Oregon Fishing Guide
Bass Lakes

Elk & Sixes Rivers

North Umpqua River

The North Umpqua River hosts an incredible Winter steelhead run, a fantastic Summer Steelhead run as well as spring Chinook and Coho/Silver Salmon. The upper river also has cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout. The fly water portion of the North Umpqua is known around the world as the “graduate school of steelhead fly fishing” for its extremely challenging fishing. The ability to wade deep heavy current over very slippery ledge rocks as well as the ability to cast 90’ feet are among the reasons for this rivers difficulty. In addition, the North Umpqua ’s native steelhead have legendary power, testing the anglers ability and tackle on every blistering run.

In Trey Comb’s book “Steelhead fly fishing” he called the North Umpqua ’s famous “camp water” section “The most celebrated waters” in steelheading history. These are the waters once fished by legendary anglers like Zane Gray, Major Lawrence Mott, Clarence Gordon, Jack Hemmingway and many others.

The winter steelhead arrive in the lower portions of the North Umpqua near Roseburg , Oregon in December. The run continues to build through January, February and March as the fish push their way further up into the upper reaches of the river. While in the lower river, the regulations allow for the use of conventional tackle and multiple fish days are common. Once they enter the fly only section, only single, barbless hooks are allowed. In 2005, the use of weighted flies are allowed again. My clients use both single hand and double hand (spey) rods with sink tip lines or “heads” to get our fly’s to swing slow and deep. This is the one river in Oregon where the entire run of winter fish are comprised of native fish only. These fish are large and aggressive and readily grab flies. The other unique feature of this river is how quickly the fly water section becomes fishable after a typical winter rain storm. Rarely am I forced to cancel booked trips on this river due to river conditions.

My Summer season usually starts every year around the beginning of June. The fishing improves throughout July and August, with the best fishing usually occurring in September and October. This is in my opinion, the finest skated dry fly steelhead water in the lower 48. If catching a steelhead on a dry fly is your dream, this is where you can do it! During this past season, my clients and I raised well over a hundred and fifty fish to dry flies! You won’t soon forget the experience when one of these fish explodes on the surface to a skated dry fly!

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