North Umpqua River Steelhead

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North Umpqua River Steelhead By Dean Finnerty
"Big greasy North Umpqua tail-outs just beg for long lines and skated driy flies".

Southern Oregon’s North Umpqua River is one of the most cherished and revered streams in the world.  Avid fly fishermen from around the globe wade its runs and swing skated dry flies across its tailouts every summer.  It is considered by many knowledgeable and well-traveled anglers to be one of the most challenging fisheries anywhere.  In fact, it’s commonly referred to as the “Graduate School of Steelhead Fly Fishing”.  If you can consistently catch steelhead on this river, you can catch them anywhere. 

Aside from being very steeped in tradition, part of the North Umpqua’s allure is its challenging nature.  Deep wades along steep basalt reefs, which have been polished smooth by thousands of years of river water running over them.  Long casts to far reaching lies that hold fish consistently year after year.  Exceptionally powerful native steelhead that at times, are as aggressive as any fish can all add to the North’s mystique.  Another guide that I occasionally work with on the North Umpqua

"world famous blues musician Michael Quinn with a skated-up North Umpqua native, his first dry fly caught steelhead"

and I were recently asked by our clients for the day to describe the river to them.  My colleague simply replied that the North Umpqua is a very “athletic river”.  I thought that response was as accurate a description for this lovely river as any. There are over 120 named pools in the 31-mile

Renowned Artist Gene Costanza and Dean Finnerty with a dry fly caught native Umpqua steelhead.

stretch known as the “fly water”.  This section begins just above the confluence of Rock Creek near Idelyd Park, Oregon and extends up river to Soda Springs Dam.  These pools are accessed by foot, either down steep trails from the roadside along Hwy. 138 or from the North Umpqua Trail located along the south side of the river.  Once you reach the water, you’re usually faced with long casts and deep wades over very slick surfaces and heavy currents.  Very athletic indeed!  The North Umpqua offers fly anglers

year around opportunities for steelhead.  There are really only two months of the year that I won’t book trips on the North Umpqua.  In May & June, the winter steelhead have expended their last energy or returned to the Ocean. Nor have summer steelhead have yet to  appear.  They usually arrive in the fly water in decent numbers by July. The summer fishery continues until the first big fall rains arrive, usually November, and raise the rivers and tributary streams where the majority of summer fish spawn.  The winter steelhead begin arriving

A nearly year around fishery, an angler on the Umpqua in the winter...

in December and  the run peaks in late February and March.  Anyone interested in booking a trip with Dean, please contact him via his website at www.5riversguideservice.com or call him anytime at (541) 942-2535 or (541) 731-9649
(Continued in 08/26/07 Newsletter).


Basic Fly Fishing / Beginning - Intermediate:

Ron Lauzon, the fly fishing instructor.

These in-depth classes include many opportunities for hands-on learning with experienced fishing guide/instructor Ron Lauzon.  Learn to use the fly rod, fly line and body to develop a strong fly fishing foundation with basic concepts. Progress to gain the skills and presentation techniques needed to become a worthy fly fishier. Learn the secrets and techniques that enable you  to go out and catch the big one (or tell one whale of a tale about the one that got away).
Ron is a professional fly-casting instructor and guide,

FFF Certified (Certified by The Federation of Flyfishers).
Four classes, with one on-the-water field session, equipment provided. 

Item Description Price To Top
CLASS-0912 Wed. 6-8 p.m. , classes: 9/5,12,19 - Outing 2 1/2 hrs. on the river, Sat. 9/22 $75 per student

CLASS-0926 Wed. 6-8 p.m., classes: 9/26,10/3,10 -
Outing 2 1/2 hrs. on the river, Sat.10/13.
$75 per student

CLASS-1017 Wed. 6-8 p.m., classes: 10/17,24,31 - 
Outing 2 1/2 hrs. on the river, Sat. 11/3.
$75 per student

CLASS-1107 Wed. 6-8 p.m., classes: 11/7,14,21 -
Outing 2 1/2 hrs. on the river, Sat. 12/1.
$75 per student


Summer Steelhead/Salmon Run Predictions and Up-dates!

Clackacraft Northwest 17' in front of our camp, 07/23/02.

Mamma's got another one.

Steelhead Fishing is a key part of the activity around The Fly Fishing Shop.  Fishing forays are made weekly to keep us up-to-date with first hand proprietary information.  The best part is that John, Jeff, Roger, Josh, Marcy, Patty and I have to collect much of this information in person. Well that's just the way it is.  It's dirty dangerous work, but someone has to do it.

Summer Steelhead/Salmon Run Predictions and Up-dates, by River!

