Steelhead fisheries in Oregon and Washington: Written By Professional fishing guide: Dennis Hull (Meet Dennis )
Most rivers in Oregon and Washington have both Summer Steelhead and Winter Steelhead. The Summer run fish begin arriving in the Spring and stay in the rivers until the next winter when they spawn and head back to the ocean. These summer fish are very aggressive and will take lures, flies, bait and most anything that is presented to them. The summer steelhead when they come back into the rivers are aggressive feeders and they actually revert back to the behaviors of a big rainbow trout as they live in the rivers for many months before actually spawning. Fishing for these fish can be very exciting as they are very acrobatic and jump frequently and are very strong fighting fish. The summer run fish are very colorful fish with similar markings to a trout except for the metallic looking head and the big red stripe down the side, they are also much bigger than a trout. Winter Steelhead begin coming into the rivers in the late fall usually with the first good rainfall. The first to arrive are the hatchery fish which traditionally begin to show around thanksgiving on some rivers with the bulk of the runs occurring from Christmas to mid January. The native fish usually come in later beginning in February and continuing until April or so. These winter fish are chrome bright as they enter the rivers and will be a dark blue on the back with bright silver white sides. The winter steelhead are not as aggressive biters as the summer fish and can be quite challenging to catch. These fish are coming in to spawn and they usually do this fairly quickly after entering the fresh water. Because they do begin to discolor quickly and begin there spawning activity almost immediately after entering there home rivers it is very important to be on the river in the right spot at the right time with the right river conditions to be able to catch a beautiful chrome bright winter steelhead. For these reasons it is a very good idea to go with someone that knows the river well or hire a guide if you wish to have good success on the winter fish.
Steelhead is one of the most popular game fish in the world and for that reason when the fishing is good expect some company while fishing for them. In our other steelhead pages we will cover all of the details as far as fishing equipment and techniques for catching steelhead.
fishing pages |
Big River Steelhead Fishing
Coastal River Steelhead Fishing
Steelhead Rods and Reels
Steelhead Baits and Lures
High Water Steelhead Fishing
Low Water Steelhead Fishing
Other fish resources from nwfish