The Steamboater Whistle



 North Umpqua River, Oregon

Upcoming Club Events
The winter social is in Roseburg, March 9, 2013 with fly fishing guide Scott Howell presenting.
In This Issue
Station Hole History
President's Message
The Tiger Paw
Poaching Incident at Steamboat Falls
Log Bridge across North Umpqua Zeke Allen's fish camp  near Camp Water 
North Umpqua History: The Station Hole

The "Station Hole" was one of the first pools named on what is now the Fly Water of the North Umpqua River.  The hole was named by one of the early folks that fished on that section of the river.  More than likely the hole was named by Joe DeBernardi, Zeke Allen, Ward Cummins or one of the early Forest Service employees that spent their summers in the area.


The original Guard Station at Steamboat was built roughly where the Steamboat road and Highway 138 now intersect.  The guard station was located a few feet north and above what was and is one of the greatest holding pools for steelhead in the world.  The proximity of the guard station to the pool is why the pool was called the "Station Hole".  People at the guard station placed some 12"x 6" planks out to the ledge where the North Umpqua water and the Steamboat water came together in order to get their own water and to fish the pool without getting wet.  As a result, some folks referred to the pool as the "Plank Pool".


The Guard Station was also a gathering point for the old ground return telephone lines that came down from different parts of the Forest before continuing down to the Boundary Guard Station and on to Roseburg.  The location of the Boundary Guard Station was immediately south of the property now owned by the Goforths (who are Steamboaters).  In addition to the structures above the Station Hole there was a family residence on Steamboat Creek just above the old log bridge (see image below) that spanned Steamboat Creek (a short distance above the present Hwy 138 bridge), a warehouse, stables and packers cabin on a small flat up Steamboat Creek where Steamboat Inn now has some small cabins.


Frank Moore

 Log Bridge across North Umpqua

 Zeke Allen's fish camp  near Camp Water


President's Message from Len Volland



     The turnout for the summer picnic was a little shy this year with several regulars being out of town. Information was shared about the Tioga Bridge project, the upcoming coastal conservation plan, escapement past Steamboat Falls ladder and projected macroinvertebrate sampling of significant North Umpqua reaches this autumn.

 Left to right: Joe Ferguson, Frank Moore and Pat McRae at picnic Aug. 2012




         Gregg Morgan, BLM, discusses Tioga Bridge project  downstream from picnic 


     Some of the buzz during the picnic related to fish management within Oregon, i.e. very little input is being solicited from the consuming public. Two cases in point are the alteration of water temperatures on the Deschutes River during July and August (see note below), and second, whether limiting factors to fish production in the Umpqua River basin will be addressed in the Conservation Plan. My own experience with Federal agencies is that they are regulated by a host of laws and regulations which force them to articulate every aspect of their management direction, which at times ends in a legalizable decision. Where is this leverage with state conservation agencies?

     In early October a few Steamboaters volunteered to help Bob Wisseman collect macroinvertebrates across several spawning tributaries of the North Umpqua River.   Copeland Creek was running a trickle when we visited but several springers were working their way upstream to spawn.  Then the sampling team discussed the significance of the Fish Creek drainage while visiting that site.  When the Soda Springs ladder becomes operational eight more miles of river would be available to spawning fish.  Will we eventually see an increased fish count over Winchester Dam?

     Sometimes it takes a trip away from home to appreciate what blessings you do have.  I recently drifted the Sacramento River with a fishing buddy, Tom Vallier, between Redding and Anderson.  It's a great tailwater trout fishery and we floated over salmon redds at almost every tailout.  We caught several rainbows exceeding 20 inches.  But it is also a water playground for power boats and jet skiers resulting in obvious conflicts with driftboat fly fisherman.  Tom, who was raised in this area, noticed a significant increase of an aquatic plant growing from the streambed the last mile above the Anderson takeout.  Nymph drifting was near impossible.  The plant wasn't noticeable when he last drifted this section three years ago.   The next day we discussed this invasion with two California fish biologists who indicated a effluent discharge from an upstream sewage treatment plant maybe the culprit.  Seems like not a year goes by that something challenges the integrity of the North Umpqua watershed and its fishery.  Without the presence of the Steamboaters and their partners, local sportsman groups and conservation organizations, where would we be?


