An Adventurous Float Trip Down Oregon's Rogue River
The Helfrich family is literally etched into the history of modern drift boat design and running the classified rivers of the northwest. Tight Lines has been family owned and operated since 1925 and is currently owned by Jeff Helfrich. Jeff has assembled a crew of true river masters – of the most professional drift boat oarsmen known in the northwest! Jeff and Tight Lines operate a multi-night trip down a 42 mile stretch of the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River in the coastal mountains of Oregon. On a trip down the Rogue River, you will experience breathtaking class 3 and 4 rapids, beautiful scenery and typically cooperative fish! You will spend 3 nights in perfectly situated wilderness lodges and 4 days on the river. The main focus of the fishing is for the ‘Half Pounder’ (juvenile steelhead). The Rogue River trip with Tight Lines is ideal for groups, families, and fly anglers of all skill levels!
Each night on the Rogue River trip you stay at a different riverside wilderness lodge. They are nothing super fancy, but offer clean and comfortable beds, hot showers, and great food!
Night #1 – Black Bar Lodge
Black Bar Lodge was named after gold miner William Black. Black was murdered near this property, put into his boat and shoved off down the river. The mining claim here dates back to the late 1800s and the property was actively mined until the early 1930s. Miners built the lodge in 1932 and are currently used as a stopover by anglers and other river enthusiasts. Each cabin has two twin beds in clean and comfortable rooms, with hot showers and breakfast and dinner are cooked and served by the Tightlines Staff!
Night #2 – Marial Lodge
The lodge and the community of Marial were named after the first proprietress of the lodge, Marial Billings Akesson. Marial was raised on the river and operated Marial Lodge until 1967. The lodge now accommodates hikers in the spring, rafters through the summer, and commercial fishing trips in the fall. The lodge has always been known for its good old-fashion family hospitality and there are usually some other guests to add to the social setting! Each of the lodging units has two twin beds and family-style breakfast and dinner are served in the main lodge
Night #3 – Illahe Lodge
Illahe Lodge is a fourth generation family business that has been providing lodging with meals to people visiting Oregon’s Rogue River since 1942. The lodge grows much of the produce that is served in their large garden and orchards. Lodging is in a variety of room configurations and there are double beds available! Dinner is typically a Thanksgiving style feast with eggs to order in the morning!
Food and Beverages
All meals are home cooked, western cuisine, and served family style. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room at each lodge and lunch are on the water with your guide. The Tight Lines staff typically does the meals on the first night at Black Bar Lodge.
Lunches on the Rogue River are a memorable experience, featuring fresh-caught hatchery steelhead or salmon broiled over hardwood coals along with a selection of fresh salads. Breakfasts and dinners at the comfortable wilderness lodges we stop at each of the three nights along the river.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
The whitewater is certainly adventurous and the trip is very popular with non-anglers! The scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities are endless making for great photography! There are also several trails in the canyon for hiking.
Internet / Communications
There is no internet or cell phone service while in the Canyon and no telephones are accessible until the third night at Illahe Lodge. The Tight Lines staff does carry a satellite phone for emergencies.
How To Get There
The most direct way to travel is to fly into Medford, OR (MFR) and then rent a car for the 45-minute drive over to Grants Pass, OR.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Guests will want to arrive the night before your launch date and spend the night at a hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon or at a Riverside Lodge even closer to the launch point. Tight Lines recommends the following locations for that room night:
Riverside Motel: 1-800-334-4567
Galice Resort: 541-476-3818
Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge: 1-800-826-1963
An Oregon state fishing license with a salmon and steelhead is required for fishing on the Rogue. Short term licenses are available online at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
From its origin in the High Cascades near Crater Lake, the Rogue River carves its way through Oregon’s rugged coastal Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and is a national “Wild and Scenic River.” The Rogue River Canyon is full of breathtaking scenery and whitewater! There are several class 3 and 4 rapids that you cover during the four-day trip. The history, wildlife viewing opportunities, and whitewater are easily as much fun as the fishing!
Fishing on the Rogue offers an exciting opportunity for anglers of all skill levels. The Tight Lines guides are specifically targeting the half-pounder steelhead using the famous Rogue River “twitch”. The boats are all set up to accommodate two anglers in each. The clients sit side by side in the front and there is not a seat in the stern for safety reasons. When fishing the “twitch” both anglers swing their flies out of each side of the boat while the guide works the boat back and forth across the run. This is a great way to get beginners and kids into fish right away! The half pounders do respond to surface flies and can be caught by dead drifting dries and covering pocket water along the way. The guides are very accommodating and use several different techniques, but the “twitch” is certainly one of the most popular!
The average steelhead and the targeted fish are half-pounders in the 14-16 inch range. There is very occasionally adult steelhead in the 4–8-pound range are caught as well. The river also does get a fall run of salmon and when chinook or coho salmon are available, the guides will target them with gear if you are interested. The salmon are rarely caught on flies.
Boats and Equipment Required
The guides are fishing clients out of Makenzie style drift boats, with 2 anglers per boat. While drifting and fishing from the boat, both anglers sit side by side in the front. A raft is used as a gear boat and to transport lunch each day. There is not a seat in the stern of the boats for safety reasons. A 5 or 6 weight fly rod with both a floating line and a short intermediate sink tip is the preferred rig for the half-pounders.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the outfitter.
$2,100.00 per person (based on at least 2 anglers)
2020 Trip Dates
Sept 1 – 4
Sept 6 – 9
Sept 11 – 14
Sept 16 – 19
Sept 21 – 24
Sept 26 – 29
Oct 1 – 4
Oct 6 – 9
Oct 11 – 14
Oct 16 – 19
Oct 21 – 24
Oct 26 – 29
Oct 31 – Nov 3
Nov 3 – 5
Nov 5 – 8
Nov 10 – 13
– (4) days of guided fishing (2 anglers per drift boat)
– (3) nights of outfitted camping/lodging (double occupancy room)
– All meals, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and dinner wine
– Use of rod/reel, flies, and tackle (we always suggest bringing your own)
– River usage fees
– Transportation to Grants Pass day before the trip starts
– Hotel and meals in Grants Pass day before the trip starts
– Transportation to the put-in (Grave Creek) on the first day of the trip
– Shuttle cost for your rental/personal vehicle to the take-out (Hog Eddy)
– Oregon fishing licenses and permits
– Liquor and any other specialty drinks or mixers (BYO)
– Transportation from the take-out back to Medford on last day of the trip
– Gratuities for outfitting crew
– Hotel, meals, etc on the day the trip ends