Discover Exciting Fishing

(Written by Robert Roos)

Jacksonville is fortunate to be located in the heart of some of Southern Oregon’s best fishing opportunities. Mountain lakes and world-class rivers are all within easy reach of our small town. Whether your passion is Bass, Trout, Steelhead or Salmon, you’re in the right place.

To start, you’ll need to have your license on hand. For you “out-of-staters”, that means you’ll want to get a non-resident fishing license. There are several stores close to Jacksonville the can provide a license as well as set you up with all your fishing needs. Bi-Mart and Blackbird Sporting Goods are both located on Main Street in Medford, about 10 minutes out of Jacksonville.

If you’re in town for only a short time, and just want to spend a few hours trying our waters, you’re in luck. There are several nearby fishing options to choose from.  Bank fishing or wading is very popular and is probably the most common type of fishing in the area. The town of Ruch is about 10 minutes away and is the beginning of the Applegate Valley wine district, and more importantly for this subject, home to the Applegate River. This river is fairly small, and can be waded; however, it does give up good sized steelhead when they are in the river system, and is also home to rainbow & cutthroat trout. There are a few parks like Cantrell- Buckley, McKee Bridge (a historic covered bridge) and Jackson County that offer public access, and each have some good spots to try your luck. While in the area, be sure to stop at one of the nearby wineries for a taste.

Proud Fishermen – photo by Alan Caddell

The Rogue River is your best bet to try for the mighty steelhead or salmon, and a great nearby spot is Touvelle State Park located on Table Rock Road. You can fish the Park side of the bridge or the boat ramp side, as both can be rewarding. Across the river from the park, closest to Table Rock Road you will note a small grove of trees near the bank. In the spring be sure to have a pair of binoculars, as you will be able to see a rookery of more than a dozen resident Great Blue Herons nesting amongst the branches. It’s quite a site to see these majestic birds sitting in the trees. For the fly-fisherman purest, there is “The Holy Water”, a section of river that is fly fishing only, and is only about 45 minutes away. On the way, you can stop in the small river town of Shady Cove at the “Fishin’ Hole” store and get some local advice and supplies.

The most productive and rewarding option may be to use a guide and float down the river in a comfortable drift boat, especially designed for whitewater and perfect for steelhead or salmon fishing. As a visitor, the use of a guide greatly enhances your chances of success. They know the hot spots, best techniques, and equipment. The guides in the Rogue Valley are very professional, knowledgeable, and adaptive to your skill level. A good place to check on a guide is at www.thefishinholeflyshop.com. Generally, all equipment, as well as lunch is provided on the full day trips. Beside the enhanced opportunities at hooking up a big fish, you will also get a chance to see a much greater amount of this beautiful river system. Depending on which part of the river you actually float you may see a variety of wildlife, including resident Bald Eagle, Otter, Deer and more.

The Rogue Valley is an outdoor paradise. The river systems and nearby lakes are a major part of the enjoyment of Mother Nature and all she has to offer, and is some of our most treasured assets. Come and discover the possibilities.

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