Note: Just off the press, the winter 2013 edition of Flyfishing and Tying Journal, Frank Amato Publications,  page 58-63, discusses the Selective Water Withdrawal tower at Round Butte Dam on the Deschutes River.

Aquatic Macroinvertebrates-What  are they?

     The Forest Plan for the Umpqua National Forest contains a number of monitoring elements designed to assess existing conditions and the effectiveness of management actions on protecting or restoring the functioning of rivers and streams over time.  Some aquatic monitoring elements include: operating stream gauges, measuring summer water temperatures, conducting stream surveys, operating outmigrant smolt traps, conducting adult salmon and steelhead spawning surveys, and collecting aquatic macroinvertebrate samples.  Macroinvertebrate sampling is a biosurvey that involves the collecting, processing, identifying, and analyzing  stream organisms to determine the health of the biological community.


     Macroinvertebrates are organisms that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye and lack a backbone.  They inhabit all types of running water, from fast-moving  mountain streams to large, slow moving muddy rivers.  Examples include the larval forms of insects, crayfish, clams, mussels, snails, and worms.   Most live all or part of their life in and around submerged rocks, logs, and vegetation.  Many live in streambed substrate, with particle size ranging from fine silt, through gravel and cobbles, and up to large boulders.


     Macro's are good indicators of stream quality, often better than vertebrate species because they are sensitive to pollution such as abnormal water temperatures, sediment regimes, organic material and toxic chemical inputs.  Macro's are often better indicators  than most vertebrates because they are abundant, relatively stationary, reproduce fairly rapidly, are  generally not harvested and are sensitive to different degrees of pollution.  The basic principle is that some species are more sensitive to some forms of pollution than other species.  For instance, if a stream is inhabited by organisms that can tolerate high water temperatures, and the intolerant species are absent, then water temperature is likely a problem.


     A biomonitoring protocol for the Umpqua Forest Plan was developed in the late 1980's that took into account elevations, geology, and hydrologic regimes of the Forest.  It is a very sensitive protocol that is able to identify relatively small changes.  Each stream sampled (from 15 to  over 30 in number) is its own baseline from which changes are monitored over time. The Umpqua protocol is unique among other commonly used biosurveys in that  it collects organisms from three different habitats within a stream: erosional habitat, stream margins, and organic detritus.  The protocol is also more specific by identifying organisms to Genus  or Species level since identification to the Family or Order taxonomic level would contain both tolerant and intolerant species making the analysis less sensitive to perturbations.   A  measure of biotic and habitat integrity for each sample stream is determined over time by comparing scores from all three sample types.


     Macro sampling was conducted on the Umpqua Forest from 1987 until 200l.  After that, due to budgetary constraints, monitoring was spotty with 2004 being the last year collections were made.  With the support of Steamboaters, the Forest Service approved three years of funding for approximately 15 sites, to begin in 2012, using the North Umpqua Hydropower Mitigation Fund.


Jeff Dose


Josh Voynick and Alan Baumann scrubbing streambed 

   Josh Voynick and Alan Baumann scrubbing streambed in Steamboat Creek

 The Tiger Paw Streamer - Joe Howell

Tail - black hackle fibers


 Body - #2 or #3 black chenille


 Rib - copper Diamond Braid


 Hackle - dyed black saddle hackle

 Wing - Hareline #03 Florescent Fire Orange Krystal Flash


     In the mid to late eighties Hareline Dubbin, Inc. introduced Krystal Flash to the fly tying world. It was available in a myriad of colors, most of which Bob Borden custom dyed using the original natural pearl material. As with most fly tiers, when something new hit the fly tying world I had to get a few colors to play with.


     The first fly pattern that I developed using Krystal Flash as the wing was the Tiger Paw with the orange wing and copper rib. Soon to follow was the Purple Tiger (dark purple Krystal Flash wing with a purple Diamond Braid rib) and the Red Tiger (red Krystal Flash wing and red Diamond Braid rib).


     I was still guiding in the nineteen eighties and nineties. When I developed the Tiger Paw it filled the bill for a quick to tie effective fly... black with extra flash! A great change-over fly.


     The original Tiger Paw was without a tail. Just a quarter inch copper tag and rib on the black chenille body. It was the way I sold them in the Blue Heron Fly Shop. However, people can be a little bit funny at times. I could not believe how many times customers would ask "How come there's no tail on the fly?" sometimes only to put it back in the bin. No sale! It was then that I decided flies needed to catch customers too! It was 'different looking', but that was the point. The steelhead liked it! Create a different shape to show them. Anyway, the second year the Tiger Paw sported no tag and a nice tail of black hackle fibers. Sales doubled, but more importantly the fish still liked it.


     One other note of importance concerning the wing. I have seen Tiger Paws tied by others using the gold Krystal Flash. I do think the transparency of the orange wing is an important element in the design of the fly. If you hold it overhead and move the fly right to left or vice versa, you will notice the wing changes color as light passes through it at different angles. With a gold wing it is more of a silhouette that eventually produces a flash at a given angle in the sun.  


     The hooks I generally use are TMC 7999 or TMC 700 size #6 to #1/0.


     I've had reports of the Tiger Paw's effectiveness from rivers in B.C. to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. A number of years ago Bill Logan and I were fishing on Idaho's Clearwater River. The Tiger Paw accounted for a couple of nice steelhead. On the Umpqua it has repeatedly produced steelhead. My personal preference for hook size is #2 or #1/0. While fishing for half pounders on Oregon's Rogue River size #8 or #6 would be a better choice.


      On one occasion I was fishing over a nice steelhead on the North Umpqua at the Deadline pool. It was about one in the afternoon in bright sun. I fished a couple of patterns over the steelhead without success. The third fly through was a Tiger Paw. On the second cast the fly was four feet past the steelhead when suddenly she turned and chased after it. She seized the fly and shook it savagely, and I set the hook. As Dale Greenley would say, 'Fish On!' When I eventually slid the fish to hand, there was my huge #1/0 Tiger Paw in the corner of her jaw. A beautiful eight to nine pound hen, all bright and silver.



     Try the Tiger Paw, you will like it:




 Tiger Paw Streamer 






 Lee Spencer, watchdog of Big Bend Pool, and Bill Ladner, the Nevada nomad, discussing the definition of a half-pounder. July 2012




Poaching At Steamboat Falls - Eric Figura


      As you may be aware, they rebuilt the fish ladder at Steamboat Falls this summer. You may not be aware, however, that one of the contractors working on the construction of the fish ladder was illegally fishing in the pool below the falls. The incident was witnessed by two North Umpqua Ranger District firefighters, Scott Hand and Tad Neibel, who tipped off the police. As a consequence a poacher was arrested and charged two days later.


     On July 11th, Scott and Tad were enjoying a swim and hiking on the bedrock below the falls when they saw a man fishing in the pool below the falls. They yelled, "Hey, you aren't allowed to fish there!". The poacher continued fishing and after two casts he hooked and landed a steelhead just above the tailout below the falls. When he walked down the bedrock to the pool to (thankfully) release the fish, Scott approached closer. There was a heated exchange between Scott and the poacher. When Scott yelled at him about fishing, the poacher retorted that they weren't allowed to swim. When Scott questioned him about why it would be illegal to swim, the man told him that it was because of the construction on the fish ladder. He knew about the ladder because, as he boasted, he was one of the contractors constructing the ladder.


     The morning after the exchange, Scott and Tad told the story about the poacher during the morning fire crew briefing. After hearing the account, the Fire Management Officer contacted the North Umpqua Law Enforcement Officer and I contacted the Oregon State Police. I followed up with a phone call on July 13th and learned that the state officer apprehended a man for fishing at Steamboat Falls at 6:30 am that morning. I learned that the officer witnessed him catching a steelhead before charging him with angling in a closed stream, unlawful taking of trout, and unlawful possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. The good news is that the poacher was apprehended, briefly taken to jail, and will go to court and be fined. We can't be sure it was the same person but we know that at least the police acted on the report and that someone was arrested for poaching.


About Us
PO Box 41266
Eugene, Oregon 97404

The mission of the Steamboaters is to preserve, promote, and restore the unique aesthetic values, the natural production of wild fish population, and the habitat that sustains them on the North Umpqua River.