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best steelhead fishing...?

5757 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Hammer
all this talk of comparing fisheries, stocks etc, has got me thinking. What in your opinion is the best region in North America for Steelhead fishing? I honestly think washington state has to be the best winter run fishing (which is sad given the state of our runs). How about when you throw winters and summers into the mix? Lets think of general areas. Eg. Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Lower Columbia, Oregon Coast, Southern Oregon, Nor Cal, Middle Columbia (counting sandy here), Snake river, Fraser River, Vancouver Island/Lower Mainland, etc.

From what I've experienced I'd have to say Puget Sound isnt too bad. Big winter natives which are generally fairly fly friendly, and fishable numbers of summers including a smattering of natives.

Tell us why your region is the best...or not.

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Best all around winter and summer steelhead

Being located in Central Oregon(Bend) I vote for Oregon( yeah the whole damn state) for winter and summer fish. I can get to a lot of steelhead within a couple hours or less from here.There are literaly dozens of choices.The big ones are,the Columbia,Deschutes,John Day,Grande Rhonde,Imnaha, N and S Santiam, Willamete, Mckenzie, Sandy,Clackamas. Not to mention, the Siletz, Alsea, Nestucca, Siuslaw, Wilson,Trask, Nehalem.The North, South, and Main Umpqua drainage have a huge number of fish all by itself. Don't forget the Rogue,Applegate, Chetco, Elk,Sixes, and many of the smaller tributaries that are all open for steelhead fishing. I Know I left some out but that is a pretty good list.

Hey Rain,

"Best" is a very subjective term. Some people think it's about lots of fish, others think it's about BIG fish, others think it's about something else.

For me it's a Sept morning on the Clearwater (Idaho) fishing a dry line and a waker across the buckets in Poppy's Riffle.
Best is certainly not on any rivers that I fish. No matter what rivers I fish. In fact, I'm sure that the best fishing is always at least 2000 miles away from where ever I happen to be at the time.

MJC -- While certainly not the best, your example is damn fine. What I would not give to be there following you through.
The best is sittin' back in the boat with a hot cup of fresh coffee watching the sun rise over the snow capped peaks of the North Cascades after landing a winter run on the mixer or as the locals call it "the Suak bar". Sipping coffee watching the others cast their flies into the waters and wondering if this could be another multi fish day. And even if doesn't turn into a multi fish day there are few places I would rather be then the waters of the Skagit on a sunny spring day. Simply the best.
They all sound so good. So many places to fish and so little time. I'm a student, but I've got it sweet. No classes after 1120 tuesdays and thursdays. Nothing like a mild Northwest afternoon, no crowds and plenty of gorgeous water. Almost makes me for get there is a metropolis 45 minutes away.

Its funny how we find our selves yearning for what we cant have. I've been fishing winterruns like a mad man since december, and while I have no plans to let up, I can already feel those long summer/early falls days, wading wet and casting drylines. Of course by midsummer I'll be dreaming of winterruns...who knows.

MJC, couldnt agree more that best is subjective, thats why I want to hear everyones take. One things for sure though, it doesnt get much better than september on the clearwater.
Anytime that I can spend time on the river, that river is, for that moment, the "Best" steelhead river, ever.

- David

P.S. - don't forget that we have steelhead rivers in the Great Lakes, too! :chuckle:
If you're out for numbers, the Great Lakes region, and it's not even close. However, fishing in downtown Cleveland or the like isn't really what I'd call a rejuvinating experience. :hihi: That said, there are some beautiful rivers out there, Brule in Wisconsin is high on my list of great streams... fished that a lot for the couple years I lived in MN...

But I grew up in Oregon, so I'll vote for skating October Caddis patterns to summer fish...air temp of 80F, water temp of 55F, wet wading... pick your river... I don't think it gets any better than that...:D

Honorable mention to stalking small-stream wild winter steelhead...being the only one on a gorgeous stream in the rainforest when only a few miles away hundreds of 'fishermen' pound the 1/4 mile below the hatchery...
What Kerry said.
I like 'em all, but I've got to say that fishing in BC is the "way it should be". Bigger fish that are grabby and surface-oriented. Pretty hard to beat that.
yeah, cut down on bycatch on the fraser chum fishery and un-tangle the management mess that is the skeena and you've got yourself hands down the best steelheading in the world.

getting `summer' fish at the hatchery here,summers begin to enter anytime next month or two and `show' here(115miles upriver) in may,we have the summers covered!:smokin: ,winter fish,,,,i hate winter fish:chuckle: mostly because it's winter!:mad: if it's not snowing it's raining/high water or the dreaded drought scenario with icey nights and spooky fish and therefore the hot days are few and far between while the summer run can be found for months,and they are willing!,,as for a destination i live so close to the rogue it's tough to drive any place else but i'd love to visit some other waters,,i would agree with ANY steelhead water,,just came down hiway 101 from portland last weekend and i did see a lot of nice water,the Siletz looked real good,they all looked good except for ten mile crk,anglers standing elbow to elbow there,,i'd pick based on several factors=ease of access or remoteness of location or size of fish or size of the run,,i want chinook ala spey myself
"Best" is a subjective term of course. I like both steelheading in the fall with the crisp mornings and surface fishing later in the morning after the sun has warmed up everything and also spring steelheading with the trill of a varied thrush coming through the dark misty rainforest. If asked the question in those circumstances, the answer that I'd give in one might very likely be different from the the answer that I'd give in the other.

However, there are some things that wouldn't change about my answer in any case. The things that immediately spring to mind are:
  1. Lack of other anglers of any type
  2. A beautiful natural setting, free from the sounds of cars, boats, etc.
  3. Absolutely no hatchery fish in the river whatsover
shouldn't have any problems in alaska

finding solitude=?,,,that's where i'd go=quiet waters,,,theyre within driving distance but something about fishing the ghetto just ten minutes away does it for me,,i-5 with trucks blasting by,harleys,jet-skis,boston whalers out for a tour of the riffle,,,drug deals,winos,and people parking on the boatramp to feed the ducks,for an hour!,and the 3year going on 6 bridge construction project,,,:rolleyes: i always apreciate people testing their big block ski boats out while i cast away,i love that metalflake paint:whoa: ,i'll always remember the family that parked their loung chairs and their fat---s in the middle of the riffle one hot summers eve,talk about chumming the water!:hihi: ,,,ah yes!,,steelheading!it can take many forms,i think it's time to go to the Illinois;)
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