Smallmouth bass fishing near Eugene

Snopro
elmucho said:
I have used windy.com at home - do any of you guys use that site?
Windy is great for the Gorge.... most of the time. I use it a ton. I'm thinking about subscribing @ $20 for the enhanced version.

Another good one is thegorgeismygym.com. Temira lives locally and knows the Gorge wind zones at a micro level. She interprets data as accurately as anyone. Her 3 day forecasts are right on most of the time. FWIW she probably is the most accurate snow forecaster for Mt hood.
 
elmucho
oh man excellent - love the local knowledge thank you for sharing. we use Windy for Baja and it's spot on. thanks again.
 
elmucho
Ok gents - I thought I'd wrap up this thread with a report on how my adventures went bass fishing near Eugene. So here it goes:

First of all, I got so amped getting all your tips and feedback that I actually took off and fished the Umpqua before I had to drive the in-laws over to Eugene... I just got crazy thinking of small mouth fishing so I booked a campsite at the BLM Tyee Campground for Wednesday night July 6th. Since I'm in Waldport I knew I'd have a couple hours drive to get to Elkton so I figured I'd get out of here around 6am, grab a bite in Elkton (Arlene's.... pretty good chicken friend steak and eggs over there) and then start poking around the area at my leisure.

I ended up meandering up Mehle Creek Road (as suggested here) and I found a spot that I could pull off the road at and a steep, short trail down to the water. The spot yielded three smallies - two dinks and a pretty good, maybe 14"?, smallie that broke me off right when I got it to hand. These little bulldogs seem to know exactly when to head shake and snap a leader. The spot looked super fishy but it did not produce like I thought it would - I'm certain the fish were there, I just wasn't quite clued into the game yet. I took the dinks on a small Murdich Minnow streamer and the larger fish was surprise take on a fly I rarely fish called Todd's Wiggle Minnow - it's a cool fly, easy to tie and has this wiggle Rapala action to it.... that smallie just appeared out of nowhere and grabbed it- it was awesome.

I should let you know that I'm primarily a fly angler - I have no problem fishing conventional gear but for some reason I keep gravitating back to the fly rod. I actually stopped at Bi-Mart in Florence and picked up a nice, light weight, Okuma rod and Pfleuger spinning reel along with some Z-man plastics and lead heads to fish just in case I was drawing blanks on the fly. I ended up using it for two fish and then just put it away for the fly rod.

The rest of Mehle Creek Road was pretty overgrown and the access looked kinda "adventurous" so I pushed on towards the campground and wanted to stop and hit Yellow Creek Boat Launch.


Again, that spot looked super fishy. Unfortunately, I had no luck raising a fish - in fact, after running up and down both banks from the launch ramp down to the next set of rapids I was blanked, not even a touch or a follow. I was fishing a Murdich Minnow which a very effective suspending baitfish streamer that has worked out well for me in other spots (John Day River and Colorado River) for both largemouth and smallies. I was pretty disappointed because I had thought it would be ON and it turned out to be pretty darn brutal.

That was UNTIL I crossed over to the other side of the "top rapids" and fished this shallow little back eddy... it turns out that the little spot was loaded with over achieving, pissed off bluegill. I had a great hour or so of bluegill blowing up on a small topwater fly I tied called "Old Mr. Wiggly" - a great fly pattern that is a cinch to tie and is very, very effective on bluegill, largemouth bass... and as it would later turn out... smallmouth bass! After a great time cranking on bluegill I headed to camp where I set up for the night and then ran down to the river to swing a couple flies - again not a single touch or follow... but on the last cast, I did manage to hook my first Umpqua smallie on Old Mr. Wiggly.... a 6" dink smallie but shoot, I'll take it!


Here's the deadly fly, Old Mr. Wiggly (look it up on YouTube, Tight Lines Fly Shop - I've since changed it up just a bit by adding a little indicator piece of foam to the back of the fly to make it easier to see on the water, and I over lap the head a bit more over the hook eye to allow the fly to be popped just a little if the fish want a bit more action on the fly)


Here's my rig, ELMucho tucked into campsite #2 at Tyee Campground (yes, the rumors are true, every now and then you'd catch a little aroma venting from the bathroom septic tanks... the bathrooms themselves were very clean - I'd stay there again, for $14 it was worth it).

The next morning I was up by 630am to pack up and drive over to the Big K Ranch - a spot I had read about on this forum and a place that just seemed like it would be the right call..... DUDE.... if you haven't ever been there to fish smallies, you gotta do it. I could go on and on about what a spot it is but I'll sum it up in one super fragmented sentence: 60 - 80 fish, 99% blowing up on topwater flies - cookie cutter 12" smallies with a smattering of 14 - 18" bruisers thrown in - EPIC. That place is everything you think a fishing session should be - yeah, you've gotta pay $35 bucks to access it but shoot in my hometown that's a couple burritos, two large Cokes and a churro... I'M IN! In fact, I enjoyed the place so much that I returned there, again, today after dropping off the in-laws at the Eugene airport at 2am - and the second time was even better because I felt more comfortable fishing the spots that seemed to hold the bigger fish.


A good shot of the overall spot:

Too many fish pictures to add them all - and no photos for the 18" fish... which means it may have never happened (but it did! x4!).


I had a great two trips out to the Umpqua and can't wait to get back. In summary, here's the takeaway lessons from my recent adventure:

1. I need to learn how to plan and safely complete "floats" down this river - from the highway there are many stretches of great looking water and I think a float is the way to access that water.... I just have almost zero experience with doing safe floats down this river (or any river, really).

2. Trust the process/put in the time/pay your dues/follow advice - thank you everyone who chimed in and gave me info that sent me down the right path. Even though the first couple sessions were brutal with almost zero action, you can never give up on it - your change of luck might be just down the road.

