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Wild and Scenic Rogue River Steelhead Trips, OR

Designated as one of the eight original Wild and Scenic Rivers in the United States in 1968, the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue is a classic American multi-day float. The river’s expansive views and deep cut canyons are home to summer and winter steelhead as well as some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Oregon, with regular sightings of blacktail deer, otters, beavers, eagles, osprey, mink, bears, and a huge variety of birds. In addition to anadromous fish, the Rogue is home to some of Oregon’s most famed whitewater rapids such as Mule Creek Canyon’s Coffee Pot and Blossom Bar. Ultimately the Rogue Canyon is far more than a fishing trip, it is a classic western experience perfect for anglers and adventure seekers alike.

To experience this wondrous venue, we’ve teamed up with James and Kait Sampsel of Humble Heron Fly Fishing and Momentum River Expeditions to offer anglers the best of the Rogue River Canyon. The Sampsel’s are focusing on targetting the Rogue’s Summer run Steelhead on both “lodge-to-lodge” trips and camp trips. On “lodge-to-lodge” trips, guests will stay at a different privately owned riverside wilderness lodge each night of the trip. Camp trips are comfortable, innovative and are designed to position hard-charging anglers on prime steelhead runs each morning and evening of their trip.

Contact Andy at 800.552.2729 for more information on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River


Top Reasons To Go:
1. The Wild and Scenic Rogue River is one of the most unique and sought after river float trips in the country and appropriate for anglers of all skill levels and physical abilities.
2. The Rogue River is famous for its super charged half-pounder steelhead. They are plentiful and fun to catch using a variety of different fly tactics from swinging flies with two-handed rods to twitching flies out of the boat.
3. The Siskiyou Wilderness is an extremely diverse region in Oregon for flora and fauna.  It’s not uncommon to see bears, otters, deer, elk, eagles, and various other animals.
4. The Rogue River is easy to reach. The trip starts approximately 40 minutes from the Medford airport in Southern Oregon.
5. This trip is just as much a wilderness float trip as it is a fishing trip. Guests will experience some of the most technical and exciting whitewater in the lower 48 while floating down the Rogue.

Where is the destination?
The Rogue River is located in Southern Oregon with Medford being the largest hub providing the closest airport and access to the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue. The Rogue River is located in southern Oregon starting on the western flank of Crater Lake. It travels southwest for 215 miles eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach Oregon.

How do I get there?
Guests fly into Medford where they can either rent a car or be shuttled to the start of the trip in Galice, Oregon, a 46-mile drive from the Medford Airport.

Where do they fish?
The Wild and Scenic corridor of the Rogue, which concentrates on 35 miles of remote canyon and another 10 miles of the lower river.

Where do we stay?
There are two ways to experience the Wild and Scenic Rogue River: lodge-to-lodge trips and camp trips. guests will stay at three distinct privately-owned riversides lodges. These lodges are rustic and cater to multiple parties at once. Guests will either stay in double occupancy cabins or in lodge rooms that sleep two to four guest, all with attached bathrooms. All rooms have electricity and heat but lack Wifi and cell service. All lodges serve family style meals at large dining tables. Each lodge has there own version of homestyle cooking and can accommodate dietary restrictions if known in advance. Below is a quick overview of the lodges.

Black Bar (night 1):
Black Bar is a rustic lodge that is only accessible by boat or by trail – it is simple yet comfortable and brimming with pioneer history. The lodge offers comfortable cabins with linens, beds, and private bathrooms with hot showers.

Marial Lodge (night 2):
This is a great homestyle lodge the owners will make you feel right at home and cook guests a huge country-style dinner. This lodge overlooks the river and has a creek running through their property.

Illahe Lodge (night 3):
Illahe was built in the late 1930s on a beautiful piece of property on the edge of a wilderness area. They have a huge garden, farm to table dinners, a great view and a rich history.

The camp trips are designed for guests interested in classic down-and-across swing fishing for steelhead. These trips position anglers on the most productive and classic wade-fishing runs in the canyon. Swing water becomes more plentiful in the lower sections of this trip, so your guides will move quickly through the first half of the canyon and then slow down to fish hard as wading options increase in the lower section of the float. Anglers will have the opportunity to do some boat-based fishing in the first half of the float as well as in between wading spots.

Who is best suited to this destination?
These trips are best suited for those seeking a wilderness whitewater float trip. Both lodge-to-lodge and camp trips are available, so varying levels of comfort can be accommodated depending on which option your group chooses. This is a great trip for kids, seniors and all ages in between. Guests may encounter two potential portages where they will need to walk around rapids that the guides will navigate solo. The terrain is rugged but the distance covered is minimal. The Rogue is a very slippery river so a degree of fitness and balance is recommended.

