Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Umpqua River In
Oregon (Main Stem)
The North Umpqua River and the South Umpqua River
both rise in the Southern Oregon Cascades. Each one
flows for over a hundred miles before joining together to
form the Main Stem of the Umpqua River.
The Main Stem of the Umpqua River, also called the
Lower Section of the Umpqua, flows for 111 miles in a
northwest direction through the Oregon Coast Range
and empties into the Pacific Ocean at Winchester Bay.
Fly fishing the Umpqua River can be very diverse and
the opportunities depends on the section of the river you
The North Umpqua River begins at Maidu Lake in the Mt.
Thelsen Wilderness and flows through the Umpqua
National Forest. Steamboat Creek and Little River join in
on the flow along with several other smaller tributaries on
its way to meet the South Umpqua River. Fly fishing the
North Umpqua River is considered the ultimate challenge
by many anglers.
The North Umpqua River is known for its salmon and
steelhead fishing World-wide. The river also has sea-run
cutthroat. Summer steelhead season generally runs from
June to November. The winter steelhead season and the
sea-run cutthroat season extends from February to April.
The North Umpqua River is one of only a few rivers
where it's possible to catch steelhead on a dry fly. The
summer run steelhead provide anglers that opportunity.
Fly fishing the Umpqua River using a dry fly has to be
the ultimate undertaking for steelhead.
The South Umpqua River starts near the Rouge-Umpqua
Divide and flows for 115 miles to meet the North Umpqua
at Roseburg. It's warmer than the North Umpqua and has
less flow, especially during the summer months.
Fly fishing the South Umpqua River for steelhead,
striped bass and smallmouth bass is all very popular. Its
major tributary is Cow Creek. Te river has a good run of
Chinook Salmon but it's illegal to catch them. The South
Umpqua Steelhead season is from December though the
first part of March.
Fly fishing the Main Stem of the Umpqua River offers a
very diverse fishing opportunity. It has both a winter and
summer steelhead run and both a spring and fall salmon
The season varies by species and by section - North,
South and Main Stem. Check current regulations
Early Spring fishing for steelhead can be very good. The
steelhead season peaks in March.
Summertime provides the least opportunities for Umpqua
River steelhead. Summer steelhead start entering the
Umpqua River in mid-June.
Fall is the best time for summer run steelhead.
Wintertime is the best time to catch large Umpqua River
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating,
floating 5 or 6 weight fly line for cutts
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths, 0X-5X in
71/2 to 9 foot lengths for cutts.
10# and 12# / 0X to 5X for cutts
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
rods, and 5 or 6 weight rods for cutts
For 7 to 10 weight lines, or for 4 to 5
weight lines for cutts
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Umpqua River Fishing Report:
11/28/13 Reminder that the mainstem is
closed to wild steelhead. Adipose fin-clipped
steelhead fishing is open year-round. North
Umpqua doing better.
12/03 /13 Our local contact reporting hatchery
steelhead are showing up in the South
Umpqua and anglers are catching a few.
12/29/13 Slow fishing due to the low
water levels. Rain is needed to turn
Fishing Report Updated 03/04/17
(Bottom Of Page)
01/04/14 The weather has improved
and warmer but rain is still badly
needed. Some rain is in the forecast
01/11/14 It should rain today and
tomorrow and improve the fishing. Still
only a few fish are being caught.
01/18/14 According to our local
contact, more fish are in the river due
to recent rain but otherwise, no reports
01/25/14 The South Umpqua is
producing plenty of hatchery fish but the
lower (mainstem) Umpqua isn't doing so
02/01/14 Still no good reports even
though the water rose some after the
recent rain. Our local contact reported
only a very few wild fish were caught and
released and that is what he heard, not
02/08/14 Again, not any good reports of
catches but thing will change within the
next few days. Melting snow and rain will
help the fishing conditions big time.
02/15/14 Recent rain has brought the
stream levels up big time and anglers
will have to wait until the water
subsides. Fishing should improve.
02/22/14 No reports of fish being caught.
Water levels are still high.
03/01/14 Levels dropped and fish were
caught this past week but much more
rain is in the forecast. Be sure to check
03/08/14 Stream levels are still high.
