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Mykiss Vobiscum
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I will be fishing the N Umpqua for the first time later this week. I have the choice of bringing my 11' 5wt Anderson switch rod or 13'6" 8/9 Meiser MKS. Any thoughts? While I've read the books (i.e. Shewey) and mags, and wade with my anadramous friends lots in WA and annually on the Deschutes, any other suggestions on anything related to the N Umpqua is appreciated.:)
Mykiss vobiscum...
 

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Tight line takes
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829 Posts
Bring um both

The water has cooled significantly as of late and the chances for surface activity are waning. Still a good chance at fish with floating lines, but a light tip with your favorite offering may be more productive at this time of year. Once the water starts to cool down, you just aren't going to pull them out of 10ft of water to smash a skater. 2 or 3ft of water maybe.

If you can only bring one, make it the Meiser.

Mark
 

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loco alto!
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3,023 Posts
5 wt rods are too light to recommend for the North Umpqua's wild steelhead. I used to fish 8 wt speys there, now I fish a 7 wt, and I still encounter some fish that are difficult to handle. The fish don't have tons of room to run and tire themselves, so often the fight is a bar room brawl, and you need some rod strength to "stand up" on heavy fish in tight quarters. I'll use a 5 wt spey on some steelhead waters in Oregon, but the NU is not one of them.
 

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57 Posts
8wt for sure

the north has some very large, powerful fish that when hooked can really punish you. you need a rod with which you can really put the wood to them in a hurry. Stout tippets of 12 to 14 lb are wise to use for the larger late run fish that show up in fall. 8 wt spey with backbone can make the difference on 30+ in. fish on the U.
 

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Mykiss Vobiscum
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks...and are any of you lawyers?

Thanks very much for setting me straight on rod selection; however, I am hoping that one of you can tell me if I am understanding the regs correctly. In the month of October I cannot use sink tips but can use weighted flies: yes? Also, how is fishing this time of year (i.e. qualitative expectations in terms of fish and anglers)?
Humbly yours....
 

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loco alto!
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3,023 Posts
sinktips and weighted flies are legal in October. Unless conditions change dramatically, expect cold water temps (low 40's) and difficult angling. On the bright side, the wading will be just as easy as any other summer or fall month, and the poison oak leaves are sporting a sexy crimson color
 

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Mykiss Vobiscum
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Turn Me on!

Steve,
Easy and sexy...sounds excellent!
Bob
 

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180 Posts
For a first timer on the North Umpqua I can not stress enough the importance of (1) studded wading boots (mandatory) and (2) a wading staff (highly recommended). Even with these items swimming is a possibility, without them it is guarenteed. Nothing ruins a day like swimming in the 42 degree water.

Tight lines to ya
 

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Mykiss Vobiscum
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wet Cat...

OK, so I got the message and had already planned to bring my studded boots and wading staff (neither of which I ever use but own). But now, in addition to water wings I'm headed out to buy cleat overboots!
Thanks for the 'heads up'...
 

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Mykiss Vobiscum
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Trip Report

Let me begin with two comments:
(1) this is the most beautiful steelhead river in the NW (my apologies to others who hold a different viewpoint);
(2) my apologies to all who will trash me as they think the N Umpqua is the absolutely best steelhead river around (and my admiration, as everyone should be so lucky as to have a river they feel that way about).
That said, here goes.
Historic: 10. Duh...
Beauty: 10.
Access: 10+. This may be the most accessible steelhead river to the wading angler in the NW. Between the road on one side, with it's dozens of pull outs, and the N Umpqua Trail on the other, and a number of bridges thrown in, it's a delightful change from the deadly mix of private property and limited fly water on many rivers.
Wading: Hard to give a number to as it will vary based upon experience and skill, but as everyone has said before me, it's not easy wading. I found wading required that I constantly pay attention to each step...and at the same time, I've been in slimier places with more awkward boulders; nonetheless, there are plenty of significant drops and the ledgerock is slick, angled, sloping, folded--hell, it's tricky. I got to wade in clear water so it was all very managable. Wading the same water with 3' viz. as a first timer I probably would have drowned. I wore studded boots and brought a staff--but never used the staff. Many holes had a rock, or a few, that served as casting stations, after solving the puzzle of getting to them. It was a fun challenge to cover as much water as possible, as well as possible, while so constrained.
Comraderie: 10. With water limited to flyfishers and etiquette (mostly) adhered to it was a most enyoyable experience.
Variety: 10+. The N Umpqua requires that you think through each hole and how to fish it. You don't just wade in at the top, cast, and step down swinging a fly through the hole. Each hole is a delightful puzzle requiring flexibility and a variety of approaches.
Return On Investment: 5. This was my only disappointment--and I put it here simply as a piece of information to inform the expectations of others who are going to visit for the first time as I did. I read some articles and Shewey's book ahead of time. They were filled with history, admonitions about difficult wading, maps of Camp Water etc. I've never fished another river where the runs were so short. I could usually cover a hole well in 20-30 minutes (even a few up to 50 minutes). Mostly this was due to contraints in casting stations. I had local knowledge to guide me after I arrived so I knew it wasn't my newness (i.e. I was missing some hidden casting station that would have extended my fishing in a hole). No doubt a local would get more from each run (my ego isn't so big that I think I can figure it all out the first time on a river, or even close) but probably not way more. I'm more accustomed to 1-1 1/2 hrs to swing a fly through a hole and the result was spending more time getting to holes and driving than fishing--but as I said, the good news was there were many holes to move to.
All said, this was a fabulous river to visit and I'm glad after all of these years I finally did. And for those of you who are locals--you are very lucky: thanks for sharing.
 
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