Umpqua River, August 23, 24 & 25th

IMGP3222 Craig, Travis & Tom

I had a couple cancellations, a recurring theme this month and rather than fret over it I went fishing.   I try to get up to the Umpqua a couple times a year to chase it’s legendary summer steelhead.  I had heard that the fishing had been good, a few fish had been caught after the river was closed for three weeks due to forest fires.  I arrived on Sunday and had an angler in the run upstream from me hook up and land a fish within a few minutes of my arrival.  As he was landing his fish, the angler just downstream hooked up as well.  Not a common sight on this river, famed for it’s challenging fishing.  A short time later I raised a fish in my run and after three fly changes it grabbed a favorite small wet fly I call a Little Black Dress  and proceeded to bound around the pool until it came unhooked on it’s final leap.   What an outstanding start.  I fished upstream without luck and at dusk ran into the first angler I saw earlier land a fish.   We swapped notes about our day, he had hooked another fish but neither of us had another fish to hand.  We camped in adjoining sites and chatted a bit.  Travis is a bike mechanic for a mountain bike race team centered in Bend, Oregon.  He has recently been bit by Steelhead and fishes any time he is not on the road to a race.  Turns out we like the same kind of water and kept running into each other so exchanged contact info and started planning to fish together again soon.  I met Tom at the Susan Creek Campground the following evening.  Tom is a retired teacher from Corvalis and hadn’t fished the Camp Water before so I offered to share it with him the following morning.  While we didn’t find fish Travis landed another nice hatchery fish upstream from us.  I ended up with fish hooked in all but the last session, and even landed a few.  Catching or even hooking a fish as magical as a summer steelhead on a river  as gorgeous as the Umpqua is a deeply rewarding experience.  While I hope not to have many more cancellations I do plan to make it back up for a little more Umpqua magic again soon.


  1. ike
    Posted August 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    great to hear of your luck up there–last year i spent three days pounding away in july—two hook ups and no fish to hand—gotta do it again– some friends of mine were able to hang out just before the closure when the smoke had everyone running–they had an amazing time hooking fish after fish while having the river to themselves—give me a call if your heading up in the next week or so—-

  2. Craig Nielsen
    Posted August 29, 2009 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    I hope to get up there again, will give you a jingle if I make it. It would be great to get together! Thanks for the note ;>)

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