03/15/14 The stream levels have
subsided and conditions are much better.
03/22/14 Customers reporting good
catches throughout the system using all
types of different methods, depending on
03/29/14 Stream is flowing high and
rising. Lots of rain is in the forecast for
the coming week.
04/05/14 Spring Chinook fishing is very
spotty so far but the levels are in better
shape. The South Umpqua is still
producing hatchery steelhead.
04/12/14 Mainstream Umpqua is beginning
to produce some big steelhead. Levels are
currently in good shape.
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04/19/14 Springers are arriving in good
numbers. Stream flows are currently low.
04/26/14 Remember, the South Umpqua
will be closed to fishing the 30th of April.
05/03/14 At this time, we recommend
fishing the North Umpqua.
05/10/14 Please try the North Umpqua
Stream levels are currently high but
should be falling after today.
05/17/14 The North Umpqua is where
you should be fishing at this time.
05/24/14 We are still recommending
the North Umpqua. Trout season is
open as of today in the North,
Mainstem and South.
05/31/14 Some anglers are fishing for
trout in the South Umpqua.
09/27/14 We will resume the reports
when the action begins again.
10/10/14 There are a few hatchery coho
moving through the system as well as fall
chinook. Wild Coho season is closed.
There are a few Chinook being caught
between Osprey and River Forks. The
mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild
steelhead but open year-round for
adipose fin-clipped steelhead. It's mostly
a wild steelhead fishery.
10/18/14 No report from the past week
but conditions should get better with
more rain coming.
10/25/14 Some catch and release
coho but that's about it.
11/08/14 The salmon season is winding
down and about over
12/07/14 Not much in the main stem or
the South Umpqua. Most seasons are
closed right now.
12/14/14 Dido above. Nothing of
importance at this time
12/20/14 There have been a few more
winger steelhead come into the river but are
being caught in numbers of importance.
12/27/14 Plenty of fish have moved in the
South Umpqua due to the high water. Let
us hear from you.
01/03/15 We received two good reports
from the South Umpqua and none from the
mainstem. More rain is in the forecast.
01/10/15 Another good south Umpqua report.
The water levels are back near normal.
01/17/15 No customer reports from last
week but conditions remain good.
01/24/15 One customer reported catching
a few hatchery steelhead this past week.
01/31/15 We didn't receive any reports from
anyone fishing but conditions are very good.
02/07/15 Stream levels are up and still
rising. More rain expected through Tuesday.
02/21/15 Stream levels are down below
normal some and two good reports of C and
R came in the past week from customers.
03/07/15 Spring chinook should be arriving.
The lower water levels have improved the
03/28/15 No reports from anyone fishing
this past week.
04/18/15 Spring Chinook fishing has begin.
05/13/15 Catch and release trout fishing is
open in the main stem and tributaries.
Condition are very good.
07/18/15 Fish the North Fork Umpqua for
summer run steelhead
08/08/15 The mainstem Umpqua, including
all tributaries, is closed to fishing for trout,
steelhead, and salmon from 2 P.M. until an
hour before sunrise except in tidewater.
08/15/15 The 2:00 PM closing doesn't
necessarily mean the fishing is bad. It is
done so anglers don't over stress the fish
fighting them when the water is too warm.
08/29/15 As I'm sure everyone knows, rain
in on the way and so is cooler weather.
Hopefully, restrictions will be dropped soon
and conditions greatly improved.
09/05/15 The 2:00 closings have been
lifted. Trout can be caught in the tributaries.
09/12/15 The lower temperatures we can
expect next week and the rain forecast
should bring a lot more fish in the river.
10/03/15 Smallmouth bass fishing remains
to the be hot fishing. Anglers are doing
good on top and subsurface flies.
10/10/15 Smallmouth bass continue to be
the best option for the main river. There are
some Chinook, and some tributary trout.
10/17/15 Trout fishing in the tributaries
remains very good. Smallmouth bass
fishing is still red hot.
10/31/15 Smallmouth bass are still the main
attraction. Conditions should being to
change this coming week. There is rain on
the way and more fish should be moving in.
