Spent a great day with the family on the river yesterday. It didn't start out so well though. We pulled into a great run at first light and much to my disappointment, there was garbage everywhere. Some idiot had left a couple bags of household garbage in the parking lot and the racoons/bears or whatever had it spread everywhere. The garbage can was not even full and the bags would have easily fit inside. ARRRRRGH!!!!! I sat there for a second totally bummed and knew what I had to do. I couldn't stand the look of it anymore and knew it would get blown around during the day to come. I started to pick up stuff and gather it to throw it away. Dirty diapers, crawdad tails, old fast food bags, it was gnarly! Anyway Debi and the kids jumped in and in short order we all had the place looking good again, and we all felt better. It surely looked better.
Five minutes later after rigging up and putting waders on, we walked down to the run. Debi made about 20 casts and had a good grab. Two casts later she is fast into an aerobatic fish that hit and fought like a freight train. We touched two more fish before the day was over and we left around 4PM
I don't really believe in karma and all that but I do believe in trying to do the right thing when I see something wrong. It was a great opportunity to pass the legacy of stewardship of the North Umpqua along to my kids.They get it......
I revisited a place the other day that I have not fished in years. It is a place that brings back so many good memories, some of fish and some of the good friends I fished with there. There are literally dozens of these places on the river, places I used to fish that go in and out of favor for years then get worked back into the routine. You would think that on a river as easy to access as the North Umpqua, there are no more hidden gems. You would be wrong. There is no way to fish all the paces I know on the river every year. It's just not possible. It takes me years sometimes to go back and revisit the old haunts and slowly add them one by one back into the rotation. In doing so other runs must be left alone for awhile as I try to fish these rediscovered runs again consistently for a season or two. It involves really spending the time to get to know these old friends again and finding the key that unlocked their secrets so long ago.
Many of these places are above Steamboat Creek where the river has always held a bit more mystery. The river drops away from the road and trails and pullouts are harder to find. Surprisingly, many of these places are in the lower fly water below Steamboat. Places that people are often very close to and may fish occasionally but in general are seldom fished. I see it year after year, people get locked into the old tried and tested spots and overlook spots that are right under their noses. The tried and tested spots,yes they work, but when fish are pressured, finding those smaller runs and pockets that seldom see a fly are what separates those that catch fish from those that do not.
So get out there and revisit some of those places you once fished. Approach them with confidence and in doing so you can make a river that may at times seem routine and boring, new again. As you explore, trust me,you will continue to find new water and new ways to approach that water.
As many of you long time North Umpqua fisherman know, every day is river clean up day. I know many of you clean up garbage along the river as a normal course of action during your time here on the river. This is great so keep it up. Luckily, garbage is not an extreme problem on the river but I for one do not like to see any in the fly water and always pick up stuff that other inconsiderate people have left behind.That being said, the Steamboaters organize a formal river clean up one day every year to really address and clean up in a major way. This day is coming up soon and any and all that want to be a part can attend and help.
This year the clean up will begin at 9:30 AM at the Bogus Creek pull out. We meet gather into pairs and spread out for a couple hours and pick up trash etc. After that, a BBQ will commence at the Susan Creek Day use area. This is for fishers and non-fishers alike. It will be a good chance to learn a bit about the Steamboaters and what they do.I urge you to support the Steamboaters as they are doing great things for the fish and river and are a great group. For more info go to the Steamboaters page and learn more.
Had a great evening session with a good friend the other night. We fished a few pools and rose and hooked fish in several of them. The highlight was a tag team approach to a fish I had risen twice to a waking fly. I switched to a smaller wet fly and the fish would have nothing to do with it. My buddy had on a similar dry fly and was in a slightly lower angle to the fish than I was so I had him put his pattern through. His cast to the fish was a bit more straight across and this provided a little different look to the fish. His first cast was right on the money and the fish hammered it with a vicious surface grab. The fish took line and headed for the tail and came off after a short battle. Super cool all the same and it goes to show that this game can be a team sport if you are willing to try different things and are OK with someone else getting the hook up.
Fellow North Umpqua guide and good friend Tony Wratney getting it done.
Thanks all for the letters and comments and attending the meetings
for the Coastal Management Plan. The CMP passed with flying colors.
There will be no killing of wild fish on the Umpqua drainage for a
period of 12 years. However, there may be still unrest over this issue
in the next few years and we need to stay vigilant and pay attention to
what's going on with the public opinion.
On another note there are regulations in place which still allow wild fish to be killed on several other rivers, I believe the MF, and SF Coquille and Sixes are still allowing wild steelhead harvest. I would like to see the harvest of wild fish stopped on those rivers as well. The Umpqua was a big hurdle to jump but these smaller rivers also need protecting. I am surprised that no one rallied for those rivers at any of the the many meetings that were held. They kind of slipped through the cracks.Maybe we can continue to pressure those areas for Catch and Release for all wild fish. 12 years is too long to experiment with such a fragile population.
Address letters to: Att: Commissioners
Oregon Department of Fish And Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE Salem Or 97302
The Fish & Wildlife Commission will adopt the Coastal Management Plan for salmon & steelhead at their meeting on June 6 in Salem (Note that DOFW has a new location in Salem, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive; map and driving directions on ODFW’s website http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/directions/).
Although it’s not included in the CMP, we expect a large vocal contingent to attend requesting the plan be amended to include harvest of wild winter steelhead.
Please attend if you can to support the current no-kill regulation. If you can’t attend, please send an email email@example.com or letter to the Commission opposing any harvest of wild steelhead on the Umpqua River.
Your message can be very simple. You can also include any of the following issues to support your position, but it’s important to get the basic message across: No harvest of wild steelhead in the Umpqua Basin.
1. This is the last, best wild steelhead run in the United States, a world-famous fishery characterized by uniquely large fish as recognized in the CMP. Sound management requires caution with such a resource.
2. ODFW relies on their 2004 Biological Assessment to support harvest. Based on admittedly sketchy data, they estimate a run of 30,000 - 35,000 wild steelhead with over half coming from mainstem Umpqua River tributaries. Neither ODFW nor BLM can identify the tributaries with sufficient high quality rearing habitat to produce the half-million smolts needed for this estimated return (and it likely doesn’t exist).
3. Pending Federal legislation would transfer management of O&C lands currently administered by BLM to state control, under the provisions of Oregon's Forest Practices Act. This will result in additional deterioration of fish habitat in mainstem Umpqua River tributaries
4. Climate change will have a disproportionately high impact on the upper Umpqua Basin for both flow levels and temperatures. As the only Cascade Mountains rivers in the CMP, the Umpqua headwaters depend on snowpack for summer flows, and snowpack is diminishing - note the recent news articles about record low snowpack in Crater Lake, the source for much of the North Umpqua summertime flows.
5. Given the budgetary problems ODFW is facing, they cannot identify the current state of wild steelhead or adequately monitor impacts from harvest combined with these other factors. This isn't the time to increase pressure on the best wild run in the US.
Thanks For Your Support!