Dale Fulton is from Ashland, Oregon and has spent a significant amount of time on the Rogue River. His family has a history of guiding on Southern Oregon rivers and Dale continues that tradition with his summer job as a guide for Indigo Creek Outfitters. When he’s not running whitewater, you might find Dale and his fly rod chasing steelhead.
How were you introduced to the Rogue River?
I grew up in the Rogue Valley and from an early age I was floating the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Rogue with my parents – one of them was a river guide for many years before I was born. At a young age I found a love for fishing, especially fly fishing, and now spend every chance I get floating the Rogue with friends or swinging a fly through Casey [State Park].
What do you like most about the Rogue?
I love how much variety the Rogue offers in terms of activities that cater to a very wide scope of people, from serious class V white water kayaking and boating through the upper river, to Jet Boating through Hell’s Canyon. There is a beauty about this river that everyone can appreciate.
Do you have a favorite place on the Rogue?
My favorite place on the entirety of the Rogue river would have to be the Mule Creek camp and the Rogue River Ranch. It is just such an incredible location for beautiful scenery, secret swimming holes along Mule Creek, incredible vibrant history chronicling the Rogue, and of course, the sounds of the river at night.
Does the Rogue River foster a sense of community?
The Rogue has the ability to bring everyone together. I have met some of my best friends while on the Rogue or simply through conversations about the Rogue. Everyone can just let loose and enjoy themselves, and once the river has a hold of you, nothing can bring you down. The community on the Rogue, particularly the Wild and Scenic stretch, is a group of adventurers enjoying a beautiful river and experience as one.
How has the Rogue River shaped your life?
The river has had a profound impact on my life, as I have spent more of my free time on the Rogue than I have anywhere else. It is the river I grew up on, I know it like the back of my hand, I love it more than anything else, it is where I go to get away from the chaos of life, it is where I go to reconnect with myself. The Rogue has had a larger impact on my life than any other place, person, or experience ever has.
Do you have a favorite memory from the Rogue?
Two years ago while camped at Whiskey Creek, I paddled across the river to Rum Creek to read and relax. The sun was starting to go down, I was sitting by the creek reading “Catcher in the Rye” and heard a twig crack behind me. When I looked back, there was a mountain lion making its way down to the river. It walked within 30 feet of where I was sitting, down to the river, leaned down and drank from the water, and then disappeared back into the trees behind me.
Any final thoughts?
The Rogue is a beautiful, secret, and surprising river. It is surprising in the way that it always has something completely new every time you explore it. The river is secret in the way that any river is – one can never completely understand any river – things are always changing, and things are always happening hidden from view, under the surface of the river and waves.