New to Eugene area - reports of my first week/questions

yearofthescud
Hi all, long time lurker and first time poster. I just officially moved to the Eugene area, and have been starting to explore the myriad trout water this week. So far, I've been able to land some nice trout from the McKenzie (Hendricks and Deerhorn) and the Row River (fish pictured below - I wasn't quite sure if it's a rainbow or cutthroat, so thought I'd ask for your thoughts).

Have been scrolling past threads and found lots of useful info already!

A few questions...

-I wasn't super impressed with any of the Eugene/Springfield-area accesses to the McKenzie. Has anyone else had the same experiences? I know it's definitely a friendlier river to drift boats than wading, and I definitely don't mind driving a bit out of town, but if I'm missing something obvious in town it'd be nice to have a close-to-home option too.
-The Row is a beautiful stream, but definitely seems like not too much access beyond the two county parks by the falls above Dorena. Is the rest along there all private property, or is it possible to access more of the river?
-I've been itching to try the Middle Fork Willamette, and the USGS gauge indicates it's running higher than usual. Is it currently wadable, or am I better off focusing my energies elsewhere for the time being?
-I saw that the Siuslaw is closed to salmon angling this fall (for good reason), but is it closed to all fishing already? I'm thinking about trying for some sea-run cutthroats since it's so close by.
-Lastly, how concerned should I be about the fire currently burning east of Oakridge? It seems like there's a wealth of small streams worth fishing in the area, but I don't want to get too close for my own safety.

Thank you in advance, and hope to see some of you on the water!

 
NKlamerus
I'm a local bass angler so not much help for trout

But there is some access to the McKenzie from the parking lot at 42nd/Marcola, walk all the way down the trail and you'll find some bank access on large boulders, there's quite a hole there in the river which seems popular with the boaters

There's also homeless out there so don't leave anything laying around

By middle fork, are you referring to the run along the Mt Pisgah property?

Not sure what they are using for measuring but it's very low, some of the creek branches are almost dried up
 
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olshiftybiscuits
yearofthescud said:
Hi all, long time lurker and first time poster. I just officially moved to the Eugene area, and have been starting to explore the myriad trout water this week. So far, I've been able to land some nice trout from the McKenzie (Hendricks and Deerhorn) and the Row River (fish pictured below - I wasn't quite sure if it's a rainbow or cutthroat, so thought I'd ask for your thoughts).

Have been scrolling past threads and found lots of useful info already!

A few questions...

-I wasn't super impressed with any of the Eugene/Springfield-area accesses to the McKenzie. Has anyone else had the same experiences? I know it's definitely a friendlier river to drift boats than wading, and I definitely don't mind driving a bit out of town, but if I'm missing something obvious in town it'd be nice to have a close-to-home option too.
-The Row is a beautiful stream, but definitely seems like not too much access beyond the two county parks by the falls above Dorena. Is the rest along there all private property, or is it possible to access more of the river?
-I've been itching to try the Middle Fork Willamette, and the USGS gauge indicates it's running higher than usual. Is it currently wadable, or am I better off focusing my energies elsewhere for the time being?
-I saw that the Siuslaw is closed to salmon angling this fall (for good reason), but is it closed to all fishing already? I'm thinking about trying for some sea-run cutthroats since it's so close by.
-Lastly, how concerned should I be about the fire currently burning east of Oakridge? It seems like there's a wealth of small streams worth fishing in the area, but I don't want to get too close for my own safety.

Thank you in advance, and hope to see some of you on the water!

View attachment 639415


The Middle Fork Willamette is split into three sections. There’s the lower river, below Dexter Dam. This is your best option for walk and wade fishing in your own backyard. It’s a good wild trout stream that gives you a real shot at summer steelhead from now through November. You can fish it at pretty much any flows unless it’s blown out. Lots of soft water around the edges and miles of well worn trail access. Forget the McKenzie if you don’t have a drift boat, it’s just not worth your time.

Above Dexter Reservoir and Lookout Point Lake, you’re in the wild trout section. Catch and release, barbless hooks. This section is indeed running high right now, due to increased releases from Hills Creek dam upstream. In warm weather like this, it will still fish very well at high flows. In winter, I leave it alone above 2000 CFS.

Above Hills Creek is small stream stuff that can be a lot of fun. Salt Creek, the middle fork’s main tributary, follows 58 up to Gold Lake and is an awesome little cutthroat stream.

As for how worried you should be about the fires, I’d steer clear of the high elevation small streams and stay in more populous areas until we get some rain. It’s a tinder box out there right now.

