Mike Slagle is a guide for Orange Torpedo Trips. “I grew up in Grants Pass and I am ashamed to say we floated the river in innertubes when I was a kid – WITHOUT LIFE JACKETS!” His neighbor, who worked for OTT and Jerry Bentley, introduced him to guiding. That was in 1972 and he’s been guiding ever since. Mike taught High School Math from 1974 to 2004 and now spends his off season as a volunteer at the Food Bank, Grants Pass High School, or fishing the Rogue.
How are you connected to the Rogue River?
I am a river guide for Orange Torpedo Trips.
How long have you been working on the Rogue?
2016 will be my 45th summer.
What do you enjoy about working on the Rogue?
I still enjoy the scenery and the isolation. Once I pass Grave Creek, I feel like I am 10,000 miles away from civilization
Do you have a favorite place on the Rogue?
I have two. One is Marial Lodge. The other is below Blossom Bar after I have made it safely!
Is there a sense of community on the Rogue?
Yes. The people who live and work on the river are aware of its unique qualities and work to keep it the way it is.
Has the Rogue influenced your life?
It has been a large part of my life. My family and kids all worked on the river and even though they live 250-800 miles away, they always want to go on the river when they come home.
What is the personality of the Rogue River?
To me, the river seems beautiful and peaceful, but there is always something right below the surface. You can enjoy the Rogue, but never turn your back on her, or disrespect her.
Like anyone who has been on the river long enough, I have had my share of instances where the river taught me a lesson (got stuck on a rock). I really believe that I learn something new on every trip that I take.
Any last words?
I enjoy the beauty and isolation of the Rogue. I also enjoy how the river “equalizes” us all. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how many times you have been down, the river treats us all the same.