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. Scott's credentials include a lifetime dedicated to chasing anadromous fish, designing the Rio Skagit lines, and recognition as the preferred demonstration caster for Sage Rods. For anyone interested in learning the art of spey casting stream side or simply fly fishing some of the finest winter steelhead water we have seen, this is a spectacular venue.
Tillamook Bay is located on the northern Oregon coast.
There are a number of excellent rivers on the northern Oregon coast that offer heathly runs of winter steelhead. Scott and Chris fly fish all of these systems depending on flows, time of year and preferences. All are floated and all fly fishing is done while wading. Scott and Chris greatly prefer swinging flies with spey rods. Both Scott and Chris will provide a custom supply of flies for your use.
This is true winter steelhead fishing, and as such, challenging weather conditions with relatively low catch rates are the norm. Under good conditions, two “pulls” or takes per person per day would be considered very acceptable. On the bright side, the wild coastal steelhead in the region are typically very bright and often large. Additionally, the rivers are very well suited to the fly and a great pleasure to fish.
Scott O’Donnell is an exceptionally talented and experienced guide. He has spent more than 20 seasons guiding in Alaska and more than 15 years guiding winter steelhead in the Tillamook region. Scott is sponsored by Sage, has been a part of designing the Rio “Skagit” lines and MOW tips, and is one of the nation's top spey instructors.
Chris O'Donnell has spent over a decade guiding and mastering the intricacies of these waters, is a valuable resource on these hard charging steelhead and is a sought after spey casting instructor.
Anglers are expected to help with the shuttles so please have gas in the tank and expect to do a bit of driving each day.
Accommodations and Meals:
Full service lodge packages- May be accommodated, dependent upon availability. The lodging consists of a large house and is a great location to enjoy post-fishing cocktails with views of the ocean and all the comforts of a high-end fishing lodge. Guests stay in double occupancy rooms and have meals in the spacious dining room. Meals are prepared on-site and feature a heavy emphasis on fresh, local seafood.
Day trips- Anglers are requested to overnight in Manzanita, Oregon where meals and accommodations are independently arranged (not included). Please give us a call for lodging recommendations. A hearty lunch will be provided for you on the river.
Day 1: Arrive in Manzanita and check in to your independtly selected accommodations (not inlcuded).
Days 2 – 5: Four full days of guided fishing.
Day 6: Depart for home or points beyond.
"Scott O'Donnell is a fantastic guide and an exceptional spey casting instructor. I'd fish with him again anytime. He was professional, courteous, hard working, and did his best to show us a great experience. His raft was well tended, had appropriate safety equipment, and he handled it masterfully. He had all the necessary equipment and went out of his way to suit me with waders and boots when mine sprung a leak. Lunch was simple and delicious including home made hot soup, sandwiches with cold cuts, bags of chips, and bottled drinks. He had us continue fishing during lunch set up and take down. I rate the experience as excellent because of Scott's attitude, casting instruction, and professionalism." M.G., PA
2019 Rates: $600 per day for 1 or 2 anglers
Included: Guiding, lunches, spey tackle (when requested), flies
Not Included: Round trip transportation, accommodations and meals off the river, gratuities, fishing licenses
Species: Winter steelhead
Season: February– April
Capacity: 6 anglers
Map: Tillamook, OR