The Oregon Coast Revisited

In March of 2014, my usual fishing partner, Rusty, and I were joined by his son, Caleb, and my father. We searched the Oregon Coast for winter steelhead. Starting at the Nestucca we worked our way south checking the various river systems as we went. The Alsea, the Smith, The Elk and the Sixes, and finally the Umpqua. The fishing never materialized, and it maybe that we should have stuck it out, however anglers that I spoke to later who had stayed on the Nestucca did not find any fish and reported a lot of pressure.

For me this trip has grown in importance, because it was my one and only chance to share my passion for steelhead and steelhead rivers with my father, who unexpectedly died a year later. All of our travel from river to river, offered he and I lots of time of sitting and talking. We always enjoyed windshield time, and we often travelled together for deer hunting adventures in the fall, and though I was luke warm on hunting at best, our hours of drive time made me want to go. Now the views and experience of driving the Oregon coast, made for a memorable backdrop for a time together.

On an early day of our trip my dad and I hiked into a pool sitting at the end of a beaver-tail. The clear, blue, green cascading down from upstream, and the white water rolling for hundreds of yards below made the pool look too promising not to hold a fish, but if they were there, we never found them. but cast after cast our hearts beat a little faster as first he and then I worked our way through the short run. feeling like a fish would strike at any moment.

We worked through this run twice. We then hiked back out, so we could meet up with Rusty and Caleb. We stopped on our way to admire the scenery. Coastal rivers have a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty.

On one beautiful coastal river we caught cutthroat just a few mile from salt. It was on this same river, a ways up a dirt road that we met one of the most unique characters, a memorable man with wild stories to tell. We bought him a beer at the general store/ tavern and listened as he spun tales of his time in this unique land.

He had spent years along this coastal river and much of his story left my, and Caleb's jaw hanging.

Our journey brought us eventually to the Umpqua River. I had promised everyone that we would have the most wonderful breakfasts at the Steamboat Inn and wouldn't even have to remove our waders or boots. Unfortunately, the Inn was closed, and my promise was broken. But we had some great camping on the river. My dad was very impressed with Rusty and Caleb's competence in setting a camp, he mentioned it to me several times. My dad grew up camping and always yearned for the opportunity spend nights in the woods.

The Umpqua was high and hardly had any other anglers on it, but we found enjoyment swinging the holy water near the inn, and some other runs on the lower river. We didn't get any thing, but we had a good time. at the end of our second day on the Umpqua, Rusty and Caleb continued their journey south and towards home, while my dad and I headed north to Portland and the Clackamas.

Once we arrived at the Clackamas we fished a few runs. By this time in the trip we were pretty tired and were ready for some down time, we checked into our hotel and ordered a pizza. Then we turned on HBO and watched a Harry Potter movie. I cant explain why that last part was so great, but it was. My dad told me several times how much he had enjoyed the trip despite the lack of fish. I was planning a summer steelhead trip for us in the fall of 2015, but that just didn't work out.

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