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Hi everyone,
It turns out I will be in Portland over MLK weekend in Jan, and have been given an "all day pass" to swing for Steelhead. Anyone have an opinion at to where my best chances might be within say 1.5 hrs of Portland? I know fishing just one day for winter runs doesnt give me a ton of chance but itll be nice to get out, so any and all suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris
 

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I fished the Kalama quite often when living in Western Washinton, been about a year since, and January is not the best of months on the river. It is a small to mid sized stream without much swinging water. There will be mostly hatchery fish in the river which tend to head straight for the canyon (read high and fast water). Later in the spring above the upper hatchery (Holly Waters) and the lower sections below Modrow Bridge can be good swinging water. Don't know about the Clack, but the Sandy in January can be prime swinging water with plenty of river access and fish, hatchery and natives. You can expect plenty of crowds but there are several access points along Highway 26 between Sandy and Welches (look for vehicles.) This could be your best bet if you have limited time. I would almost recommend the Cowlitz River for better odds at finding fish, (not more than 30 minutes north of the Kalama), but I don't know how you feel about crowds. This is the top-producing river in WA and on any given weekend there will be more than plenty of folks and boats. You could be on the Cowlitz early in the morning (Blue Creek area has good access) and hit the Kalama's lower sections on the trip back to Portland.
 

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Cbtrtbum,

I don't know the Sandy or Clackamas well enough to advise, but I would recommend the Cowlitz over the Kalama in January. If you have only one day to fish, I suggest you hire a guide. Steve Buckner lives next to the Cowlitz and guides there regularly. I think he would be your best bet for a successful one day steelhead fishing experience. If you want contact information for him, you can PM me, and I will send it to you.

Sg
 

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If your are able to hire a guide I would check out Marty Sheppard with Little Creek Outfitters. He guides the Sandy during that time of year.
 

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I second Marty. He is a great guy and grew up on the Sandy. And, he would take you down a very awesome section with great white water fun and amazing water!
 

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Marty on the Sandy, Hickman, or Larimer on the Clack. Then of course there is the coast and those spey jedi's Scott and Mike. Best best the coast.
 

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If you do deside to fish the 'Cow,' Steve's your man.

Cbtrtbum,

I don't know the Sandy or Clackamas well enough to advise, but I would recommend the Cowlitz over the Kalama in January. If you have only one day to fish, I suggest you hire a guide. Steve Buckner lives next to the Cowlitz and guides there regularly. I think he would be your best bet for a successful one day steelhead fishing experience. If you want contact information for him, you can PM me, and I will send it to you.

Sg
I rarely use a guide, but when I do .... Been out with Steve and I was truly impressed with the Man. Also one heck of a 2-hander instructor.

Fred
 

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Fred, yes. Absolutely a good reference, this is why I quoted your reply. As a person Steve certainly is one of a kind, :). As a guide: he knows how to treat his folks with style all his own, ;).

Chris, looking forward to a report on how your trip to the Northwest turns out. If there's even a thought of hiring guide, in WA, I would also recommend Mike Sturza, owner of Lost Creek Flies in Onalaska. Barring conditions, you will enjoy yourself and make the most out of your trip either way.

I have a two-week window after M. L. King Holiday where I might head for the Cowlitz. Then again in March/April on the West End.
 

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Agree with the Cowlitz. Both Steve and Mike have guided me this year. You won't go wrong with either. You do need a boat to get away from the combat fishing.
 
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