What is a typical day like?
Lodge Trips:
Mornings are often one of the most productive times of the day for targeting steelhead, so expect an early start to each day to maximize your chances for success.  Fishing is done out of the boat or while wading. Each boat will have one guide and two passengers. Your vessel will either be a rigid Mckenzie-style drift boat or a raft with casting platforms depending on what style of fishing is preferred. At mid-day, lunch will be prepared stream-side by your guide and you will continue fishing and floating after lunch. Every night the gear boater will have all of your bags up in your rooms at each lodge awaiting your arrival with drinks and hors d’oeuvre soon to follow. Before and after dinner, guests can spend their time how they wish: enjoy a fly tying lesson (upon request), relax on the deck, fish at the river’s edge, hike to side creeks, read, or enjoying some peace and quiet.

Camp Trips:
This trip is offered to allow hard-charging anglers the best access to prime fishing waters at the best times of day. The itinerary is flexible depending on conditions and each campsite will allow for evening and morning fishing options. Your guides tend to move quickly through the first half of the canyon (more floating, less fishing) and then travel less and fish more as the wading options increase in the lower river. You will fish from rafts with fishing frames and each boat will have one guide and two passengers. The rafts will have a stable platform with plenty of space for casting. Days will include a combination of indicator fishing and swinging flies both from the boats and while wading. The trip is also a great venue for learning or improving spey casting skills.  The wilderness camps are comfortable and each evening you will arrive at a fully set up, riverside camp with drinks and appetizers ready, a campfire (fire conditions permitting), and a base shelter for inclement weather. You will stay in large two-person walk-in tents with nightstands, lamps, cots, and pads. It is best if guests provide their own sleeping bags.

What trip should I choose? Lodge-to-lodge or a camp trip?
Lodge-to-lodge trips are great for those who wish to do most of their fishing from the boat, either nymphing or twitching flies in the traditional Rogue River style. Lodge-to-lodge trips provide more comfortable accommodations, more shelter from the elements, indoor bathroom and shower facilities, and more of a  traditional lodge feel at night. For those that are looking for a downriver, wilderness float trip experience with plenty of fishing and a few more comforts of home included, the lodge trip is a great option. It is also a great choice for less experienced and less agile guests.

Camp trips are designed for guests that are more focused on swinging flies while wading for steelhead. These trips set camps on prime fishing waters each night of the trip so that you end your day and start your day on great swing runs. For hard-charging steelheaders that want to maximize fishing time and are comfortable with a tent-camp scenario, this is the best option.

Please keep in mind that itineraries are flexible and the outfitters are happy to accommodate each group’s needs and desires.

What do trips include?
Lodge-to-lodge trips: All meals and accommodations, fishing tackle and flies, non-alcoholic beverages, beer and wine at dinner, dry bags, return transportation back to Galice, Oregon or Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge. 

Camp trips: All meals and riverside accommodations in camp, tents and cots, fishing tackle and flies, non-alcoholic beverages, dry bags, return transportation back to Galice, Oregon or Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge.

What are the meals like?
The lodges serve “family” style meals at large dinning tables. Each lodge has their own version of homestyle cooking. Lodges serve three course meals and they can accommodate dietary restrictions if known in advance. Beer and wine are included on lodge trips. On camp trips all food is pre
pped, provided, and prepared by your guides. Food is locally sourced and delicious.

How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
The atmosphere around camp and at the lodges is relaxed and comfortable.  Your guides are confident, skilled, calm, collected, and extremely knowledgeable about the fish and the river. The whitewater experience on this stretch of river can be exciting and incredibly exhilarating! It is the goal of the outfitter that all of their guests depart the river energized and rejuvenated.

Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge/on the trip?
Each trip will be accompanied by either James or Kait Sampsel (or both) who directs the trip and manages all aspects of the program. Each lodge has individual owners and managers who are very much present at each lodge, but all communication will be handled by your guides and trip leaders.

Is there internet and cell service?
There is no internet or cell service in the canyon. However, in case of medical emergencies, your guides do have the capability to connect with the outside world. 

How do they fish?
The guides employ a variety of techniques for targeting steelhead. Both the option to fish from the boat and to wade down runs are available on these trips. Both single-handed and two-handed rods are used. The trip can be catered to any ability level and guests will certainly walk away from this trip with many new skills.

How many fish will I catch?
Double-digit numbers of half-pounders would be considered a good day. As is the case in most steelhead systems, an adult fish a day is considered good fishing.

What are the guides like?
Your guides are experienced outfitters, passionate anglers and skilled rowers. They are patient, informative, and awesome people to spend time with on the river. Their enthusiasm for the river and the creatures that call the Rogue their home will leave you inspired and wanting to return the following year. While your guides are very professional, they know how to have fun and will make each venture down the river memorable for all!

Will we see other anglers?
Other boats and anglers will be seen on the river but in limited numbers. Seeing other anglers wade fishing is uncommon.

Is there wade fishing?
Yes. There are wading opportunities. The camp trips are completely dedicated to folks interested in stepping down runs and swinging flies for steelhead.

