Sunday, August 21, 2011

Umpqua and Winchester Bay Mini Vacation Fun Times - Smallmouth Bass and Dungeness Crabs Galore

From last Thursday through Saturday, I had a mini vacation with Nikki and we took Filbert along. We hit the mainstem Umpqua River for smallmouth bass and the fishing was pretty good out there. We took a lot of fish sight nymphing on a smaller sized "steelhead nymph" called a Vitamin-D (chartreuse). It was the very best fly throughout the day, taking the most bass.
Filbert was getting in on the action with the Umpqua River Smallmouth Bass
We caught fish mostly with the method of sight nymphing using the Vitamin D fly, and occasionally we used a larger heavier fly called "Mr. Wiggles", which is a peacock dubbed body and has a hot salmon pink colored beadhead with a bunch of white rubber legs tied like a hula skirt behind the bead. It is easy to tie, and fishes well, but this day it was the ticket in the deeper drop off spots only. The water was very warm and felt perfect for swimming in between catching bunches of fish and needing cool down breaks.
Super warm wet wading and perfect weather with nobody out except for us
We were lucky too, with the average fish being very nice in size, and we ended up catching a few of this size.....
One of several very nice smallmouth bass caught on the Umpqua River
We then drove to Winchester Bay and wanted to clam, crab, and hopefully fish off the jetties (wind pending). The wind ended up being a total bust for throwing shooting heads and large flies off of the sketchy jetty rocks; so we decided crabbing would be a safer call. It turns out that it was a stellar plan. We ended up scoring in a wonderful way with dungeness crabs.
After a while, this was an average crab pot; with some being stuffed full.
We would pull up the pot, and each time there was a better catch than the previous crab pot! We had a few pots that were so stuffed full; where we would see a crab hanging from the outside, and the pot couldn't fit anymore crabs in it! It was really a blast seeing the bounty of the ocean, and doing very well out there crabbing for dungeness. It was cold and windy, but a totally awesome, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon being restricted from tossing our flies in the water for rockfish.
Bundled up with too layers for summer; while pulling a trap full of dungeness crab
We ended up clamming afterward for some purple varnish clams, and we scored again. We collected enough for a dinner along with the crab, and we headed off to prepare our bounty. We had a wonderful time away from the city, and going to the part of the state that many Portlanders do not visit too often. When we got back, we had to prepare our bounty; cooking up the crabs and   steaming the clams. We pulled it off, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. Oh, and this night that I am writing this entry, I just ate some homemade crab cakes that were totally amazing. Hope you are out enjoying the summer!!
Fresh purple varnish clams and dungeness crab from the harvested bounty


  1. Winchester Bay crabbing is awesome. Had a blast down there last year with some friends - and that was some of the tastiest crab I've had in a long time. Should've thought to go clamming too...

    Your Umpqua posts have me itching to get down that way and chase the smallies - but it might be next year before I can actually pull that one off :( Guess I'll have to settle for chasing them around the Columbia, Willamette, and Hagg Lake for now. Great pix - keep 'em coming!

  2. Wow ... I want to have an experience like that. I love it! I want to catch big crabs and fishes.
    Ob-course I want to eat them also... yum-yum :)