Spring Chinook & Summer Steelhead now Arriving on Upper Willamette Tributaries- McKenzie – Willamette Middle Fork – Santiam
Roaring Fork Guide Service – Newsletter Spring-Summer 2014
Dear Friends, Anglers and Recreationists
Yes it’s that time of year again when thoughts change to shorts, barbeques, and outdoor fun. As a river/fishing guide, this is my busiest time of year and also a special time of year when I get to focus my efforts on my home river, the McKenzie. Though I do run trips elsewhere locally on the Middle Fork Willamette, South Santiam and Umpqua, certainly the McKenzie gets preferential treatment since it flows just past my backyard. These rivers all provide ample opportunity to tie into a variety of hard-fighting feisty fish including tail-walking Summer Steelhead and fat, succulent Spring Chinook, truly a Northwest delicacy. For folks looking to hook their kids on fishing or just looking to put lots of fish in the boat, we have 2 great options that just might fit the bill. Large numbers of Rainbow Trout are released annually into the McKenzie to help insure success and lots of action. The trout respond to conventional tackle but will also readily take flies presented by both novice or expert fly-rodders alike, making the McKenzie a great place to learn to fly fish. Meanwhile, the Umpqua River can provide absolutely insane fishing for Small Mouth Bass where a day of fishing can often produce between 100-200 fish to the boat.
The biologists at ODFW, our fish and game agency, are projecting an above average run of Springers this season. I am twitching a bit as I write this letter, knowing I’m missing out on some decent action my fellow guides and their customers are enjoying out on the river today. The first real push of Spring Chinook has just arrived on the Middle Fork Willamette and on the McKenzie while reports of steadily improving Summer Steelhead fishing are coming in from the South Santiam. All of the migrating salmon and steelhead now bound for the local tributaries of the greater Willamette System, pass a fish counting station located at Willamette Falls in Oregon City. Last week more than 5,300 adult Spring Chinook were counted migrating up-river past the station. This number far surpassed any single three day period all last season. Should the trend continue with more sustained good bursts of migrating fish, then we could be in for some great action. Those fish should be arriving here locally in the first week of June, so take a look at your calendar and consider booking a trip.
On a side note, I sustained a bit of a setback in December of last year which resulted in reconstructive knee surgery, sidelining me from more than just the Superbowl. There is unfortunately no dramatic tale of a 100 foot free fall nor a desperate escape from a Great White. A clumsy early morning fall into a parking lot while prepping the boat for a salmon trip might more accurately describe the actual circumstance that led to the injury…. and no, alcohol was not involved. I’m happy to report however, that this cowboy is back in the saddle and ready to row!
As many of you know, I will make every effort to insure your trip is a memorable one. I network with a group of other qualified guides on multi-boat or group trips. Though I have held my rates stable for a decade, that will likely change next year. I hope to have the opportunity to share some fun moments on the water with you this season.
Cheers, John Gross