The main Umpqua includes two forks.The main includes the North Umpqua North Umpqua River
and South Umpqua South Umpqua River
and is known as a river for all seasons. This is a big river when it empties into the Pacfic ocean outside of Reedsport and just west of Highway 101. The State Highway 38 east and west runs along side the Main Umpqua. The beauty of this river is that every type of fishing is available at one time or another. The Main section is where the Salmon, Steelhead, and Strippers enter depending on the time of the year.
Source: Fishing in Oregon by Madelynne Diness Sheehan.
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A handsome and productive river, second longest on the Oregon Coast. It flows over 100 miles from its forks, 10 miles northwest of Roseburg, to Winchester Bay. Once most famous for its runs of salmon, steelhead, and searun cutthroat, it is now also acknowledged to have one of the finest smallmouth bass fisheries in America. It also hosts a very large shad run. Trout fishing is currently catch-and-release only, to protect searun cutthroat, but mainstem tributaries (such as Paradise, Weatherly, Yellow, and Elk creeks) offer trout harvest opportunities during the late May to September 15 season. See Fishing in Oregon, Tenth Edition for a detailed map of access and fishing sites.
Hwy. 38 follows the river from Reedsport east about 36 miles to Elkton. Gravel and paved county roads follow the river closely to the town of Umpqua, where paved roads continue to The Forks. The lower Umpqua meanders through relatively flat country, bordered by a mix of BLM timber and private agricultural land. The river varies in width from 100 to 200 yards, dropping only 400 ft. in the 100 miles from Roseburg to the bay.
Smallmouth are found throughout the mainstem all the way to The Forks. Look for them wherever there are pools out of the main current, at the edge of the current, or in slackwater off the main channel.
Smallmouth are most easily accessed from Elkton to Scott Creek Boat Ramp, and from the town of Umpqua to Yellow Creek Boat Ramp. The most popular boat fisheries are out of Umpqua (standard motor boats can be used in this low-gradient stretch of the river), from James Wood Boat Ramp to Osprey Boat Ramp (a 6 to 8-hour drift), from Osprey to Ferguson (3 hours), and from Yellow Creek to Hutchison Wayside (3 hours).There's good fishing between Yellow Creek and Elkton, but access is limited due to private property. There's bank access at each of the boat ramps and at two bridges (Elkton and Tyee) that cross the mainstem. Walk and fish below the high water mark to avoid private property conflicts. There are also bank fishing opportunities between Scottsburg and Umpqua Wayside.
Smallmouth fishing begins in late May and continues to October with peak catches in July and August. In early season, anglers use worms and grubs (both real and plastic), adding spinners, plugs, topwater crankbaits, and flies to their repertoire as the water warms. Look for smallmouth in back eddies and along ledges, drop-offs, rocky points, and submerged wood.
Spring chinook, both hatchery and wild, are in the mainstem Umpqua from mid-March to July, with greatest numbers in April and May. Fall chinook move through the mainstem in August and September, but most are caught in the estuary up to Reedsport. Both wild and hatchery chinook are available for harvest.
These days, adipose finclipped coho are stocked only in the South Umpqua. Fishing for them takes place almost exclusively in the mainstem after the first fall rains, providing a fishery until the season closes December 31. By the time regulations would allow coho fishing on the South Umpqua itself, most coho there are dark and have already scooted above the deadline.
Most salmon fishing is from anchored driftboats, with anglers running spinners or herring. Early season fishing for chinook is often good right below Jimmy Creek, the first riffle above Scottsburg Bridge. Anglers launch at Scottsburg Park and motor up about 3 miles to the riffle, or launch at Scott Creek Boat Ramp and drift down. Scott Creek Ramp is also used to access Sawyer Rapids about a mile upriver. Sawyer is a series of rapids with pools below and a large pool above, accessed from a ramp 1/2 mile farther up Hwy. 38. There's a new city boat ramp in Elkton. Bank anglers can fish the Sawyer Rapids upper pool from Bunch Bar, a day-use park about 5 miles west of Elkton, or at Sawyer Rapids RV Park (for a small fee). Other popular spring chinook bank access points are at Elkton Bridge, Yellow Creek Boat Ramp, and Umpqua Boat Ramp.
