North Umpqua advice - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2008, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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North Umpqua advice

I'm planning on heading to the N. Umpqua around mid to late February and wondered if anyone who has fished it that time of year has advice on tips and flies. Do you fish big heavy flies (like intruder style flies or leaches) on type 6 and 8 tips like you would in BC? I've heard that for the summer run fish people tend to fish smaller flies like a size 4 or 6 green butt skunk, so I was hoping people could give me some advice on what to use for the winter run. I've read a lot about the river, but never fished it. Definitely looking forward to it!!!

Thanks a lot for any info!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2008, 08:33 AM
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Check with Joe Howell at the Blue Heron Fly Shop. He can steer you in the right direction. Also it is vital to check the river flow that time of year.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2008, 04:03 PM
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I didn't make it down to the Umpqua last summer but i know that Joe Howell was wanting to retire and was planning on 2007 being his last year so i don't think he is in business any longer...

as far as the winter fishing goes i think your B.C. winter gear will be just fine. the fish are pretty grabby so it's a matter of having a nice slow swing not a matter of dredging the bottom. All the Umpqua winter fish I have hooked have been off a type 6 150 grain sink tip. heavier tips i don't think are necessary...

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2008, 06:23 PM
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Post Joe Howell on N Umpqua winter steelhead

Hot patterns in the winter include black leech type patterns. Green Butt Skunks in the larger sizes are good too.

"Often you'll want brighter colors in the winter," Howell said.

"Oranges, pinks. But I like to tell people it's a black/blue/purple type river. Toss in some yellow and some orange, all the better. "

"But that's not to say that a gray Muddler won't work, because it does, even though that's a summer pattern."

Howell said in the winter under heavier flows, go with large flies, including 1/0, 2/0 and 3/0 flies (summer sizes are usually 2s and 4s and sometimes 1/0s).

For leaders, Howell said the colder and dirtier the water, the shorter the leader. In clear, low water he'll fish an 8-foot leader.

ESPN - OREGON (March 2005): Can North Umpqua winter run match last year's?

"Let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees" T.J. Jackson
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2008, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. I was going to call Joe Howell's shop, but I guess I'll have to make sure he's still open! Sounds like pretty standard steelhead flies should work and I won't need the leadcore all the time. Now I'll just hope for clear water around then. Does the river clear up quickly or will it be blown out for a week after a rain? And what would you consider fishable flows up there?

thanks again for any advice!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 12:03 AM
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Post more from Joe on the NU

Be flexible. "That's because the weather is so changeable. So someone driving from a distance to get here might arrive to find it 3 to 4 feet out of its banks, while only a few days before they were told it was in great shape."

Most of the winter flyrodding action is from Steamboat down to Rock Creek, and it's all on foot.

"Yes, it's treacherous and difficult wading," said Howell.

"It's all bedrock. There's very little in the way of gravel bars. The water is fast, there are deep troughs, and you usually have to take a path that's circuitous to get out to a ledge."

The challenges of such water tend to keep a lot of people away. But wading isn't a hard and fast requirement in winter like it is in summer.

"Fish can be close in to the edges," Howell said.

"It's not a very big river, it's not real wide. It's medium-size."

Most winter anglers therefore stick to sink-tips, and shooting heads are good. Spey rods are also appearing more and more on the river.

"The summer fish will go 6 to 8 pounds," Howell said.

"The winter fish will go 7 to 9. But there's a good mix of 12- to 15-pounders that always show up. That size is not uncommon."

ESPN 2005

"Let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees" T.J. Jackson
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 10:27 AM
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Mike

the river can blow out during heavy rains but it is usually clear above steamboat creek and the winter fish are spread out more than the summer fish so the upper river is just as good as the lower river.

it's winter steelhead fishing though.. the river could blow out for a week just as any other river can it all just depends on the weather...

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 02:32 PM
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Winter fishing

What Rob said about winter flows is correct.

There are many spots above Steamboat that are good winter spots.

The key to fishing any of it during the winter is to be able to be there when the flows not so high to make it impractical to fish with a fly or even to be wading in that river. So, like the others who posted, the key is to stay on top of the river and the weather.

While Joe might have been thinking of retiring, I am not at sure that he has. Best bet is to call his shop number. He will help you on whether or not the river is fishable.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Report on Trip

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice. I went up there with my dad and a friend. Two of us were fishing spey rods and my dad was fishing a 10' 9-weight. The river seemed a bit high, but visibility was around 6' and there were quite a lot of people fishing. We fished the fly only section from just above rock creek to about 25 miles upriver. The camp water looked really nice, but did seem to be flowing pretty fast. I can see why that's a popular summer spot! We saw one guy land a fish and it turns out he had caught a fish every day for the last three. He was fishing pretty heavy lines (15' of t-14) and flies and it seemed like he really knew the river. All the rest of us were just driving around and pulling into places that didn't have a car already in them.

Finally, on the last day my dad hooked and landed a beautiful 33" buck above the camp water. Although I wish we had all caught one, that was a great end to the trip. He caught it on a blue/purple leachy looking fly fishing a type 8 tip. All in all, we broke one rod (me of course), fell in a few times (also me) and got a fish (not me!). Good trip!

Mike
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2008, 03:48 PM
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