Steelhead, Winter Steelhead
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Spey, Wading
February - March
Fishing Days
3 - 4
Why We Go
  • Fish and float the rivers of the Umpqua Basin
  • Target bright, strong wild winter steelhead on the fly
  • Improve your skills as a steelhead angler and Spey caster
  • Experience both swinging flies while wading and fishing out of the boat while floating
  • Enjoy the diversity and scenic beauty of the Umpqua Valley

From January through March, Oregon’s famed Umpqua River transforms into a brilliant winter steelhead system that is home to some of the largest anadromous specimens in the west. Renton River Adventures trips are ideally suited for anglers of all skill levels, including those wanting to fish the lower reach of the Umpqua River with indicators from the boat as well as those keen to swing flies in the famous Fly Only section. For those looking for the wild, winter steelhead of a lifetime, this is the venue.

Fishing Program

Guide days with Renton River Adventures are a mix of walk-and-wade, drift boat and raft fishing. Depending on the plan for the day, anglers may start the day swinging, and if you choose indicator fish between runs. Walk-and-wade days are athletic, requiring multiple trips up and down the riverbank and sometimes difficult wading. Drift boat days can be mix of indicator tactics from the boat and swinging flies with two-handed rods; anglers have their choice, and the guides discuss options upon arrival. Swinging flies in the winter generally involves some combination of heavy sink-tips and/or large heavy flies. The rigging and presentation might be slightly different than on other rivers, but the guides walk through the whole process to be sure that guests are fishing with the correct presentation in prime water. Indicator tactics are simple rigs designed to dead drift egg imitations through the many slots and ledges.

The Renton’s are consummate professionals who are dedicated to this special fishery. Winter steelhead in the Umpqua region from five to 15 pounds, with the average steelhead coming in at six to nine pounds. Like most steelhead fishing, an angler should consider 2 good “pulls” or encounters a good day on the water. These are extremely hard-fighting steelhead that swim in a swift, steep river so any fish hooked is always memorable and rewarding.


Renton River Adventures will contact you near your trip dates to set a plan as to where to stay. Trips are basically centered in two towns, Roseburg, or Reedsport. Roseburg is the choice when the upriver sections are fishing best and guests will stay in Reedsport when the lower systems are fishing best. There are several small and simple motels in each. Meals will be eaten at the local restaurants. Guests may choose the option of an Air B&B with kitchen to cook on their own

  • Day 1: Arrive at the lodging of your choice in the evening (about 5:00 PM) and overnight.
  • Day 2 - 3: Full days of guided fishing.
  • Day 4: Full day of guided fishing. Depart after fishing.
Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per boat

Day Trip: $650 per day for 1 or 2 anglers

Included: Guided fishing, rods/reels, flies and/or terminal tackle.

Not Included: Accommodations, meals, waders and studded boots, alcohol, guide gratuities.

Species: Steelhead

Season: January - March

Capacity: 2 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? This destination is best for guests who are comfortable with colder winter conditions and for those looking for chances at large winter steelhead. The venue can be great for anglers seeking a walk and wade swing trip all with two handed rods or those keener on fishing from the boat with indicators and single hand rods. Being flexible and having a go-with-the-flow mentality is also important with this program, as conditions will always dictate where and how you will be fishing each day.

How do I get there? Guests can fly into Medford, Eugene or even Portland, OR. A rental car will be needed to drive the remaining distance to your accommodations. There are two primary towns guests will stay mostly Roseburg, but sometime Reedsport. The conditions at the time will dictate where your guide will prefer you to stay. Your guide will be in touch about a week prior to confirming the details.

When should I go? January - March are considered the most consistent months. It must always be known that when dealing with anadromous fish and winter weather, conditions can dictate success. The good news here is the outfitter fishes a few different rivers, and even has a few smaller systems to choose from if inclement weather makes water conditions difficult for fishing the primary rivers.

