Fishing the North Umpqua is at once both ultimately challenging and therapeutically simple.
During the friendly summer months, one needs only a pair of cleats, a 10-foot rod for an 8- or 9-weight floating line, a 10-foot leader and a couple of flies. During the summer months, the down-and-across presentation with a wet fly or a waking fly is the preferred tactic.
In the winter months, substitute a sink tip or 30-foot sinking, shooting head for the floating line and keep an eye on the river levels.
Looking for a place to stay? The Steamboat Inn is perched on a bluff with a commanding view of the North Umpqua River. It features streamside cabins, hideaway cottages, river suites, campwater houses and a fine dining restaurant. Go to their web site.
Listed in order as you work downstream.
The Camp Water
The camp water is the most revered stretch of steelhead water in the United States. Each pool has seen thousands of the world's most determined anglers give their best over the years.
24. SURVEYOR This pool got its name from a surveying crew that camped on the beach here while the highway was being built. It is the pool that you see as you look upstream from the Mott Bridge.
22. SAWTOOTH This pool gets its name from the jagged ledge structures that line both sides of the pool. It is the pool that you see as you look downstream from the Mott Bridge.
21. HAYDEN'S RUN This pool is named after Umpqua legend and charter Steamboater, the late Colonel Hayden.
20. SWEETHEART This Pool is named after someone's sweetheart.
18. THE STATION This pool is named for the long-ago-demolished ranger station, which was situated such that this pool was right out its back door.
17. UPPER BOAT This is the uppermost part of the Boat Pool.
16. LOWER BOAT The Boat Pool got its name back when Clarence Gordon operated the the "North Umpqua Lodge" on the south side of the river. He would boat his guests across the river here.
14-15. KITCHEN The Kitchen also got its name back when Clarence Gordon operated the the "North Umpqua Lodge" on the south side of the river. This pool was right outside his kitchen.
13. FIGHTING HOLE The fighting hole is a small bucket below the tailout of the kitchen. It got its name from the propensity of fish hooked in the kitchen to run into the fighting hole. The scrambling wade between the kitchen and the fighting is a notorious soaker.
10-12. MOTT RUN Mott run, or "the Mott" as it is affectionately known, consists of upper, middle and lower Mott. It's a channel cut through the basalt.
9. GLORY HOLE Glory is the pool at the bottom of the Mott just above the falls. If your fish leaves the Glory hole you'd best be a strong swimmer.
(NOT ON MAP) THE FALLS
Steamboat to Wright Creek
Below are the pools that make up the Steamboat to Wright Creek run.
6-7. MAPLE RIDGE This pool is located right at the Steamboat Inn and is named for the ridge on which the Inn is built.
5. JEANNE'S POOL This pool is located just downstream from the Steamboat Inn and is named after Jeanne Moore, who along with her husband Frank, built and ran the Inn for many years. Jeanne is an avid botanist and has worked to identify and preserve many rare plant species in the Umpqua drainage.
2-3. TAKAHASHI This pool is named after Zane Grey's camp cook, who travelled with him for many years. Takahashi cleared the streamside brush from the pool and reportedly was the first of their group to hook a fish here. There is an upper and lower, separated by a significant rapid. Unfortunately, upper Takahashi has changed significantly over the years and is not as productive as it used to be. Many still fish it as a matter of habit, courtesy and good memories.
1. KNOUSE POOL This pool is named after the late Stan Knouse who fished the North Umpqua for many years. If you look carefully, you will find a plaque here mounted on a streamside rock in his memory. Stan was an exceptional fly tyer and you can see some of his work on the wall in the Steamboat Inn.
The following pools are not on the map at the top of the page.
LEDGES This pool gets its name from its epic structure. It has a unique spine that runs up the middle of its lower section.
TREE POOL This pool got its name from a long-gone streamside tree that was very distinctive. Long-time Umpqua fisherman, the late Don Zupan, hooked his last Umpqua steelhead here. It jumped 11 times and was witnessed!
FISHER CREEK This pool is at the mouth of Fisher Creek which is the site of Zane Grey's camp. There is a sign and a foot bridge on the trail side of the river.
POT HOLE This pool is sometimes, mistakenly, called Pot of Gold. When you see it you will know it got its name. It is not much more than a pothole, but has produced some of the most heart-stopping dry-fly takes on the river.
WILLIAM'S CREEK This pool is at the mouth of William's creek and consists of an upper and a lower.
BEND POOL This pool is located on a large sweeping bend in the river. It is very long with a nice channel in the tailout and a sandy beach.
LOG POOL The Log Pool was named for a huge log that used to reside on the bank here. This pool can put your chest waders to the test!
DISCOVERY Discovery consists of an upper and lower. It is riffly and requires a roll cast from under the alders.
SPLIT ROCK Named for the large split in the basalt formation in the center of the pool, it is a deep pool but the fish will come all the way to the surface!
LORI'S RUN This pool is riffly and the fish, after being hooked, usually leave the pool running downstream. There are some exposed rocks around which they will likely wrap your fly line.
BURNHAM Named after the late Fred Burnham who was one of the early Umpqua masters. He showed Zane Grey how to fish the Umpqua. This pool consists of an upper and a lower. Lower Burnham requires a treacherous wade to reach the preferred casting spot and has been the site of many epic swims.
LEANING TREE Named for the tree that used to lean into the pool, this pool is a good spot to practice your roll casting.
PULPIT This pool has some very interesting rock formations along the bank. One of the basalt formations rises and appears as a stone pulpit.
ARCHIE CREEK Consisting of upper Archie creek and lower Archie creek this is one of the most popular stretches of the river. Upper Archie has a classic Umpqua glassy tailout. Lower Archie is more challenging, before the bank side alders grew up people tested their skills from "the rock" from which it is a 103 foot cast to the spine in the tail in front of which the fish suspend in the water column.
OKIE POOL Named for a long-time visitor to the Steamboat Inn. This is an innocuous-looking slow stretch of the river.
REEF Here a ledge stretches nearly across the river, resembling in shape an oceanic reef.
COLEMAN Here there is a large rock island that is a chest deep wade, or a swim in higher flow, from which you can cast to a glassy tail out that is split in half by a large rock structure.
McDONALD This pool gets its name from the McDonald homestead site that can be reached via a 3-mile hike up McDonald trail. This pool tests your roll-casting and fish-spotting skills.
COUGAR CREEK This pool gets its name from the creek that enters from the "river left" bank.
BOGUS Named for Bogus creek this is a rafting put in site and fish holder that is located across the highway from Bogus campground.
TEN PULL Named for where the fish hold in the winter: a shooting head and ten pulls out.
RATTLESNAKE This pools has a classic, glassy tail-out and smooth currents, where you can get a perfect drift through the bucket.
WRIGHT CREEK Named for Wright creek, which comes in from "river left." This is a shallow tail-out that is best covered by a well-executed "switch" cast.
MILLIONAIRE'S (Sometimes called 'my pool') It is unclear where this pool got its name. It's a swirly affair that tends to hold fish only in low water