Steelhead are enthusiastically fished on the mainstem, which welcomes wild summer and winter fish as well as hatchery summer steelhead bound for the North Umpqua, and hatchery winter steelhead bound for the South Umpqua. About half the summer steelhead in the mainstem are finclipped hatchery stock. The winter run is considerably larger than the summer and includes good numbers of both hatchery and wild fish. At this time, there are harvest opportunities for both hatchery and wild steelhead. Check current regulations for an update and specifics.
Summer steelhead are fished from May through August, with peak catches in June and July. The most popular boat ramps for summer steelhead are Yellow Creek, Umpqua, and The Forks. Bank anglers find best access above Yellow Creek, where there is some BLM land along the river. Look for turn-outs on Bullock Rd. downstream from Tyee.
Winter steelhead begin entering the river in November, but good fishing begins in late December with peak catches in February and March. The earliest winter steelhead catches are made between Scottsburg and Elkton. Below Sawyer Rapids there's a good bank fishery at the rv park. The Elkton area offers good bank access off Mehl Canyon Rd. behind the high school, and there is good drift boat fishing throughout that stretch. The most popular day drifts are from Elkton RV Park to Sawyer Rapids (both charge a small fee to launch and take out), Yellow Creek Boat Ramp to Hutchison Wayside (a.k.a. The Nine Hole, an undeveloped ramp at mile post 9 on Hwy. 138w), Umpqua to James Wood Boat Ramp, and The Forks to Umpqua. The standard method is side drifting from a drift boat.
For chinook and steelhead fishing, consider the river to be blown out of shape when the gage at Elkton reads 15 ft. or higher. Contact the National Weather Service for a current gage reading. See Appendix.
Shad enter the river in May and June from Scottsburg to the forks. Shad to 4 pounds are ho-hum, and there are many 5-pounders. Sawyer Rapids, Yellow Creek Boat Ramp, Umpqua, and The Forks are good shad spots. Yellow Creek attracts the largest number of bank anglers, but any of the winter steelhead drifts can be fished for shad in season. Shad anglers use light tackle with shad darts, shad flies, or jigs.
The only public campground on the mainstem is Tyee County Park on Bullock Rd., directly across from Yellow Creek There are private rv parks on Hwy. 138.
Maddy Sheehan is the author and publisher of "Fishing in Oregon (Tenth Edition)," the state's best-known guidebook. She adapted this overview article especially for BestFishingInOregon.com.
Taken from the Register Guard 9/3/2008
"Bass live year around in the Main Umpqua.— Katelyn Rolen’s right finger releases its grip on the lower lip of a 13-inch smallmouth bass, sending the fish tumbling back into the Umpqua River as she reaches for her clicker.
“Number 34,” says Katelyn, 12, as she clicks the golf scorekeeper that guide Todd Hannah has in his driftboat for just such occasions. “I need this to keep score.”
And it isn’t even lunch time yet.
“She’s been doing that all morning,” says Dalton Rolen, her grandfather, as he waits for the next smallmouth to wiggle his rod tip.
Catching and releasing bushels of bass comes easily to Katelyn and other Umpqua summer anglers who are taking advantage of one of the West’s top bass fisheries in this storied steelhead stream.
The one-time illegal alien that over the decades has turned into the Umpqua’s favorite son of summer, bass populations have exploded among salmon and steelhead to create a celebrated summer fishery for anglers who need few skills to rack up huge catches.
During warm August days, triple-digit catches are the norm for those plying the Umpqua’s lazy waters, where thousands of fish ranging from a few inches to 8 pounds await to pounce on any offering.
Everything from bass flies or surface lures to lightly weighted plastic worms bounced off the bottom will catch fish.
Katelyn doesn’t even need to learn how to cast a spinning reel to find smallmouth.
All she needs to do is drop her small jig overboard, let it wiggle along the Umpqua’s ledgy rock bottom and keep that clicker within reach.
