America's 5 Hottest Fishing Spots

Rogue River

The good old days of anadromous fish runs have never faded on the Rogue River, which attracts some of the West Coast's strongest returns of wild steelhead and chinook salmon, plus hatchery stocks. An angler who starts fishing with an arsenal of rods at the river's mouth could go a lifetime and never find a reason to explore the entire 215 miles up to the headwaters at Crater Lake National Park. Meanwhile, month after month, surge after surge of overlapping anadromous fish runs pile into the lower river. Sweet Spot: Squaw Bar at the confluence of the Rogue and Illinois Rivers, a hotspot for any upriver fish runs What's Hot: Red Ant, Fools Gold, or Purple Peril flies for "half-pounder" steelhead Local Advice: "Go ahead and think about going to Alaska, but you won't find better fishing than this,'' says Russ Stauff, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist in Gold Beach. Prime Time: January for winter steelhead, August through October for half-pounders and cohos Record Fish: 711/2-pound chinook salmon, pending IGFA fly-rod world record, caught by Grant Martinsen in October 2002 More Info: Gold Beach Visitors Center, 800-525-2334; www.goldbeach.org