Written by Larry Wells
(First published in Southwest Airlines “Spirit” Magazine, June 1996)
“It ought to be a guarantee that I am honest and sincere about this noble river, practically unknown to the world, when I confess that I have given up the Rogue, and the fishing lodges I own at Winkle Bar on the most beautiful and isolated stretch, to camp and fish and dream and rest beside the green-rushing, singing Umpqua.” ZANE GREY
Our guide Tim Caine arrives at 6 sharp, country rock playing on his jeep radio. “There’s coffee and muffins on the back seat if you want ‘em.” He’s in his late twenties, lean, tanned, a fish charmer who enjoys his work. By six-thirty the mist over the river has disappeared and the Douglas firs on the tops of the ridges are framed in golden light. Standing on the steep boulder-strewn banks with my fishing compadre, P.D. Fyke, I make out a ghostly shape in the clear water. “That’s steelhead,” says Tim. It takes an experienced eye to spot the fish under the foamy, rippling surface. The steelhead rolls on its side, and a bullet-shape flashes silver in the green water.
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