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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
It's almost summer steelheading time.
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The Wall

Posted by Mark Saturday, August 23, 2014 0 comments

 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.

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We love this river and these fish. Come on out and help to keep their habitat pristine

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.  

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Tag Team

Posted by Mark Monday, July 14, 2014 0 comments

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.

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Skate it

Posted by Mark Monday, July 7, 2014 3 comments

Fellow North Umpqua guide and good friend Tony Wratney getting it done.

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Thanks for Supporting Catch and Release

Posted by Mark Tuesday, June 10, 2014 0 comments

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.

 Treat Them Kind!

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We Need Your Voice!

Posted by Mark Friday, May 23, 2014 0 comments

This is not over yet! We have to stand up one last time to ensure that a wild kill on steelhead does not happen on the Umpqua River. Please attend this meeting in Salem to help support wild fish and stop a potential last minute addition of wild kill on steelhead to the Coastal Management Plan. This is the big one! If you can't attend please write letters to the commission voicing your support of a no kill on wild fish in the Umpqua Drainage.

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  

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 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!


ODFW Home | Driving Directions | Employee Directory | Social Media | | File Formats4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE :: Salem, OR 97302 :: Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339] Do you have a question or comment for ODFW? Contact ODFW's Public Service Representative a…

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Battle Royal

Posted by Mark Friday, May 2, 2014 1 comments


 Parting shot (* note red fly being thrown right as the shot was taken)

I never really got to tell this story and it is worth telling.......

I had the opportunity to fish with Marty Sheppard on the Sandy recently. The last few years April Fools day has been our day. A time to reconnect and a time for Marty to unwind a little from a grueling winter schedule and get in some much needed fishing time for himself. It's always a fun day on the river and we always seem to find a fish or two. It is an unhurried and mellow vibe as Marty is always gracious with his knowledge of the river and how to fish it.This trip was no different but stood out as special because of one particular encounter.

Another good friend of Marty's was along for the ride today and we all had a great time blabbing about various topics from skiing to fishing to families as we made our way to the put in to drop the boat. Laughing and hearing great stories was the goal of the day. Fishing was the glue that held us all together and kept those stories and laughter coming all day. The fish would do whatever the fish do.....

There was no one at the ramp and it was just starting to get light. Water levels and clarity were perfect and we all had high but realistic hopes that we would find a fish on this day.

Marty is so gracious with his friends that he often tries to put us in the best water all day, that's cool but I want him to fish as well and we have to argue with him to get him to fish sometimes. I love to watch  people fish their own rivers and learn valuable lessons every time I do. Both Steve and I were gonna make sure that Marty got to fish and insisted that he fish first water. That first run produced a solid yank for Marty but his hook had become fouled somehow during the cast and drift and he reeled in to find the hook cleanly around the eyes of the hook rendering the fly useless for hooking purposes. Hey it happens!  I followed behind with another fly to see if we could get another sniff, no such luck.

I think we fished one more run and then came to a weird tail out that is hard to fish. It looked perfect and Steve and I both told Marty "You fish it Marty, it's all you! Marty did his usual, "Are you sure?" We both said "Yes! We're sure! Now get your butt out there and fish it"! Marty says sheepishly, "OK, if you guys insist"

He steps out of the boat and into a spot perched away from the shore. A difficult and deep wade at this water level.  Steve rows the boat into the shore and we watch Marty from there masterfully cast and swing line, getting closer and closer to the bucket. Steve and I are watching from shore and can see he is just about into the prime holding water. Marty sends a lazer beam out and towards the far reaches of the tail out and Steve and I look at each other, Steve says " That was the one right there" Sometimes you just know when you are about to see someone hook up. Both of us standing on the bank had that feeling, I can't explain it but it only comes around every so often. The fly swings slowly, we watch Marty and his every movement waiting for any indication that a fish has struck his fly. The fly swings into the juice of the bucket, nothing has happened, Marty stands like a statue. Then slowly, ever so slowly we see Marty's rod hand move slightly as he slowly directs the rod to the bank. Still nothing happens and no sign from Marty that anything is actually happening.( As we would learn later, Marty said the fish was just chewing on the fly forever but would not turn with it)  With the kind of patience that only comes with experience, Marty waits for that eternity to pass before the fish has turned on the fly and hooks himself. This was not a situation where striking the fish was gonna work. The line was tight, there was a bit of weight but he could tell that the fish was swimming and chewing on the fly and a quick set would have been the wrong move.  After what seemed like a minute we finally see the rod go vertical as he raises the rod. He had a ton of line out and at the initial hookup it was hard to see what size of fish he had encountered. We saw a disturbance in the tail as the fish broke water. Still looking for clues as to the size of the fish we watch as Marty tries to keep a tight line on this fish as it is well aware of it's predicament now. Then we see the long low arc of the rod reaching to the cork, flat lining, indicating a large fish. The big, slow throbs of the rod confirm to us that this is no ordinary fish. We watched from the bank as the fish decides to find another gear and leave the playing field, holding temporarily at the end of the tail before plunging downstream into the rapids below.

We yell to Marty " You need us to come get ya ?" already knowing the answer as he is in a closeout wading position and will be swimming if he tries to go down or towards shore. We jump in the boat and Steve gets us out to Marty and I grab the rod from him as he scrambles aboard on the fly as we have no anchor. Steve gets the boat to shore and we pull it in. Marty jumps out and resumes fighting the fish. The fish is pissed off and taking line, finding refuge in the various deep pockets between the rapids. Chasing this fish will be hard as wading is sketchy at best and there is a lot of stream side vegetation to maneuver around. We all lend a hand passing the rod back and forth in and through willows and alders, wading nipple deep in the fast pocket water and over logs as we follow the fish downstream. All of us have had the rod and felt the power of this fish and it is awesome! We finally get through the worst of the bank obstructions and Marty grabs the rod to make a stand in a small bay. It's now or never and Marty pressures the fish as hard as he dares testing the limits of his tackle and terminal gear. The fish finally tires slightly and it's time to get a look at this thing. Multiple times the fish is right out in front of us and then gives a couple tail wags and is gone into the depths yet again. Marty puts the wood to the fish one last time in an effort to make something happen, he's fighting this fish hard. Really the whole fight from the time we picked him up in the boat to this point way down the bank has lasted  maybe 5-6 minutes. The fish rolls onto it's side and we get to see the true girth of the fish. An amazing wild buck in the upper teens, possibly into the low 20lb mark. Just a mammoth specimen that is perfect in every way. Steve grabs the line and slowly the fish comes to hand. He goes to grab the tail and it is just too big to get a hold of securely. The fish wags that tail a couple times and Steve valiantly hangs onto it with one hand like a bull rider trying to hang on for the full 8 seconds. He gets to about 4 seconds and the fish gives a mighty flip of his powerful body and Steve is bucked off and left in the dust. With that final tail flip the hook pops free and the fish heads for the deep.

We are all left awed and humbled to have seen a wild fish of this magnificence. It was Marty's first fish of the year and it was a beauty. As we slowly walked back to the boat reliving the battle,  Marty says " Aren't you guys glad ya brought me?" He's joking of course as we were his guests but this is Marty's humor. This was no doubt probably followed by a slap or a shoulder punch from both Steve and I but yes Marty, we were glad, so glad we brought you!

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