Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Steamboaters

Bend Pool By Rob Elam
Marty and I first fished the Umqua River together in 2004, it was my first time on the Umpqua and I fell in love with the solitude and beauty of the river.  In 2006 after getting hitched on the Deschutes, we drove to the Umpqua for our honeymoon at the Steamboat Inn. 

Ironically, Marty had booked a guide trip for us with Bob Burruss.  Bob was a retired high school football coach that had the enthusiasm and fire or a football coach. We met him early in the morning to secure our first run. As we waited for dawn, we drank coffee and talked fishing. When it was time to rig the rods he noticed I had a double hand and asked, wouldn't you rather cast a single hand. I declined saying "I was much better at casting a two handed rod." Bob was filled with information about exactly where to stand and on what rock. He was also full Umpqua stories and rapid-fire advice to help build confidence and that's what you need to catch an Umpqua River summer steelhead.  

At the end of that first fishless day, Bob suggested a good place for us to start the next morning and wished us well. This is just one of the many great experience we have had over the years fishing the Umpqua. The river produces passionate souls that have a profound commitment to preserving the culture of the fly-water and the wild steelhead. 
Mark swings a fly by Marty Sheppard

If you've fished the North Umpqua then you should know about the Steamboaters. 

"The Steamboaters, organized in 1966. Don Haines suggested the idea for a group "to preserve the natural resources of the North Umpqua" to Colonel Jim Hayden as they traveled together to the Federation of Fly Fishers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Knouses and Andersons seconded the idea at a gathering the next day and Stan Knouse suggested the name Steamboaters "because of its association with the inn where many of its members stay and because of the significance of Steamboat Creek, which enters the North Umpqua at the Station Hole." 

Clarence Gordon was made an honorary member of the Steamboaters, as was Roderick Haig-Brown, the eminent writer from Campbell River, British Columbia. Although he fished the river only once, Haig-Brown later wrote:
“The North Umpqua remains one of the best and most beautiful of summer steelhead streams, and it has the tremendous asset of several miles of water restricted to 'fly only.' The strong flow of bright water is broken up by ledge rock outcrops,the pools are deep and long and hold fish well, and the fish themselves are usually responsive and in excellent shape.”

The Steamboaters are pleased to announce their annual winter social on Saturday April 4, 2015. 

I'm honored to be the guest speaker, presenting on  “Community, Conservation and the Next Generation.”  Educating the next generation of fly anglers and conservationists through mentor ship and community involvement. 

The event will be held, once again, at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute on the campus of Umpqua Community College. The doors will open at 5:00 with appetizers and a wine and beer cash bar, dinner will start at 6:30, and the program will begin at 7:30. Find out more here.