“That’s the secret — find the bottom, reel once, shake it a little bit and, bang, you got a fish,” Hannah says.
Many Umpqua traditionalists believed their salmon and steelhead fisheries might disappear 44 years ago when the voracious predators first reared their hungry mouths in the Umpqua, a steelhead stream made famous by the likes of Zane Grey.
No one knows for sure how smallmouth first got in the river. But once they did, the non-native invaders found the warm summer confines of the mainstem and the South Umpqua much to their liking.
Worry spread among Umpqua faithful and state fishery biologists, who feared the smallmouth would overrun the basin and displace salmon and trout.
However, that hasn’t happened.
Hannah’s father, the late Denny Hannah, is believed to be the first guide to turn the bass’s presence into a positive experience.
He set up his first smallmouth camp near Elkton in 1980, shepherding the first few anglers down the lazy Umpqua in driftboats.
By that decade’s end, smallmouth had become a summer staple, earning the Umpqua a nod from Sports Afield as one of the country’s premier smallmouth fisheries.
The Rolens, residents of San Jose, Calif., discovered the Umpqua after friends of Katelyn’s father, Dave Rolen, talked up the fishery after a July outing around Elkton west of Interstate 5.
“I heard of the fish counts and the drift down the river sounded relaxing,” says Dave Rolen, a refrigeration technician.
“The fishing’s fun. And just the scenery is phenomenal.”
The mountains and swirling osprey, however, do little to impress Katelyn like the 16-inch smallmouth she holds by the lip.
“I’m at 50,” she says, beaming.
Hannah implores her to give No. 50 a kiss. Katelyn gives the universal “yuk” face and drops her catch.
Hannah barely touches the oars before Dalton Rolen pulls a 10-inch smallmouth over the driftboat’s transom.
Copyright © 2008 — The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Near the city of Roseburg is where the Main Umpqua splits into the North and South Umpqua. In the summer,the Small Mouth Bass are abundant from Scottsburg up thru the South Umpqua.
The North Umpqua is easy to access as it leaves Roseburg on East Highway 138 to the mountain and lakes in the area. There are homes on the river from Reedsport to the fish hatchery on the North Umpqua.
The river turns south out of the community of Elkton,the river carved an expansive valley area with numerous farms and ranchettes. Because of the mild climate that is conducive to raising grapes, plants and animals. North from Elkton the river narrows and there are roads and homes on both sides of the river. Most of the homes in this section are on larger tracts of land. The majority of homes on the market are priced around $400,000 on average.See my statistics on the Home page.The larger pieces of land will effect price as will home quality.
The Main Umpqua splits into the North and South Umpqua close to Roseburg and that is where you will find city homes on the river.The homes near the golf course and outskirts run from $350,000 and over $1,000,000. In town they will run less because the South Fork isn't quite as desireable.Roseburg is Douglas county seat.Population is just under 18,000 people. Elevation is 459 feet.Roseburg is a lumber community and also has a VA hospital and many other nice amenties.
The North Umpqua continues on Highway 138 through rolling hills to Oregon's rainforest and mountains, emerald waters and mountain lakes.The homes in this area are nice and run from $300,000 and up. The size of land and house will determine a lot. Between Idlywild Park and Steamboat Springs is the confluence of Rock Creek which has great fishing also: Rock Creek The South Umpqua flows from the south near I-5 to Winston, home of the Wildlife Safari,a great place to drive and see animals from around the world on over 600 acres from your car. Canyonville and the Seven Feathers Casino and hotel are a fun place to stay and play.South Umpqua becomes smaller as you drive east.The river slows in the summer and is good for swimming and bass fishing. The town of Winston is located near the river. Canyonville, where Seven Feathers Resort and Casino is close to the river on I-5. Wild Life Safari is a must see in the Winston area. Homes south of Roseburg will generally run less than on the Main or North Fork. The prices vary but $350,000 will buy a nice home.There are a lot of farms with acreage as well. See my statistics on whats happening on the river on my Home Page.