The Umpqua River system is home to a dozen species of popular sport fish that range from the big chinook salmon to the tiny silver smelt. Visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website (www.dfw.state.or.us) for additional information on the Umpqua.
Spring chinook enter the North Umpqua River March–June, work their way upstream during July and August, and spawn September–October. Fall chinook are mainly found in the warmer South Umpqua River. Their migration starts in midsummer and peaks in September when the rains increase water flow and lower the river’s temperature. The best fishing for summer steelhead on the North Umpqua is June–October; the fish spawn January–March. This fish averages only 6–8 pounds, but it will make you think you are trying to reel in a chinook by the way it struggles.
Coho salmon, alias “silvers,” are found throughout the Umpqua River system. The coho life cycle lasts about three years. Each spends its first year in freshwater, heads for the ocean to spend 1–2 years, and then returns to freshwater to spawn. The adults weigh an average of seven pounds each. This fishery has had some lean years recently.
You’ll find rainbow trout in nearly all rivers and streams of the Umpqua River system, where the water is relatively cool and gravel bars are clean. This is the river’s most common game fish, mainly because the rivers, lakes, and streams of the Umpqua are routinely seeded with over 100,000 legal-size (eight inches or longer) rainbows. The fishing season opens in April, with the best fishing in early summer when the fish are actively feeding.
Stewart Park Golf Course (1005 Stewart Park Dr., 541/672-4592) charges $16 for 9 holes, $26 for 18 holes; add a few extra dollars on weekends. In addition to power carts, a lighted driving range, and rental golf clubs, a complete pro shop offers lessons and any peripherals you may need.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel