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Steelhead fishing on a budget

5819 Views 24 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  WesS
Looking for ideas for next June/early July . If you had a budget of around $2,000. to go steelhead fishing for about 10 days in late June early July where would you go? I'm an east coaster but travel on the cheep ie camping, low budget motels that are clean. Would love to hear what others would do.
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If you were to pick the worst four weeks of the entire year for steelheading, you couldn't do any better than late June/early July. There may be something going on the west coast, but that's usually too early for the summer runs on the Deschutes. There's very little going on in the Great Lakes as far as steelheading. Your best option might be the St. Mary's through the Soo, but you'll be more likely to get Atlantic salmon there as that's pretty late for steelies. No other options time-wise?
I would go trout fishing or wait a couple more months.

Another option would be to go to quebec and fish for salmon. You could probably do that for under $2k. Even that would probably be tough.
take that $2000 and build a pond then charge people to fish there, next year you will be able to afford a better trip:D In all seriousness, it will be tough to find and steelhead around at that time of the year. Id delay the trip if possible and save a couple bucks in the extra months, at that point you will have a few more options. Best of luck, lots of steelhead rivers in BC
I would stay home enjoy the holiday festivities and wait till August and fish the North Umpqua. That's when things start picking up for rivers in the west. Winter months are the best months to do steelhead fishing almost anywhere from west coast to the east coast.
Lots of good advise already given (building a pond not really one... Sorry Ed :chuckle:). Winter steelheading is a more expensive option IMHO as camping is not really an option for northern PNW. Since your coming from the east coast, I would assume that flight costs would be one of the biggest part of your budget. Thinking Sept after school starts would see summer travel drop off and flights to be cheaper. Lots more options to camp and steelhead in the Oregon area around that time.
I'd go Atlantic salmon fishing at that time of year. Prime time.
A repeat of what others have said, but perhaps an option.

This time period is what we locals, or at least some of us, call 'Tween Season.' The 'possible exception' for that time of the year is the very bottom end of the Rogue River. Spring Kings and early summer run steelhead will be moving into the river.

The coin flip will be the water flow and the limitations on where you can reasonably fish with a fly rod. Late Summer flows and easy-squeeze, June could be a coin flip.

It's not that there aren't steelhead around at that time of year, I'd just never recommend someone spend the money to come out here for the fishing at that time.
How about the North Fork Umpqua in Oregon? One could fish for summer run steelhead. Great camping there, and one could go down river to the main Umpaqua and fish for small mouth bass as a change of pace. With your budget you could get a day or two of guiding. Check with fly shops around Ashland, and Salem Oregon. Mike
Add to the list.

How about the North Fork Umpqua in Oregon? One could fish for summer run steelhead. Great camping there, and one could go down river to the main Umpaqua and fish for small mouth bass as a change of pace. With your budget you could get a day or two of guiding. Check with fly shops around Ashland, and Salem Oregon. Mike
Fishing shops (fly or otherwise) in Roseburg, OR. River flows right through the City.

Totally agree with the Atlantic Salmon option.

N. Ump in June? Not sure that would be a good choice but July could start seeing some fish, end of July would be good. My favorite river to fish it's not easy but the fish are very special in my opinion.

If you're locked into that time frame, it would be hard to beat the Cowlitz River in SW WA. Closest airport is Portland, OR. It's no wilderness river, and the summer steelhead are of hatchery, not wild, origin. But if 2015 is anything like 2014, there are lots of ocean fresh steelhead from mid-June through August. You won't have the place to yourself either, as the river is heavily fished whenever fish are abundant.

Some years the flows are high during that time, so the number of places you can effectively fish may be limited. There are a couple of fly fishing guides on that river whom I would highly recommend. For low budget, you can camp right at the trout hatchery access for free for several nights, but there are no facilities other than pit toilets. Camp grounds with facilities are nearby however, and motels are not far away. If you have a small pontoon boat or Watermaster, you can float a couple sections of the river and get a vehicle shuttle for $20.

what about the Cowichan on vancouver island ?

late May would give you a decent shot at steel on the north shore of superior - thunder bay to Terrace bay.

i did 4 days up there last spring for $1100.

check out the olympic pensinsula too - flights to seattle run about $400 from Philly, that I know :smokin: much cheaper than Portland or Vancouver.
Thanks for all the good information, even Ed’s idea of building a pond. Maybe I’ll ask my neighbors if I can stock their pool :)

I work in education so my time frame is the last week of June through the first week of August. I need to be back by Aug 8th for football season. Saying that, I get to the Salmon River in NY for steelhead but each year I take a weeklong fishing trip in the summer and thought about the PNW for steel. Looks like that isn’t a great time to go. I might adjust and try the St Mary’s rapids for Atlantics. If the 1st week of August is any better in the PNW I could go then, but no later. Two more years and I retire so I can save the PNW trip for then and spend a month or more in the fall.

Thanks again.
You are adverse to leaving the country?

Your time frame is really ideal for Atlantics in Canada. This would easily be within your specified budget, especially if you are willing to make the drive (anywhere from 15-24 hours in the car from where you are located, but worth it IMO). A flight and car rental would put you at the top end of your budget should you be adverse to a long drive.
I've never been there but I don't think the St. Mary's is really a "destination" type trip or somewhere that you would really want to spend that much time. That is just the sense I have gotten from talking to others in that area.

Canada for atlantics are probably your best bet followed by the north umpqua for steelhead if you can push it later. That first week of august might not be bad...
St.Marys is a 2-3 day scratch your itch type of place. Very urban, dangerous wading, busy and the fishing can be hit and miss. Local knowledge is critical.

My 2 cents
Atlantics in canada looks like the best option, I have the time and don't mind driving.
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