Known as the fish of "1000 casts", the elusive steelhead is one of the most sought after sport fish in the northwest. A fish that begins its incredible journey, is born in freshwater, spends its adult life in saltwater, then returns to freshwater to spawn.
This month I met a very good friend of mine for a long overdue girls fishing trip. With her in California and myself in Oregon, we opted to meet on the beautiful Rogue River in southern Oregon and try our best to find one of these elusive creatures.
|After making my way over the mountain pass, I made a stop at the Cole M. River Hatchery near Shady Cove at the base of Lost Creek Dam.|
Constructed in 1973 by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Cole Rivers Hatchery is used for adult collection, spawning, egg incubation and rearing of spring and fall chinook salmon, coho salmon, summer stealhead and winter stealhead, and rainbow trout.
To the right of the spillway is the fish ladder.
It is one of the last obstacles of the long journey where the fish make their way back to their native waters to spawn.
The Rogue River has two steelhead runs, winter and summer.
|Arrival at Valley of the Rogue State Park in Gold Hill.|
|Great view from the campsite.|
Valley of the Rogue Park is nestled along three miles of the Rogue River.
|A relaxing environment while waiting for my fishing partner to complete her trek from California.|
|After six hours of travel, she made it!|
|The next morning, the new crew arrived to join us.|
|Deb's parents rented one of the yurts in the park for a comfortable two nights of camping.|
|Gear...oh how I love thee. |
Morning gear check before the first fishing outing.
|Scouting the water.|
|Our onsite camera crew and moral support.|
|Finally! A girls fishing trip!|
|Built in the late 1800's/early 1900's, Sams Valley School remains an icon in this simple community.|
The Sams Creek School District was named after Chief Sam, a leader of the Rogue River Indians and a signer of the Treaty of Table Rock in 1853.
|Fishing at Touvelle State Park.|
|At an elevation of 5,183', the frozen lake is a common site in the winter.|
Yes, that is a person on the lake on the left of the picture. Depending on the thickness of the ice, it is typical to see snowmobilers riding across it.
|After a "FRAP" (Frenetic Random Activity Period) of several minutes around the riverbank, she unexpectedly jumped in the river over her head. |
Before this, she had never been in water past her knees.
|Taking our annual group camping photo, Katie thought Ed needed some freshening up.|
Like the steelhead, I felt a little piece of home visiting my native southern Oregon. Great times with great friends and family always make the trip worth it. Although we weren't lucky enough to catch one of these creatures, every mile driven was worth it. Reflecting into my childhood and making new memories of today, the Rogue River will always hold a special place.
"I need this wild life, this freedom." -- Zane Grey