How far is it to the fishing grounds?
The guides do their best to camp on water that will provide the best opportunities to target steelhead while wading. The lodges sit on the river and also provide decent opportunities to fish while the trip is not actively moving downstream. As you are floating downriver, spots are plentiful either while wading or fishing out of the boat.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
All fishing equipment and tackle is provided, but guests will need to provide their own waders and cleated wading boots. On camp trips, tents and cots are provided. It is best if guests bring their own sleeping bags; however, they can be provided upon request.

Does the lodge provide flies?
Your guide will have plenty of flies for your use, but guests can certainly bring their own flies along as well.

What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
The best rods for these trips are 5 to 6-weight spey rods in the 12’ to 13’6” lengths, and 5 to 7-weight single hand rods that are 9 to 11 feet in length.

What are the top flies?
Classic flies such as the Rogue River Ant, Tiger Paw, Green Butt Skunk, Steelhead Coachman, and Lady Caroline are productive on this river. Productive nymph patterns are stoneflies, prince nymphs and copper johns.

Are there other activities?
There are several other activities available on these trips. There will be opportunities for hiking the Rogue River Trail which follows the entire corridor as well as side hikes up beautiful tributaries. Throughout your trip there will be several opportunities to explore old homesteads and discuss the extensive history the Rogue canyon provides. In the evenings, your guides can also provide fly tying demonstrations and artistic endeavors like painting as some of the guides are artists as well. Please inquire about your interest in participating in any of these activities.

What is the cost?
3N/4D day lodge and camp trips run $2,300 per person for adults and $2,050 for youth. Youths are 15 and under.

Are there hidden expenses?
Guests will need to arrive in Medford the night before their trip begins and make accommodation arrangements at Galice or Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge (not included). If guest do not want to rent a car we can help arrange a shuttle to your first night’s accommodations for $150.  If you choose to rent a vehicle and drive yourself to Galice or Morrison’s and would like it shuttled to the take-out so that you can continue your vacation, this fee is $120-$150. 

What is the cancellation Policy?
Cancellations received prior to the final payment date are subject to a cancellation fee equal to 50% of the deposit amount. No refunds will be made after the final payment date unless the spaces are refilled by full-paying guests.

Do I need trip insurance?
Trip insurance is not required but is recommended.

Does this trip combine well with other trips?
For those that would like to continue fishing the Rogue upriver from your float trip, Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge is a great option that is close by. If you are interested in trout fishing, September is still a great time to fish the Williamson River for trout at Paul McDonald’s Williamson Fish Shack.  It is also popular for guests to explore other non-angling activities before or after their trip. Crater Lake, the Oregon and Northern California coast and the redwoods are within a few hours drive of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.

Are there special skills required?
There are no special skills required and guests of all ages and abilities are encouraged to experience this trip. Those that opt to do the camp trips should be aware that wading in the river is a focus of this trip, so good balance and wading experience will be very helpful.

What are the physical demands?
These trips are catered to many different people’s capabilities. There are two portages around two rapids that are slightly demanding as the trail is uneven and rocky at times. Your guides will help anyone who would like extra assistance in these areas. On camp-trips, expect wading conditions of varying levels of difficulty from easy to moderately difficult. Note the river is very slippery and guests must very careful getting in and out of boats.

Dangers and annoyances?
There is an inherent risk running a wilderness river. There are rapids ranging from class I-IV however, your guides are technically and competently trained to run these rapids and safely fish guests in and out of the boat. While there are rattlesnakes and bears, the biggest danger is slipping on the rocks in the shallows.

How do I pack for this trip?
Your guides need to keep the boats light and maneuverable so there is limited space for personal gear. Comprehensive packing lists are available on each itinerary for this trip, but the general rule is pack light. On the river, practicality, comfort and convenience trump style. A good way to judge how you are doing with packing for a lodge-to-lodge trip is to obtain a paper grocery bag and put all of your “lodge clothes” in it. If they can all fit in one bag, you are doing well!

As these trips run during the Fall, weather can be variable in Oregon so we recommend bringing clothes to layer and choosing synthetic fabrics over cotton. Good rain gear is incredibly important as well as polypro long underwear, wool socks, synthetic layering pieces, puffy jacket, hat, beanie, polarized sunglasses, quick drying shorts/pants and a sturdy pair of shoes for camp/around the lodge. Weather can be anything from rainy and cold to blue skies, sunny and warm during the fall, so come prepared for anything.

The Wild and Scenic Rogue River is one of the most unique and sought after river float trips in the country.

The Rogue River is famous for its supercharged “half-pounder” steelhead. They are plentiful in the Rogue and are fun to catch using a variety of different fly tactics.

Guest’s will experience some of the most technical and exciting whitewater in the lower 48 while floating down the Rogue.

Delicious homemade meals are the norm.

This is a great venue for steelhead  fly fishing, whether swinging with spey rods, single handed rods, or nymphing.