Leg #2 – Dunsmuir to Roseburg

Swinging on the Rogue.
Swinging on the Rogue.

TODAY: Dunsmuir – Roseburg
Rivers – Klamath (CA), Rogue (6-weight – rubber legs, big stone fly patterns, prince nymphs, RS2)
Food – McMenamins

It was raining when I stepped out of the hotel room this morning and walked down to the drive-thru coffee joint across the street. It’s got outstanding breakfast burritos which tilt toward healthy so it was the perfect place after a dinner at a brew house.
I decided to put the Upper Sacramento behind me and instead focused on the Klamath. Halfway there I received a text message from my buddy Nate who said his baby boy was born. I knew immediately I’d catch a fish, and where it would happen. A few years ago as I was driving north to Alaska for the summer, we turned off Interstate 5 and camped down river from where I-5 crossed the Klamath. I caught a few, but Nate and Brad had their best luck under the I-5 bridge. So I stopped at the bridge, and caught a nice little rainbow swinging an October Caddis. Perfect welcome to the world gift for Nate’s son. Well, it was what I could do.
So I headed north and left California for good and into Oregon. When I needed gas I hopped out of the truck and ran my card before I remembered in Oregon, gas attendants do all that for you.
“Oh, uh, forgot you help us out up here.”
I talked to my new friend a bit while I did all the work and he held a wad of cash in his head which was the “tip me” jar.
I drove off and continued north to fish the Rogue River.

Rogue River, Oregon.  Apparently they like themselves some fishing.
Rogue River, Oregon. Apparently they like themselves some fishing.

Oregon has been getting a lot of rain, so most of the rivers are up and off-color. Even though I don’t really know what the Rogue looks like on normal days, the I saw the tell-tale signs of a near blowout. The water near shore looked decent, but I saw how shallow it was, and knew the really good runs were usually further out in the current. I fished the edges diligently because displaced fish will take a break there, but only managed hits from fish 12 inches and under.
Since the cab of my truck smells like wet football jersey dried in a microwave thanks to consistent rain, I put my waders under the mesh of the net keeping my tarp from whipping. Because who needs wet waders on top of wet cotton? It was a great plan until it started seriously raining once I was tracing the South Fork of the Umpqua River. I figured the waders are meant to be wet on the outside anyway, and the inside was wet from leaks anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, as long as they stayed attached to the truck.
When I got to the fly shop in Roseburg, the dude working was overly apologetic about the North Fork being blown out, as if it was his fault the rains came. I told him I was on my way to Alaska and was just looking for a little river time. He hesitated in even giving advice.
He recommended flies I would have fished anyway, but gave me a few tips on spots, so I bought a few flies in exchange for the insight. He could have been lying, but I have a pretty strong crap detector, and it was reading none with him.

No matter how you look at it, the North Fork of the Umpqua is tough right now.
No matter how you look at it, the North Fork of the Umpqua is tough right now.

I drove out the road to do a little recon and sure enough, the river is crazy big. I fished it a few years ago and it was a deep, healthy blue. Today it was brown and mean.
Naturally I satisfied man’s next most important desire – food.
Then shelter at a cheap hotel.

TOMORROW – Roseburg – Portland – 172 miles

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