11/14/15 It is raining but the fishing is still
slow to non-existent.
11/28/15 Rainfall amounts have been good
and winter steelhead will soon be entering
the main Umpqua. December starts it and
January if better. We will keep you informed.
12/05/15 Currently the river levels are still
below normal but they are headed up fast
and will probably continue to rise all week.
This should bring some steelhead in the river.
12/12/15 Completely blown out. It is at 37,000
cfs near Elkton. It will take a few days.
12/26/15 The winter steelhead fishing
should really be good soon with all the high
water. Of course, the levels are still very
high but are getting in better shape. The
cooler weather and less rain will help.
01/09/16 There are some hatchery
steelhead being caught by our customers.
A very few winter steelhead are just
starting to be caught.
01/16/16 Stream levels are good but we
didn't receive any reports from anyone
fishing this past week. Let us hear from you.
01/23/16 Lots of hatchery steelhead are
being caught in the Cleveland Rapids area.
Both swinging and nymphing techniques are
working good. Check out of Steelhead Flies.
02/13/16 Hatchery steelhead are being
caught in good numbers around the
Cleveland Raids area.
02/20/16 The river is blown out flowing at
23,100 cfs. You will have to watch the levels.
02/27/16 Hatchery steelhead being caught in
good numbers at Cleveland Rapids area.
03/19/16 A few spring Chinook have been
caught. Hatchery steelhead are still being
caught when the water levels permit.
03/26/16 High water levels continue to be a
problem but there are plenty of hatchery
steelhead in the river. Watch the levels and
fish when they recede some.
04/16/16 The upper main stream has been
producing some hatchery trout. Few winter
fish are being caught.
05/07/16 The trout fishing season is closed
until May 22nd. Spring Chinook are being
caught in good numbers in the Scottsburg to
Elkton section of the river.
05/21/16 The river opens for trout fishing
tomorrow. Conditions currently are very good.
05/28/16 The trout season got off to a good
start with lots of fish being caught. The stream
levels are good with little rain forecast.
06/11/16 The few anglers that are fishing the
main Umpqua for trout are catching a lot of
them. There are a lot of hatches going on and
conditions are very good.
06/18/16 Lots of Pale Morning duns are
hatching, along with a lot of Spotted sedge
caddis. Fish PMD nymphs in the mornings.
07/02/16 The fishing is pretty well limited to
catch and release trout. The tributaries are
also providing anglers some trout action.
07/23/16 Smallmouth bass fishing has been
okay the past two weeks. The water is low and
08/06/16 Stream levels are still low. Smallmouth
bass fishing is good with few anglers fishing for
08/13/16 The water is very warm and only a
few smallmouth are being caught.
08/20/16 Very warm water. Smallmouth bass
is doing good. Popping bugs and crayfish.
08/27/16 Stealth bombers, baby popping
frogs, and brown crayfish patterns are
catching plenty of smallmouth bass.
10/01/16 Smallmouth bass fishing is still very
good. Otherwise, the river is in between
10/22/16 There are lots of coho being
caught and a few Chinook. Smallmouth
bass fishing is still very good.
11/19/16 The upper river is turning out some
coho salmon. There are a few fin-clipped
steelhead being caught.
12/03/16 There are still a few coho being
caught up river as well as fin-clipped S.H.
12/10/16 The river is blown out, with flows at
40,400 cfs. It will be a few days before it is
12/24/16 Stream levels are still high but
dropping. Steelhead fishing should improve
when the levels do drop down.
01/07/17 There have been a very few
steelhead caught. It should continue to
improve with better levels. I know that's the
same as the last forecast but it is the situation.
01/14/17 Stream levels are still high and
only a few steelhead being caught. There's
more rain coming but warmer weather.
01/21/17 Still very high.
01/28/17 Stream levels are down and near
a normal level. Anglers should be able to
catch them, but we don't have any reports.
02/11/17 Good numbers of steelhead were
being caught but the stream is very high with
flows over 42,000 cfs. Fish as soon as it falls
back down low enough.
03/04/17 The river is still too high to fish. It is
falling, so watch the levels and fish when it
gets down some more.