The action has been pretty decent, particularly for my fishing partners!
Dad and I hit the South Umpqua first, primarily for some fishing spot recon. We fished a little and caught a few small smallmouth bass, but it wasn’t very good, which wasn’t a surprise considering the sun was high and bright and temperatures were in the low 90s.
Interesting thing about the rivers around here, and something I’d forgotten, is that much of the river bank is public property. So there are many areas where you can pull off the road pretty much drive right to the water. Easy access equates to more fishing pressure (and litter).
Another thing, at least on the South Umpqua, is the heavy amount of gold dredging. Nothing like the roar of a two-stroke dredge motor to add to ambiance! A dredge was blasting at the first spot we pulled off, so we just moved on.
The next afternoon we hit one of dad’s favorite smallmouth holes. The weather was cloudy and the wind was blowing pretty well, creating a nice chop so we decided to start with topwater lures. Dad put on a Zara Spook and I used a soft plastic buzz frog. The frogs bust them in Virginia, but I rolled only one fish. Dad, on the other hand, was ripping them, including this nice 2-pounder.
I relented and put on a Spook and caught a couple OK fish. When the topwater bite waned (after we’d worked the hole pretty hard) I put a 3-inch Berkley Power Minnow on a drop shot rig and had a lot of fun catching 9- to 12-inchers.
On Thursday, Greg and I headed south to Medford to connect with my buddy Mark Freeman, the outdoors and environment reporter for the Medford Mail-Tribune. We fished the Rogue River from Mark’s drift boat.
We mainly fished with plugs, running them down current from the front of the boat.
I had hosted Freeman and some other buddies on a float on the New River in 2007, and the fishing was horrendous. The worst I’ve ever seen on the New. Mark wrote about it, and I felt a little stung that he made fun of what is supposed to be our best smallmouth river. (He also pointed out the terrible litter problem on the New, which was a fair assessment, unfortunately.)
I joked with Mark that I hoped we would get skunked so we would be even.
Well, not far into the trip Greg’s rod bucked. A few minutes later I was sliding the net under this 22-pound king salmon. So much for getting even.
Regular readers know I am a big fan of Rebel Wee Craws for Virginia trout fishing. Turns out the larger versions are great steelhead lures. I ran one all day and it produced our only steelhead strike. The 5-pounder hit about three hours into the trip. It jumped and tail-walked like crazy after I stuck it. Ten seconds later, it was gone. Ah, crankbaits. Tough to keep fish buttoned on those things.
I did catch a few salmon – 5-inch smolts.
The river was beautiful, and even though I didn’t get a steelhead or salmon it was a great day on the water.
We’re doing the tourist thing on the Oregon coast today. As soon as my laptop picks up the wi-fi signal at Fisherman’s Grotto here in Charleston, I hope to get this post filed.