Trip planned to Oregon this august 1st to 2nd week looking for good summer steelhead water. Staying in Bend for 3 nights then on Umpqua for 2 days, followed by south to north coast trip over 5 nights. Fishing time somewhat limited as this is family trip but we will have a few flyrods and gear. Which rivers are most productive and any particular stretches. Summer fly info would be helpful as well, hook size ? No I don't want your best personal hole but some help so I can help my kids catch a few nice fish. Anyone traveling east to Lake Erie or Ontario tribs I am more than happy to help out, as I put in many hours on these streams.
Summer steelhead will be in the Deschutes during your stay.
The lower Deschutes, that is, the lower four miles of river is easily accessible by hiking, and the the lower two miles of this stretch are reserved for bank angling. You want to fish early and late. I'd hike up the west side from the parking lot at Heritage Landing until I was well above the first rapid (Moody). If you do this, you should see a cable trolley crossing the river in the flat water above the rapid. There is good fly water for almost a mile upstream from this point. You'll see other anglers aplenty along here, but you should be able to find a place to fish easily enough.
This area is a long way from Bend, however; although you can reach the area driving north on Hwy 97.
Fly tackle would be six-to-eight weight rods with floating or sink-tip lines. Good flies at this time of year are the Green Butt Skunk, Street Walker, Freight Train and anything bright. No. 4 hooks would be fine.
If you are a Spey caster, you'll find your skill fits well with the Deschutes, as the banks are crowded with alders along most of the drifts.
Most anglers use a modification of greased line technique, casting a bit downstream from straight across, and mending as needed to keep the fly swimming across the current at a steady speed.
You didn't mention how old your kids are and what tackle they would be fishing with. Steelheading is challenging at the best of times. It's not uncommon (at all) to get royally skunked; so, if the kids are little, tire easily, or get bored when they're not catching anything, steelheading may be something you might want to postpone for them for a while. Near Bend, there's an abundance of trout fishing, both stream and lake, which might provide them a more exciting and satisfying time.
The North Fork of the Umpqua, of course, is a notorious summer steelhead stream. There's roughly forty miles of the river reserved for fly-fishing only, and people come from all over the West (and world, for that matter) to fish its storied pools. Good information on where and how to fish could be obtained from the local fly shops.
Even if you don't catch a fish, casting through the famous pools and runs near Steamboat is an experience I think you will really enjoy. The beauty and ambiance of this area will stay will with and your kids long after your short trip is over. Also -- practically all of the fishing is accessible by road.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for the great info. We are staying in Idleyld Park for 2 days and this may be my best chance to fish early and late as you remarked as we are staying right on the river. The kids are 8,11 and 13 so they have a little staying power and all fly fish. I have been reading about the North Umpqua and I like my spot just downstream from Rock Creek as well as the Steamboat area . I agree just to fish these waters will be great I sure would like to add a searun steelie to my photo album. Well thaks for the great info.
Given where your staying on the NU, a trip to Joe Howell's "Blue Herron" fly shop is a MUST ... just leave your wallet back at camp.:hihi: Joe's been at the same location for well OVER 20 years and is on a first name basis with each and every rock.
Don't know if your intent is to get as far down (south on I-5) as the Rogue, but that's my 'home waters.' If that's in your game plan, by August there are lots of summer runs, especially in the Grants Pass area. Lots of public access, etc.
If you'd like further info send me a e-mail/phone number and I'd be happy to give you a who, what, where, and when. One other phone number you'll want is the fish count figures from Gold Ray damn located just north of Medford. 800 472 2434
This will give you the numbers into just the top 30 miles of the Rogue.
Forgot to ask: are you 'camping,' or in a motor home? Ask, as there are a few great places to stay (Valley of the Rogue Park, etc.) that are right on the river and have good access to water worth fishing at their door-step.
While on the NU, take the family, drive 12 miles up Steamboat Creek, and stop at the Fishwatch trailer. Head down the path to look at the pool. By early August there will be hundreds of steelhead in the pool, protected by my friend and Fishwatcher Lee Spencer. Lee is a fascinating guy, and will educate all regarding the life histories and trials of NU steelhead, plus other interesting topics if you wander there. He's an archeologist by training, and if you are real nice and your kids are careful, he may show you one of his atlatls.
If, after the visit, you found the side trip worthwhile, consider a donation to the NU Foundation.
One other thing...don't have high hopes for numbers of fish. Be very pleased if you hook one in your time on the river. The river is tough and popular, and August can occasionally see some serious heat and warm water. It is an even more difficult river for kids, because the wading can be a serious challenge, and short stature can be a significant disadvantage. But is a great and beautiful river, and it is entirely possible that you and/or your kids will find success with the fish. Just don't go in with the illusion that because it is a great river you will find steelhead at the end of your line. Everybody that fishes it gets skunked on the NU at one time or another. Though I know the river pretty well, I still get skunked most of the time. Of course, I am very particular about where and how I fish (the people concentrate where the fish concentrate, and I head where the people aren't), but the point is that it is tough.
As I read this, I've added to my list of things to accomplish as an angler. I need to spend an afternoon chatting with Mr.Spencer at this pool.
All excellent advice above. I second stopping to visit Lee Spencer on Steamboat Creek. Lee is an amzing person and his knowledge about steelhead is second to none.
As mentioned above, to fish the most productive parts of the Deschutes (for steelhead) that time of year, will be a long haul from Bend (1-1/2 - 2 hours each way). In Bend, you are going to have tons of flyfishing opportunties for the kids within a one hour drive. You can head up to the high lakes on Century Drive, hit the upper Deschutes, Little Deschhutes, Fall River, and also hit the Crooked River which is a great river for beginners (note: the Crooked runs through the the desert so it may be very hot that time of year). I would also highly recommend at least one night or morning on the Metolius. It is a spring creek and very difficult to fish, but it is a river of jaw dropping beauty. I have fished all over the West, and to me the Metolious epitomizes the perfect trout stream. However, being a spring creek, the fishing can be very difficult and skunkings are common. It is located in a paradise of ponderosa pines and there is lots of hiking and exploring to do in the area for any non-fishers in the familly.
If you happen to swing through Portland, shoot me an e-mail. There are already summer steelhead in some of the rivers surrounding Portland.
As you probably know, August can be a tough month for fishing anywhere, but I think you will have a wonderful experience in Oregon that time of year. The diversity of the geography and fishing is amazing.
Now here's an understatement!
"It is an even more difficult river for kids, because the wading can be a serious challenge, and short stature can be a significant disadvantage."
The North Umpqua is THE toughest river to wade I've ever experienced. The bottom (in the main) is flat, highly pollished, HARD lava sheets. Regular studded boots will slide right off of it ... NO KIDDING:eek: . For footing you need something like 'Stream Cleats' that have soft alum. bars on the bottom. This WILL stick on the bottom where nothing else will.
The other thing is the optical qualities of the water itself. Again, like nothing I've ever seen before. You have NO idea how deep the water is in front of you so bring a wading staff. This will help you stay 'up-right' and give you a 'prob' to test the water debth before you take that extra (PLUNK:whoa: ) step forward.
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