Clackamas River Water conditions are good.  Still fair numbers of bright summer steelhead.  Rains in early August brought new fish. Fishing has been good for skilled anglers.  Expect a very large run of Coho Salmon September/October. 
Clear Water River Reports of double digit catches of A-run steelhead.  The Clearwater is much colder than the Snake River and is drawing many fish headed for other rivers.  Fishing will improve through September/October.  Best period for fly fishing October 1-15.  
Deschutes River Steelhead are in the river in good numbers.  The best concentration of fish are from Shearar's Falls to the mouth of the river, although steelhead have been caught as far up river and South Junction..  Seasonal water conditions should be favorable.  White River glacial run-off is always the wild card, but has been running clear throughout the season.
Grand Rhonde River No steelhead activity at present.  Will start fishing in October/November.  Best period for fly fishing is October 15 to November 15.  
Hood River River There are still good numbers of fairly bright steelhead stacked up in the mile below Power Dale Dam.  The rest of the river from from the dam to the mouth has sparser numbers of fish. The problem is water color from glacial silt.  Only on the coolest days is the river fishable. Best period for fly fishing May/June & October/November.
John Day River Not much steelhead activity yet.  A very few fish are at the mouth of the river. The John Day Arm is very warm. Predictions of run size and water conditions are favorable for fall fishing.  Best period for fly fishing October/November. 
Klickitat River There are fair numbers of very bright steelhead.  The run will continue to build through the summer.  The problem is the Klick is in and out with glacial turbidity.  When it's clear it can be great.  Most predictable period for fly fishing is October.  Cool weather periods could turn the river "on".
North Santiam River Water conditions are good.  Still good numbers of bright summer steelhead.  Fishing has been good for anglers willing to cover a lot of water.  Fishes well through October.
North Umpqua River Good numbers of bright fish are scattered in the fly-only water now.  This run will build throughout the summer. Seasonal water conditions should be favorable.   Best fishing period is August through October.
Rogue River A few half-pounders in the lower river now. This run will build throughout the summer. Adult steelhead run is starting now.  Seasonal water conditions should be favorable.  Best fishing period is August through October.
Sandy River There are still good numbers of fairly bright steelhead stacked up below the mouth of Cedar Creek.  The rest of the river from from the dam to the mouth has sparser numbers of fish. The problem is water color from glacial silt.  Only on the coolest days is the river fishable. Best period for fly fishing October through June. Expect a very large run of Coho Salmon September/October. 

The Fly Fishing Shop has one of the most divers and extensive collections 
of steelhead flies to be found anywhere!


Fly du Jour
Hook: TMC 7999
Thread: Red 8/0
Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel
Butt: Fluorescent Pink Edge Bright
Body:
Purple Synthetic Dubbing
Rib: Flat Silver Mylar

Hackle: Purple Saddle
Wing:  White Calf Tail,
            Pearl Pink Krystal Flash
Head:  Red
Common Sizes: This fly is most often used in sizes four and six in rivers like The Deschutes, John Day, Grand Rhonde and Clear Water
.

Fly du Jour

  The "Fly du Jour" is proven on all sizes of rivers and a wide range of water temperatures and conditions.  It is one of the have-to-have flies no matter where you fish steelhead along the Pacific Rim. The Fly du Jour may be the best of all Deschutes summer steelhead flies for floating line fishing the majority of the season.  Ninety percent of the season it is my point fly of choice.  Just another purple and pink fly?  Maybe.  There are many.  Purple and pink is a popular theme on the Deschutes with such patterns as Rick's Revenge and the Freight Train being the most popular examples.  The Fly du Jour is different because it uses a revolutionary material called Edge Bright for the pink butt.  Edge Bright is a material that gathers light through its broad side and magnifies it through its narrow edge. It is wrapped on the fly so that the rear edge of every wrap is exposed.  Viewed from the rear this butt literally glows.  The effect is further enhanced with the butt surrounded by a halo of dark purple materials.  The pattern was an instant success when it was introduced in 1990.  In the space of a couple of weeks two different groups of clients that didn't know each other called it the Fly du Jour (fly of the day), and that is how it got it's name.

Item Description Size Price To Top
20575-02 Fly du Jour 2 3 for $5.95

20575-04 Fly du Jour 4 3 for $5.95


Edge Bright
Popularized by Idaho fly tier, LeRoy Hyatt, in the Dean River Lantern series, Edge Bright is a stretchy plastic material that gathers light through its broad side and magnifies it through its narrow edge. It is sold in 10" X 3" sheets that are about 1/64th inch thick. The sheet is cut into narrow strips. It is wrapped on the fly so that the rear edge of every wrap is exposed.  Viewed from the rear, this butt literally glows. It gives the same effect as a fiber optic cable when viewed from an exposed end.  There is little doubt that a fly tied in this manner becomes easier for fish to see when they are viewing it from the rear.
The easiest way to prepare Edge Bright is to lay the sheet on a clean pane of glass. Smooth it out and it will tend to stick to the glass.  Use a metal straight-edge and slice with a fresh razor blade.  Width of strips vary with the size of the fly and the whim of the tier.  Most common sizes are about 1/8" to 3/16".  Narrower strips will take more wraps to cover a distance on the hook shank, so they build a larger diameter, quicker tapered body.  If you stretch the material as you wrap it, the strip will become thinner.  This may be undesirable as the thicker strips transmit more light.
The light gathering ability of Edge Bright is enhanced when it is under-wrapped with silver tinsel.  Trim the end of your strip like the one just below center of the picture at left.  Tie it to the hook as you see it in the picture.  The end of the strip is narrowed to just slightly larger than the wire in the hook it will be tied to.  8/0 Uni Thread works best.  The narrow end of the strip should form the foundation under the finished Edge Bright butt or body, so its length should be adjusted accordingly.  Attach #14 silver Mylar in front of this foundation and wrap smoothly all the way back and then all of the way forward.  Wrap the Edge Bright over this foundation so that each wrap over laps the one under it with the rear edge of each wrap exposed. 
Tying off Edge Bright can be tricky.  However thread tends to dig into it and stay in place. 

Fly Fisher's Art. Edge Bright comes in 4-colors.
Item Description Color Price To Top
EB132 Edge Bright Fluo. Green $2.00

EB137 Edge Bright Fluo. Orange $2.00

EB138 Edge Bright Fluo. Pink $2.00

EB139 Edge Bright Fluo. Red $2.00


The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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