Sunday, February 3, 2013

Umpqua Derby

The Umpqua Steelhead Enhancement Derby was held this past few days.  This is the 21st annual derby and my 4th year participating.  The derby has raised over a million dollars for steelhead enhancement projects in the Umpqua basin over the past 20 years.

Roseburg area school kids volunteer on a number of the projects throughout their school year.  As a way to repay the kids for their efforts, all of us guides who compete in the derby donate some time to take the kids out and do some fishing on a local reservoir.

O.D.F.W. is heavily involved in the event.  Here they're releasing a bunch of hatchery trout for the kids to catch. 
 "hooked" for life.
"Are you fishing here?"
This toad was caught in my boat on Friday.  We caught it on the North Umpqua and it measured 38"!

My buddy from O.D.F.W., Greg Huchko caught this same monster, from the same run just a few weeks ago!  This particular run just happens to be one of my favorite runs for swinging flies in the gear water section of the N.U.  It also holds a special place in my heart, because way back in the winter of 1989, I caught my first North Umpqua winter steelhead in this same run with my long time friend, Dean Perske.


On Friday the actual derby begins.  Teams are comprised of two guides with two anglers.  Anglers come from a variety of area businesses that "purchase" teams.  Your allowed to fish the North Umpqua, the South Umpqua or the mainstem Umpqua.  You just can't fish the same body of water two days in a row.  I was teamed with Roseburg area guide, Larry Avert.  
Larry nets a fish for a member of our team.
Another one for the team.

Everyone had a great time as always, even though fishing was slower than in previous years.  The winning team boated 19 fish over the two day event.  Dozens of brood stock steelhead were captured and transferred to ODFW personnel for transport to the hatchery for future generations of fish for the South Umpqua and tens of thousands of dollars were raised for future enhancement programs.

Next Wednesday through Sunday I'll be at the Northwest Sportsmen Show at the Portland, Oregon Expo center.  If your in the area please stop by my booth and say hi.  I'll be giving free seminars every day on a variety of topics.  One seminar will be on fishing for spring chinook on the Umpqua.  Another is on the upper Willamette steelhead and trout fishery and another is fly fishing the North Umpqua year around.  I'll also be giving seminars in the steelhead "river" that will be set up at the show.  If you've never attended this show, plan on spending at least a full day to see it all.  It's a GREAT show!

Hope to see you there.

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