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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a guy in the Midwest, I have spent many days dreaming of getting the opportunity to swing for steelhead out west. I’ve had bad luck with my attempts to check it off the bucket list (Covid and various other things) but hoping to change that over the next year or two. While I don’t have the opportunity to chase summer steelhead, a guy still likes to day dream….so in order to scratch the itch, I was going to tie up my ultimate summer steelhead box I hope to use sooner rather than later. I’ve read through some of the older posts on the subject but things change and it’s always fun to me to hear about what others bring to the river.

Would love to hear what’s in everyone’s “ultimate” summer steelhead box.
 

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1. A Muddler (probably with a bit of flash) that skids like a champion.
2. A follow-up damp Caddis-type pattern, perhaps a bit smaller.
3. A Spade
4. Pick a wet you like.

There you go.

If “ultimate“ means my dream box, then I would just chain my buddy Adrian to his tying station and make him churn out his tied-in-hand beauties for my swinging pleasure. Somehow I think there are rules against such “employment” so that dream (like so many others) goes out the window.

If “ultimate” means all I might really need for summertime swinging in the PNW, then 1-4 above meet the criteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1. A Muddler (probably with a bit of flash) that skids like a champion.
2. A follow-up damp Caddis-type pattern, perhaps a bit smaller.
3. A Spade
4. Pick a wet you like.

There you go.

If “ultimate“ means my dream box, then I would just chain my buddy Adrian to his tying station and make him churn out his tied-in-hand beauties for my swinging pleasure. Somehow I think there are rules against such “employment” so that dream (like so many others) goes out the window.

If “ultimate” means all I might really need for summertime swinging in the PNW, then 1-4 above meet the criteria.
Hahahahah! The 1-4 selections are money, but I’m sure some real beauties would come from the chaining to the station method! Hahahah 🤣
 

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To be honest…no plans yet. Just going to be tying a box for fun. I guess I’ve got some of the Columbia River tribs or Willamette Valley in mind.
I think that will help you out. I have no suggestions as i have no experience. I’d definately bring a couple spring wigglers in chartreuse though. Good luck
 

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I'm in Oregon, central coast....the Siletz River is our only summer run in my area

1 Muddlers, natural and bright (sz 6)
2 skaters (sz 4-6) (Lil' Wang, EHC or similar)
3 Purple Peril (sz 6)
4 Undertaker (sz 4-6) (Black Bear, Black Gordon and Coal Car are good subs too)
5 steelhead soft hackles (winged and spider style) (sz 4-6)
6 Clouser Minnow (white/tan, white/gray, white/red, black/purple) (sz 4)

Our summer fish like smaller, buggy, more natural looking stuff...these fish DO have a much stronger feeding response than winter fish, they stay in the river from about now till they spawn with the winter fish...That being said, flies that look more like a food item work better in summer and we pull the big, ugly flies for winter
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm in Oregon, central coast....the Siletz River is our only summer run in my area

1 Muddlers, natural and bright (sz 6)
2 skaters (sz 4-6) (Lil' Wang, EHC or similar)
3 Purple Peril (sz 6)
4 Undertaker (sz 4-6) (Black Bear, Black Gordon and Coal Car are good subs too)
5 steelhead soft hackles (winged and spider style) (sz 4-6)
6 Clouser Minnow (white/tan, white/gray, white/red, black/purple) (sz 4)

Our summer fish like smaller, buggy, more natural looking stuff...these fish DO have a much stronger feeding response than winter fish, they stay in the river from about now till they spawn with the winter fish...That being said, flies that look more like a food item work better in summer and we pull the big, ugly flies for winter
Awesome list! When I eventually make it out there, I don’t think I can leave without skating a muddler and Little Wang. Appreciate the advice!
 

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I am inland on the Clearwater, Ronde, and Snake. A couple of great sources for patterns are Marty's step-by-steps pinned at the top of this forum, and Classic Steelhead Fly's by Shewey. I love to tie so redo my box every year, but I probably fish these 90% of the time:
Lady Caroline
Beats Me in all sizes
Green Ant in 5's and 7's.
Night Dancer as my follow-up fly
Marty's -ER for darker days
Undertaker
Muddlers, I like a local pattern by Leroy Hyatt, the Bloody Muddler
October caddis skater
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am inland on the Clearwater, Ronde, and Snake. A couple of great sources for patterns are Marty's step-by-steps pinned at the top of this forum, and Classic Steelhead Fly's by Shewey. I love to tie so redo my box every year, but I probably fish these 90% of the time:
Lady Caroline
Beats Me in all sizes
Green Ant in 5's and 7's.
Night Dancer as my follow-up fly
Marty's -ER for darker days
Undertaker
Muddlers, I like a local pattern by Leroy Hyatt, the Bloody Muddler
October caddis skater
Looks like a great lineup!
 

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Over the years I have come to rely on some old standards as my go to's. The Night Dancer, Streetwalker, Purple or Purple/Black Muddler, Natural Muddler, Marty's ER Fly (deadly with a pink collar too) and maybe a steelhead coachman to round it out. Total confidence for me. Tight lines and cheers, Chris
 

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Cracking the code is a tough road to hoe, when you don't live near decent swing water. It's not so much the fly as where & how you fish it, including how you line your rod. Tie whatever flies turn you on.
Other than that, I would suggest a lot of research & planning, starting with airports, guides & phone calls. Keep in mind, the more remote & difficult to access the rivers are, the less pressure they get. Figure on at least a couple of days with a guide. Additional days, comparatively little more $$, in relation to total cost. Timing & storms also play into the equation. Count on rain. :) Good luck.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cracking the code is a tough road to hoe, when you don't live near decent swing water. It's not so much the fly as where & how you fish it, including how you line your rod. Tie whatever flies turn you on.
Other than that, I would suggest a lot of research & planning, starting with airports, guides & phone calls. Keep in mind, the more remote & difficult to access the rivers are, the less pressure they get. Figure on at least a couple of days with a guide. Additional days, comparatively little more $$, in relation to total cost. Timing & storms also play into the equation. Count on rain. :) Good luck.
Appreciate the tips! All great insights.
 
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