Sea runs are getting into full swing, and if I lived in Eugene I’d be on the Alsea every week hunting for them!
 
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troutdude
Welcome to OFF!

YES! Now is the time for SRC's (sea run cutties...also known as BlueBacks in some locales, like the Alsea). Get yourself some Borden Special flies. They are LITERALLY LEGENDARY for Bluebacks! Also any crawdad imitations will do the trick...as they gorge on small crawdad fry in freshwater.

Good advice on Salt Creek above...Gold Lake--if memory serves--is a C & R fishery. So there are BIG fish in there...and if any of them meander downstream...well you get the drift. (See what I did there...lol)

@jamisonace may be able to shed some light on your other questions.

Wishing you tight lines, TD

P.S. We like pics and reports!
 
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jamisonace
troutdude said:
Welcome to OFF!

YES! Now is the time for SRC's (sea run cutties...also known as BlueBacks in some locales, like the Alsea). Get yourself some Borden Special flies. They are LITERALLY LEGENDARY for Bluebacks! Also any crawdad imitations will do the trick...as they gorge on small crawdad fry in freshwater.

Good advice on Salt Creek above...Gold Lake--if memory serves--is a C & R fishery. So there are BIG fish in there...and if any of them meander downstream...well you get the drift. (See what I did there...lol)

@jamisonace may be able to shed some light on your other questions.

Wishing you tight lines, TD

P.S. We like pics and reports!
Harvest lane in Springfield is a fantastic option for bankies. Gold lake is catch and keep. No limit on bookies rainbows cannot be harvested last I knew. Middle fork is best from a boat but fun to poke around on foot. Coast fork runs by pisgah...decent for trout.
 
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yearofthescud
Thank you all for your replies! Will keep you all updated with pics/reports as I continue exploring the area.

@NKlamerus, I'm not opposed to bass fishing as well - I actually did more fly angling for bass than trout in the Midwest (where I lived before just moving here). It sounds like I may need to check out the Umpqua as well sooner rather than later.

Question on the SRC's on the Alsea - how high up in the river do they usually get by this time of year?

Otherwise, sounds like Middle Fork/Coast Fork Willamette are next on my list, and I'll make it up by Oakridge at a less fiery time of year. I absolutely love small-stream walk and wade trout fishing, so that sounds pretty ideal.
 
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troutdude
SRC’s will be spread throughout the system at this time of the year. I’d target mid-upper to the upper stretches—and any trib’s that may be open.

P.S. Contact Mitch at Two Rivers fly shop in Albany—if you need to buy some Borden Specials.
 
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troutdude
My bad about Gold Lake. Maybe it was C & R in the past—or I got it mixed up with another lake.
 
olshiftybiscuits
troutdude said:
My bad about Gold Lake. Maybe it was C & R in the past—or I got it mixed up with another lake.
It’s fly fishing only, no limit on Brook trout, C&R on all other wild trout.
 
olshiftybiscuits
troutdude said:
SRC’s will be spread throughout the system at this time of the year. I’d target mid-upper to the upper stretches—and any trib’s that may be open.

P.S. Contact Mitch at Two Rivers fly shop in Albany—if you need to buy some Borden Specials.
Borden Specials are a great fly, as are reverse spiders. Both created for sea runs, although both also created with the lower reaches and estuaries in mind. As the fish move higher up into skinnier water, it’s hard to beat a big orange stimulator skated across the surface. Sea runs and October caddis peak at roughly the same time each year, and sea runs are already predisposed toward orange as a color. It’s a perfect storm of awesome, these fish just explode on a dry. A leggy dropper nymph (or reverse spider) trailed about a foot behind is also deadly on the swing.
 
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Banjo
Drive up the Mckenzie Highway, cross the Goodpasture bridge, drive until the road turns to gravel and you'll see a small parking lot on the left.
Park and backtrack about 50 feet or so down the road and you'll find a faint path that leads down to a nice hole. It's not easy to get in and out with gear, it's steep and you have to crawl over and under a couple big trees, but I've always done well there. Rock is slippery when wet so be careful. Fin clipped fish only can be kept.
 
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olshiftybiscuits
Banjo said:
Drive up the Mckenzie Highway, cross the Goodpasture bridge, drive until the road turns to gravel and you'll see a small parking lot on the left.
Park and backtrack about 50 feet or so down the road and you'll find a faint path that leads down to a nice hole. It's not easy to get in and out with gear, it's steep and you have to crawl over and under a couple big trees, but I've always done well there. Rock is slippery when wet so be careful. Fin clipped fish only can be kept.
Do you fly fish or spin fish this spot?
 
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