The most memorable part of this trip other then catching 75+ bass a day would have to be me flipping my boat and swimming through Smith Ferry Rapid . Looking back at the incident I can laugh, mostly because nothing bad happened except for losing a few things. I did more then a few things wrong going down this set of rapids and the number one thing, I wasn’t wearing my life jacket. Before committing to going down I stopped on the side of the river to add more air to my pontoons and I was going to get my life jacket on, but I didn’t take the time and effort to unstrap it from my seat, I had it bungee corded on with a bunch of stuff. Second biggest mistake was that my boat was super back heavy, as you can tell from the photo in my last post. That combined with leaning back in my seat instead of forward while going through the big waves, led to my demise of flipping. Third mistake was not getting out and scouting what I was about to go down, all I knew was it sounded gnarly. Fourthly and lastly was I should of done a better job of making sure everything on my boat was secure and or water proof. My small color was dumped with its contents, my shirt was lost which I wasn’t wearing since it was wet. And my net was lost, luckily my fishing rods and video camera were secured to the boat good.
The second day on the river started out really well, catching some nice fish and seeing new waters. While floating along I could tell we were coming towards a rapid or what I like to call it a drop. I was lagging behind and before I got to the rapid I made sure my rods and a few other things were secured. Before going down the drop I looked to my right and seen Colby and his jaw dropped, I don’t think he believed I was going for it. Even though I didnt scout it out I made it through successfully and had a blast! I tried to talk the others into carrying our boats to the top and running it again. None of them were down though, ha. There is a small slot on river right if you prefer not to go down fun rapids. That was the first drop which the photo was taken at the bottom of. This section only has two tricky sets of rapids and both you can portage around.
And here’s my infamous video of me flipping my boat at the Smith Ferry Rapids on the Umpqua River. I apologize for the poor camera angle, my video camera was secured to one of my rod holders which is on the right pontoon. Getting tossed out wasn’t as bad as it could of been for me especially since I wasn’t wear my PFD. Luckily I didn’t get sucked down into the rapid and get beat up against the rocks, which could of happened easily. I struggled trying swim at first but eventually let the river take me, and it took me into the same eddy that my boat was in. I sat there trying to catch my breath for a couple minutes then flipped my boat up right. After I realized my rods, camera, and myself were fine, I got back in my boat and shared a laugh with my friends.
Colby with a nice Umpqa River Smallie. The trip was quite awesome. Fishing new waters, catching around 100 bass a day, meeting a new fishing pal Danny. Just all around good times!!
Thanks for reading, and Tight Lines!
Iv realized I have nothing from any of my Umpqua River trips from this Summer on here and I don’t know why!!!. The Umpqua River has one of the best Small Mouth Bass Fisheries in country I believe, and so iv heard. It also boast some really great Salmon and Steelhead fishing too. The River also has Trout, Shad, and Stripers, among some other species. Me and some buddies head there to fish for the Smallies though aka Small Mouth Bass. They have fight in them like no other on this Umpqua River.
I floated the Umpqua five times this year in my 8 foot Creek Co. Pontoon. First time was around June 11th with Ted and Jon. We went from the bridge before the Kellog Bridge and took out at the Slide Hole. And I must say Ill never put in at this bridge again. It was hell carrying our boats down a steep ass embankment under the bridge. There were two different sections that had ropes so you could walk yourself either down or up, the ropes were in a middle of a trail that went through black berries and poison oak.That first float didn’t take long at all because the water was so high, we decided to float it a week after some heavy rains. The water was murky so we fished blindly not know where to cast because we could not see the bottom structure. I only caught around ten that day almost all came on a white tube. Fishing was super tough but it was still a good experience for my first time on the Umpqua.
Second trip of the year was around August 17th. I rode down from Eugene with Jon, and we met up with my friend Colby and his buddy Danny who came up from Southern Oregon. We floated the river for three days and two nights, doing a stretch of river that is known as the Big K Loop. It was a first over night trip on this river for any us, but Jon had done this float many times before in just one day. This section is said to have the best Small Mouth fishing on the river and I could see why. Almost no body fishes it since it’s surrounded by private property and its a super long float to do unless you have access to the Big K. This just so happen to be the first of four epic trips where we camped along the river and brought only what we could fit on our pontoons. As you can tell from the first picture I was kind of loaded down.
You could catch the bass on a variety of lures which was really fun! Had a blast using a spoon in the quicker water. Id get out of my boat in some of the quick ankle to knee deep water and cast the spoon like i would for steelhead and wait for a pissed off little fish to attack! Smallmouth are good fighters in general, but put them in current and WOW! Some great fun is to be had with light gear, caught my biggest one on a UL rod with 4lb mono.
This was our camp on the first night, what you can’t see is the deer carcass not too far away. Colby was the smart one and brought an actual air mattress, Jon brought a blow up mat you would use for a swimming pool. I brought my sleeping pad which you can see in the first pic rolled up on the back of my Toon. Danny burrowed himself a nice little hole in the sand which I think kept him quite warm, ha. Dinner for me consisted of cold hot dogs, candy bars, and some smoked Salmon. You can see me preparing something, boy was I hungry after fishing all day!
Part 2 of this trip will be in the next post. Thanks for reading. Tight Lines.