Sep 20th, 2017
Winter steelhead are amazing creatures and fly fishing for them is a pinnacle experience in our sport. The challenges are many: large fish, incredible fights, cold water and often inclement weather all combine to make winter steelhead fishing a test of one’s resolve and source of great pride and accomplishment when one’s efforts are rewarded. Winter steelheading is never a numbers game, but the memories that come from even a single take can certainly last a lifetime. With the advancements in gear and tackle, its becoming easier than ever to get your fly in front of these remarkable fish. There are many rivers in the Pacific Northwest that harbor winter steelhead. Below you will see some of our favorite destinations and guides that together will increase your odds at connecting with this incredible fish.
For more information about the winter steelhead of the pacific northwest give David a call at 800.552.2729
Clackamas River Lodge
The Clackamas River Lodge program is the ultimate all-inclusive Winter/Spring steelhead experience. The small group size of four anglers makes for an intimate experience and the staff is on hand to take care of every detail. The Clackamas River begins as a high alpine stream in the Northern Oregon Cascade Mountains before desending over 80 miles to the west where it eventually meets the tidally influenced Willamette River in Oregon City. The river’s classic and seductive water along with its chrome bright steelhead are all conveniently close to the Portland Airport.
Dillon Renton is not your average steelhead guide. At 25 years of age, he is younger than many but when you factor in that he caught his first steelhead on a fly at age eight and began professionally guiding at 16, it doesn’t take long to figure out that he has had more practical experience than many guides twice his age. During the winter fishing program there will be multiple angling options available. These options include traditional swing fishing in the fly water as well as drift boat floats on the lower reaches of the North where guests can indicator fish, swing fish or both. When it comes to having a crack at some of Oregon’s largest winter steelhead, this private four-person venue will prove hard to beat. The four-person winter program runs during the prime months of February and March. Anglers will stay in comfortable rental homes along the river and have all meals prepared by their guide crew.
Northern Oregon Coast
From January through April, the rivers surrounding the greater Tillamook Bay region on the Northern Oregon coast transform into some of the most productive and seductive winter steelhead rivers in North America. Structurally they are a “swing” fisherman’s paradise and the quarry is almost always sea bright, wild, and willing to chase a well swung fly. To compliment these rivers and the hearty handsome steelhead they sustain, we have tracked down two of the finest winter steelhead guides in the West, namely Scott O’Donnell and Chris O’Donnell (no relation). Not only do they know the intricacies and moods of their local systems, they are also among the most sought after spey casting instructors in the nation.
Washington’s Olympic Peninsula looms large in the minds of steelhead anglers wanting to tangle with some of the strongest races of steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. The Peninsula’s big coastal rivers are tailor-made for the swung fly, and leave anglers anxiously awaiting the arrival of winter. The Peninsula’s revered steelhead rivers; the Sol Duc, Calawah, Bogachiel, Hoh and Queets all flow from the Olympic mountains through lush rainforests, eventually joining the Pacific Ocean. From January through April, some of the Northwest’s largest returns of steelhead make their way into these rivers, headed for spawning grounds in the long shadows of the Olympics.