Best catches found close to Creswell

Mike received a McKenzie River fishing trip with guide Frank Armendariz as a gift from his mother, Bridget. It appears that the result was a memorable one. Frank Armendariz/The Anglers Log

Folks are seeing excellent fishing results for the warm-water fish species – bass, crappie and perch – that populate many ponds and lakes across Lane County, and a couple of nearby rivers, too.
The Florence area lakes and Dorena Reservoir near Cottage Grove are all notably dependable summer fisheries. But for this report, the best catching has been just south of the Lane County line, not far from Creswell on the Umpqua River. Smallmouth bass found their way into the Umpqua starting back in the 1970s. The result of unapproved stocking, the bass have thrived in the slow-moving warm water of the main river and in portions of the South Fork Umpqua, too.
From Umpqua Landing, just west of Sutherlin – and including several miles downriver of Elkton – the river holds incredible numbers of smallmouth and anglers often have 50-to-100 fish per day angling experiences.
With a good number of accessible places for bank anglers and a number of well-placed landings for boaters, reaching quality fishing action is generally easier than many lake fisheries.
There are a few rapids on the river, but in summer most flows tend to be modest and negotiable in a variety of small-river craft including drift boats, pontoon fishing rafts and sit-on-top fishing kayaks. The warm water does takes some of the hazard out of an unexpected swim, but always wear a life jacket.
Near-shore fishing out of the Port of Siuslaw continues to be good for hatchery coho and chinook. A lot of wild coho are being released, but many boats are coming in with limits of hatchery coho in combination with a few wild chinook.
I have been witness to a couple boats that were escorted back into the harbor by the Coast Guard; they were greeted by Oregon State Police at the dock and ticketed in front of a bunch of onlookers. To their credit, the violations were not game-related, but the captains in both instances neglected to ensure there were enough life jackets for all onboard.
On a more positive note, salmon fishing in the Siuslaw Bay opens today, Aug. 1. There is no bay fishery for wild coho this season – hatchery coho only. For wild chinook, it’s one per day of a two-salmon limit and five total for the season ending on Dec. 31.
Trout fishing has slowed across the county; warm weather and water has them sulking on the bottom of most lakes and ponds. The best bet for trout anglers would be to concentrate on the streams and rivers in the east part of Lane County.
Top of the list for trout is the McKenzie River, including Leaburg Lake. The fly fishing in the wild trout sections around Springfield has been ”lights out” in the evening and the fish have been big.
Further upriver, from Hendricks Wayside to Finn Rock landing the fishing has been equally rewarding. Limits of hatchery fish are common, along with strong-fighting wild redsides, which have to be released but are in good numbers this season in the upper McKenzie. In combination with both hatchery and wild fish, it’s a high-quality experience.

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