May 11, 2015
Oregon’s Steelhead Destination
By Rick Rosner
Photo at right: Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge guide, Bryce Tedford, rows a dory—a traditional fishing boat—to help a guest find the best fly-fishing angle. Photo by Dale Spartus
Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge, just 18 miles northwest of Grants Pass, Oregon was built in 1946, and for almost 70 years has been a southern Oregon destination for steelhead anglers.
More than that, it is an Orvis-endorsed launch-pad for a myriad of outdoor experiences such as white-water rafting, horseback riding, relaxing by the pool, tennis and eco-touring in the Roger River valley.
For those with more traditional tourist inclinations, Morrison’s is close to the renowned Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, the glory of Crater Lake and the uniquely spectacular Oregon Coast.
Guests can book a variety of accommodations, choosing between nine river-view cottages (with fireplaces, private decks and covered parking) or four rooms in the main lodge. Two multi-bedroom suites and four cottages are just a short walk away on Taylor Creek.
Morrison’s Lodge provides a highly sought-after fine dining experience unique to southern Oregon. Every dinner at Morrison’s is a special occasion, whether served on the deck overlooking the Rogue or in the lodge dining room. Orvis-Endorsement is a highly sought-after accolade, typically awarded where superb lodge hospitality meets great fishing and serviced by the finest guides available. One of the great things about the staff at Morrison’s is their ability to provide anglers of every skill level the opportunity to have a first-rate fishing experience whatever the season.
Fish found in the Rogue near Morrison’s are varied.
Fall Chinook salmon, also known as Kings, start arriving around the last week of August and continue through September. Average Chinook are in the 35– 45-pound range but a 50- to 60-pounder is not uncommon.
Coho Salmon show up in late October and early November. Coho are very difficult to target and are generally caught incidentally while fishing for steelhead.
Spring Chinook or “Springers” come up-river in May. Difficult to catch, guides will usually fish for them upriver from Morrison’s near Grants Pass.
Trout are not resident to this area of the Rogue, but are catchable during migratory runs; you’ll see some sea-run cutthroat trout during the fall among the steelhead.
Then there are steelhead. Many say that these fish are the ultimate sport target for the fly fisherman; these ocean-going rainbow trout are legendary for their elusiveness and ferocious acrobatics on the line.
There are a number of ways to fish for steelhead and Morrison’s expert guides know every method utilizing either fly-fishing or conventional techniques.
No matter the season, no matter the activity, Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge just might continue these magical experiences for another 70 years. www.morrisonslodge.com
Rick Rosner of Gig Harbor, Washington has traveled the world writing about two of his favorite topics: luxury resorts/lodges and fly fishing