanks for your visit today and your kind comments. Both are much appreciated

    • TransplantedSoul profile image


      5 years ago

      I have not visited the West coast much - but Oregon looks wonderful.


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