How will I fish? The guides are well versed in swinging flies with two handed rods and indicator tactics with single hand rods. The choice will be yours as to what tactics you would like to employ. Conditions can also dictate what tactic will be best for your days of fishing. Dillon Renton will always put his clients in the best possible situations for success.

Is there wade fishing? Yes, as much or as little as you would like (also condition dependent). Most guests ask for a mix of both, as this allows for more coverage of the waters and adds diversity to the experience.

Where will I fish? The outfitter offers walk/wade trips on the fly fishing only waters of the North Umpqua River through one of only ten special use permits. This section of river has some 30 miles of accessible water. Below the fly fishing only section, Dillon will float several beats of the North and South Umpqua Rivers that offer options to swing flies with two handed rods or indicator fish out of the boat. There are also a few smaller nameless coastal rivers where you may fish in the right conditions.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Depending on conditions, driving times could be anywhere from 20 minutes to about an hour.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Winter-run steelhead.

How many fish will I catch? The hope would be for a fish a day, but more or less than that is possible as is the case with any steelhead venue.

Will I see other anglers? It is likely you will see other anglers. The fly fishing only water offers a bit more solitude, while the lower section of river is larger and a mixed-use community of anglers. While not overly crowded when compared to other rivers, you should expect to see some other boats sharing the water around here.

What are the guides like? Dillon Renton has been fishing the Umpqua Basin from a young age. He is eager to share his passion for this area and its fish. He is an excellent communicator and instructor, offering great advice on how and why you are presenting the fly in the water you are fishing. He knows the area very well and knows where to be and when based on conditions.

What are the physical demands? The fly-fishing only section of river occasionally requires guests to traverse steep banks, wade challenging water and even walk some distance to access certain runs. With that said, the trip can be catered to those that wish only to fish out of the boat or even walk and wade easily accessed runs. The smaller coastal rivers may require your assistance in the shuttle and launch process.

Are there any special skills required? No.

Does the outfitter provide equipment? Rods/reels and all terminal tackle will be provided. Waders and boots are not provided. Boots with clean felt and studs are recommended. Guests also need to bring their own licenses and tags.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A 12 to 13-foot 8-weight is the best all-around Spey rod equipped with a Skagit head and an assortment of sink tips. A 10 foot 8-weight single handed rod with a weight forward indicator floating line for the boat fishing is best. Note that the guides offer a full quiver of rods to match the water conditions.

What are the top flies? Intruder style flies for swinging and egg patterns for the boat-based angling.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Winter steelhead fishing is a high risk, high reward pursuit. Unfortunately, during the winter in Oregon, conditions can change rapidly causing rivers to quickly rise or become off-color. The good news is that the outfitter has a very good understanding of this system and can typically find clean water to fish somewhere, even if it means driving a bit further each day. Additionally, the outfitter can typically tell at least a few days in advance if water conditions will not be suitable or safe to fish. In these circumstances, the outfitter can typically reschedule your trip with a small cancellation fee to cover the fixed costs of lodging and meals.

What is a typical day like? Guests typically wake up early to meet their guide at the predetermined time. The guides will want to be on the water at sunup in most cases. You will float, walk, and wade for your day of fishing. Expect 6 to 8 hours on the water.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere? Relaxed.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? The meals will be on your own. Air B&B’s offer the option to cook your own meals.

What is the alcohol policy? This is a BYOB trip. Feel free to bring whatever you would like. There will be plenty of cooler space and ice available.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The accommodation and meals are on your own. There are some hotels, motels, and rentals in the area.

Is there internet and/or cell service? Wi-Fi is dependent on your chosen accommodations. Cell coverage is spotty on the rivers.

Are there other activities? No, this is a destination designed and catered to anglers looking to spend long days on the water targeting winter steelhead in potentially cold and wet conditions.

Are there any other expenses? Oregon fishing license and steelhead tag, guide gratuities, alcohol, transportation to/from the accommodations.

Do I need a visa? No.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? The rivers here have some tough wades and steep banks to navigate, the flows can become too high for safe and decent fishing conditions. Your outfitter will make that call.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip