Umpqua River, September 5th

Black, Blue & Big Buck Lou

Lou heard that I was headed to the Umpqua and after a quick review of a weather forecast abandoned plans to fish the Trinity and made the long drive to join me.   He arrived Friday evening and fished the Famous Run above The Falls at sunset without a bump.  We camped together at Susan Creek and headed to the Camp Water long before first light Saturday morning.  With only one other car in the parking lot we headed to Station full of anticipation at being the first ones through.  Unfortunately we spotted the driver’s headlamp while walking down the trail.  Not to worry, this meant that at least we would be the first ones to fish the Kitchen Run, just a bit downriver and probably my favorite run.  We arrived to find the driver’s partner already poised at the top of the run, smart guys these two ;>).  A bit disappointed we headed back up the trail were Lou decided to fish the Boat Run, just down from Station.  I was not at all surprised when later Lou shared that he witnessed the driver land a nice fish.  I opted to try the runs upstream  and started at Surveyor, a beautiful run on the bend looking up the canyon from Mott Bridge.  I moved quickly through the head of the run where there is a big eddy  and down to the meat of the run stretching out casts.  I had switched from a dry fly and switch rod to fish this deep heavy water and while it felt good to reach out with a big cast and big fly I held little hope.  While I saw  a couple fish come from the run a few weeks ago, the most I had managed in his run was to raise a fish more than ten years ago.  As the current slowed a bit towards the tail of the run and my concern grew that my large fly and heavy sink tip would find bottom, my line stopped.  I perhaps set more to clear the line from the bottom than with any hope of hooking a fish.   To my surprise a fish burst upstream and cartwheeled high in the air.  By the size of it I thought I may have hooked one of the many Chinook that hold in this deep run.  To my delight it was a large summer Steelhead, three feet or perhaps more of wild buck, the largest fish for me on the Umpqua, or as Lou helped me realize as we headed for an early breakfast, the largest for me outside of Alaska.  Lou phoned the following morning to let me know despite perfect conditions he was only able to find a rainbow trout and a little cutthroat the remainder of the day.  However Sunday morning he managed to hook seven fish and land three.   A magical weekend in a magical setting.

One Comment

  1. Ross Morrison
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Craig, awesome fish. I was going to wait until we got home, but after reading your account, I had to respond. Your fish from Surveyor is truly a trophy. It turns out my largest NU steelhead came from Surveyor and it measured just 30″. I can relate to the thrill of the jumping chrome in that pool with the Mott Bridge in the background. I note the black and blue thing in its mouth; I turns out that my go to fly in BC has been a black and blue Predator. I’d like to see your fly one day.

    Let’s talk soon, Ross

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