Nov 15th, 2018
Umpqua Winter Basecamp, OR
The Umpqua Winter Basecamp is a unique and diverse Pacific Northwest steelheading experience focusing on the legendary waters of the North Umpqua River. From January through the end of March, the crystal clear waters of the North Umpqua transform to a blue-green tinge and rise from the seasonal rains that late Fall and winter bring. This welcomes the arrival of sea-bright, wild winter steelhead to the system, and in turn, the opportunity for anglers to target some of the largest anadromous specimens in the west. However, fly fishing for winter steelhead is challenging on any system and in any situation, especially the steep and rugged waters of the North Umpqua. Luckily, we have teamed up with two of the most knowledgeable guides and expert instructors on this river, father and son duo of David & Dillon Renton. Together, they operate the Umpqua Winter Basecamp, which depending on conditions, features both wade and float fishing for spectacular winter steelhead.
Guests at the Umpqua Winter Basecamp stay in a spacious and comfortable riverside house along with the guides, who will prepare high quality meals and be on-site to assist with anything that comes up. The house features a fireplace, cable television, hot tub, large deck and plenty of comfortable seating for relaxing. This house is the perfect place to return to after a long day of fishing during the winter months. Hang your wet gear to dry, take a hot shower, enjoy a freshly cooked meal and get a good nights rest in a cozy bed – this is as comfortable as winter steelheading gets!
Contact David at 800.552.2729 for more information on Umpqua Winter Basecamp
Top reasons to go
1. The opportunity to swing flies and float the famous North Umpqua River.
2. For a chance to catch bright, strong wild winter steelhead on the fly.
3. To increase your skills as a steelhead angler and two handed caster.
4. A diverse fishing program allows anglers to target winter steelhead by both swinging flies while wading and fishing out of the boat while floating.
5. Comfortable accommodations are alongside the North Umpqua River, keeping you close to the fishing grounds at all times.
Where is the basecamp?
The Umpqua Winter Basecamp is located in the community of Idleyld Park, Oregon. The comfortable accommodations are within walking distance of the river right near the boundary between the fly fishing only, wade only section of the river and the section of the North Umpqua river that is floated in drift boats.
How do I get there?
Guests can fly into Medford, Eugene or even Portland, OR. A rental car will be needed to drive the remaining distance to your accommodations. Eugene is 2 hours, Medford 2.5 hours and Portland about 3.5 hours drive to the Umqqua Winter Basecamp.
When should I go?
March is considered the most consistent month, but February and the first week of April can offer good fishing as well. It must always be known that when dealing with anadromous fish and winter weather, conditions can dictate success. The good news here is the upper river stays in fishing shape for the majority of the winter.
Where do they fish?
The outfitter offers walk/wade trips on the fly fishing only waters of the upper river through one of only ten special use permits. This section of river has some 30 miles of accessible water. Below the fly fishing only section, the Renton’s float several beats that offer options to swing flies with two handed rods or indicator based fishing out of the boat.
Where do we stay?
The accommodations are at a comfortable home with seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and prime access to the beats of the North Umpqua. Each guest will have their own room. The common area is spacious with a warming fireplace. There is also an outdoor hot tub to take a warm soak on a cool winter evening.
Who is best suited to this destination?
This destination is best for guests who are comfortable with colder winter conditions and wanting chances at some large winter steelhead. The venue can be great for anglers seeking a walk and wade swing trip all with two handed rods or those more keen on fishing from the boat with indicator and single hand rods.
What are the meals like?
The meals are well thought out, healthy and delicious.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
Relaxed. The small group size allows for an intimate experience with a great family that has incredible knowledge and passion for the North Umpqua.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Yes, Dillon and David Renton are your guides and will also be on site at all times.
Is there internet and cell service?
The accommodations will have wifi, but cell coverage is spotty.
How do they fish?
The guides are well versed in swinging flies with two handed rods and indicator tactics with single hand rods. The choice will be yours as to what tactics you’d like to employ. Conditions can also dictate what tactic will be best for your days of fishing. David and Dillon Renton will always put their clients in the best possible situations for success.
How many fish will I catch?
The hope would be for a fish a day, but more or less is possible as is the case with any steelhead venue.
What are the guides like?
The father/son guide team has decades of experience on the North Umpqua. They are eager to share their passion for this river and its fish. They are excellent communicators and instructors, offering great advice on how and why you are presenting the fly in the water you are fishing.
Will we see other anglers?
Its likely you will see other anglers. The fly fishing only water offers a bit more solitude, while the lower section of river is larger and a mixed use community of anglers. While not overly crowded when compared to other rivers, I would expect to see some other boats sharing the water here.
Is there wade fishing?
Yes, as much or as little as you’d like. Most guests ask for a mix of both, as this allows for more coverage of the waters and adds diversity to the experience.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
A short drive up or down the river. You can be fishing the fly only water within a few minutes and the floats will be as close as 15 minutes downriver.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
Rods/reels and all terminal tackle will be provided. Waders and boots are not provided. Boots with clean felt and studs are recommended.
Does the lodge provide flies?
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A 12 to 13 foot 8-weight is the best all around spey rod and 10 foot 8-weight single hand rods for the boat fishing is best. Note that the guides offer a full quiver of rods to match the water conditions.
What are the top flies?
Intruder style flies for swinging and egg patterns for the boat based angling.
Are there other activities?
Winter sports are within easy reach. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing at Mt. Bailey or snowmobile tours too. Crater Lake is a wonderful day trip and offers some spectacular views.
What is the cost?
$2250 per person for a 3 night / 3 day package. Two person minimum. Custom length packages are available.
Are there hidden expenses?
Guests will need to have their Oregon fishing license and steelhead tag.
What is the Cancellation Policy?
If a guest has to cancel the stated policy is no refunds unless a suitable replacement is found. Albeit rare here, if the outfitter has to cancel due to poor conditions, the money will rollover to future dates or another program that the outfitter offers. These include jet boat camps and float trips on the Deschutes river for trout and steelhead or summer steelhead camp trips on the North Umpqua.
Do I need trip insurance?
While not required, we feel its always worth looking into trip insurance as travel expenses may be covered in the event of a cancellation.
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
Yes, this trip combines well with other winter steelhead venues such as the North Oregon Coast, Olympic Peninsula or the Rogue river in southern Oregon.
Are there special skills required?
What are the physical demands?
The fly fishing only section of river occasionally requires guests to traverse steep banks, wade challenging water and even walk some distance to access certain runs. With that said, the trip can be catered to those that wish only to fish out of the boat or even walk and wade easily accessed runs.
Dangers and annoyances?
The upper river has some tough wades and steep banks to navigate and while it rarely blows out, the flows can become too high for safe and decent fishing conditions. The lower river can become colored with a large rain event and not allow for worthy floating or fishing conditions.
What am I forgetting?
Don’t forget to bring a good attitude and some luck always helps. Plenty of layers and rain gear is always recommended during winter in the the PNW.
The North Umpqua is one of the most famous rivers in the Pacific Northwest.
Bright, beautiful wild steelhead are the quarry on the North Umpqua River.
This venue is fantastic for those who wish to increase their skills as a steelhead angler and two handed caster.
Umpqua Winter Basecamp trips provide a diverse fishing program involving both wading and floating.
Comfortable accommodations, gourmet meals and close access to the fishing grounds make this program a must for steelhead anglers.