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Near-Record Rain Brings Water for Fish

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NEAR PROSPECT, Ore. – Near-record rain over the weekend is helping fill streams and reservoirs, and could be putting a dent in the drought facing our region. It’s also good news for anglers hoping to hook a steelhead heading up the Rogue, Illinois or Applegate rivers.

A handful of hopeful fishermen lined the banks near the Cole Rivers Hatchery on Monday morning, hoping to land one of the many steelhead they say are in the Rogue River right now. They say the weekend rains are helping move the fish upriver, and they hope to hook some of them.

“I enjoy fishing in the rain, actually. Most people don’t want to come out her in the rain. They’d rather have the sunlight. I’d rather come out here during the more rain the better, basically. If it’s pouring, you’re going to have fish up there,” said steelhead fisherman Billy Head.

“The rains will bring up the fish, but we don’t have to deal with the water being blown out up here because all the tributaries are below us,” said Erik Calhoun, another steelhead fisherman. “So, the best water for fishing right now during the rainstorm, or after a rainstorm is in the far upriver.”

“Rain and clouds can definitely help the steelhead fishing,” said ODFW Fish Biologist Jay Doino. “If the river gets too high, fishing’s no good, ’cause it get turbid and those fish are visual predators and they’re just not going to see your fly or your bait.”

Meanwhile, ODFW biologists were on the Upper River, counting carcasses to get a good idea of the spring Chinook run, and nearby salmon were spawning.

Anglers at Cole Rivers hatchery say part of the problem is there are so many salmon coming up right now, it’s really interfering with the steelhead fishing. But they say with the freshwater coming downstream, they expect a lot more fish to be in the river soon. Jay Doino says it’s only fly fishing right now in the Upper River, for steelhead.