3. Sometimes pay-to-play is the way to go.

Thanks again for all the help and I'd love to tag along and learn more about smallie fishing on the Umpqua - I just need more time here in Oregon!
 
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fromthelogo
Great report. Thanks for the write up.
 
NKlamerus
Did we miss each other?? I was at big k Rapp bar all day on Friday!

Great write up, glad you enjoyed it! Fly rod would be an absolute blast, can't imagine catching a 3lb+ on one

If you like that spot, you haven't seen anything yet. The other launches are much more difficult to launch and navigate, but I really believe they hold more -and larger- fish because of their tougher access.

Let me know if you want some company id like to make another trip out there to stuck hole soon
 
Oregunner
This Saturday, July 16th, there is the First Annual Bass Bash at Umpqua Riverfront RV Park, 16844 Elkton-Sutherlin Hwy, OR-138. 9am-5pm. I saw the flyer, and am planning to check it out, at least for the morning. I haven’t fished that stretch of the river, but word is, it is also full of SM. Sounds like a bass themed summer festival. Fishing, food, music, etc.
 
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NKlamerus
Oregunner said:
This Saturday, July 16th, there is the First Annual Bass Bash at Umpqua Riverfront RV Park, 16844 Elkton-Sutherlin Hwy, OR-138. 9am-5pm. I saw the flyer, and am planning to check it out, at least for the morning. I haven’t fished that stretch of the river, but word is, it is also full of SM. Sounds like a bass themed summer festival. Fishing, food, music, etc.
Should be a fun event, everyone fishing that spot? Might have to check it out
 
Admin
Planning unplanned OFF gathering? Don't forget to invite @bass with you.
 
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Oregunner
So, I called the RV park. 541-459-2665. There is a group from the Native Fish Society that has reserved some camping spots, were expecting about 30 people, and it is their event. You can register on their website, that you are attending. nativefishsociety.org They are having a dinner after the days fishing. There is a couple miles of frog water, so you can launch and pull out at the same ramp. Park entrance is $5, and $10 to launch a boat. Camp spots are full. Camp Host says that there are lots of bass. Sponsoring group's goal is to reduce the bass population in the river, and have a fish fry for dinner. I will be there in the morning in a silver Willie drift boat. I am a old tall guy in a straw hat.
Mark
 
elmucho
NKlamerus said:
Did we miss each other?? I was at big k Rapp bar all day on Friday!

Great write up, glad you enjoyed it! Fly rod would be an absolute blast, can't imagine catching a 3lb+ on one

If you like that spot, you haven't seen anything yet. The other launches are much more difficult to launch and navigate, but I really believe they hold more -and larger- fish because of their tougher access.

Let me know if you want some company id like to make another trip out there to stuck hole soon
No - I was there Thursday and then again, yesterday, Saturday.

I only made it to 1pm yesterday - I was pretty warn out because I had to leave Waldport at 1am to make a drop off at Eugene Airport. Took a quick nap at a rest area (I have a camper on my truck) outside Cottage Grove and then jammed over to Big K, made it there by 8am.

Unfortunately, I'm running out of days here in Oregon - I have to point my truck south for San Diego next Friday and I'm back in the classroom (science teacher) on Monday. I won't be back here until (most likely) Thanksgiving Week.

By the way, how's the smallie fishing in November?

So exciting to hear that it only gets better at Big K from here (having only fished Rapp Bar). I will definitely message you the next time I head over that way and would really like to fish some different spots - just not too sure if my kayak or my skill level on the river is up for any "water features" that those other spots might throw at me.

Thanks again for the tips and help - heading over to fish the Umpqua was a summer highlight for me.
 
elmucho
Oregunner said:
This Saturday, July 16th, there is the First Annual Bass Bash at Umpqua Riverfront RV Park, 16844 Elkton-Sutherlin Hwy, OR-138. 9am-5pm. I saw the flyer, and am planning to check it out, at least for the morning. I haven’t fished that stretch of the river, but word is, it is also full of SM. Sounds like a bass themed summer festival. Fishing, food, music, etc.
Unfortunately I won't be able to make that event - but I do like the sound of another access spot. If anybody has fished it and has some info on it - I'm all ears.
 
Oregunner
We fished the river at the RV park on Saturday morning. Lots of pontoons and kayaks. I used my driftboat and was able to drift down from the ramp quite a ways, and motor back up. We caught a bunch of nice sized fish. Bottom was grassy, but flow was clear. Might be worth another trip when it is not so crowded.
 
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elmucho
Oregunner said:
We fished the river at the RV park on Saturday morning. Lots of pontoons and kayaks. I used my driftboat and was able to drift down from the ramp quite a ways, and motor back up. We caught a bunch of nice sized fish. Bottom was grassy, but flow was clear. Might be worth another trip when it is not so crowded.
Thanks for the report! I'm curious about that particular spot, I have a Hobie kayak with pedal drive and I am able to paddle back up current at some of the slower spots at Big K Ranch- is that water at the RV park similar slow water? And was there plenty of river to fish without having to go through riffles or rapids to get to it? Thanks in advance!
 
Oregunner
Lots of easy kayak water. There were kids with kayaks, not having any problems navigating all over. Probably over a mile of frog water.
 
BassCatPuma
What was the depth range through that stretch?
Oregunner said:
Lots of easy kayak water. There were kids with kayaks, not having any problems navigating all over. Probably over a mile of frog water.
 
Oregunner
There were some deep spots, but you could see the bottom through most of the stretch.
 
elmucho
Oregunner said:
Lots of easy kayak water. There were kids with kayaks, not having any problems navigating all over. Probably over a mile of frog water.
Great thanks for the info - sounds like a good spot and a nice campground too.
 
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