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Old 09-10-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Hello I live in Washington but am thinking of buying a oregon tag this year for the simple fact that i believe that oregon has better local winter steelhead fishing. Sandy,Clack... So where and when should i be thinking of hittin the river?? No secret spots just general areas.. Thanks

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Old 09-11-2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Swinging the Fly:
As strange as this may sound, successful winter steelhead fishing with a fly is a lot like plunking. If you are there when the fish are coming through, you'll get em. If you're not then it doesn't matter what river you are fishing.

That said, what rivers do you live close too? If you can find a way to hit a favorite run two or three times a week for an hour or so you'll put a bend in your spey rod.

While this might not be the answer you're looking for, it is the best answer I have.

Nymph Fishing:
Fish below the hatchery planting zones with glo bugs or beads.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Dave's advice is right on.....

My advice....fish during the week if you can. With the explosion in spey rod popularity the last few years most of the good local swing water on the Sandy & Clack gets hammered on the weekends. Don't be surprised if you have a more difficult time getting dibs on a good swing run on the Sandy or Clack during the middle of winter than the Deschutes in September!

The other options would be 1) coastal rivers; a longer drive also with plenty of people, but not as much competition with other "swingers". 2) Smaller Creeks; such as Eagle Creek, some of the Gorge and coast creeks, etc. Not much swing water and much of it is better suited for the single hander, but if you bring a backpack and take a hike you get away from the masses.

Last edited by cphatts; 09-11-2011 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerDave View Post
Swinging the Fly:
As strange as this may sound, successful winter steelhead fishing with a fly is a lot like plunking. If you are there when the fish are coming through, you'll get em. If you're not then it doesn't matter what river you are fishing.

That said, what rivers do you live close too? If you can find a way to hit a favorite run two or three times a week for an hour or so you'll put a bend in your spey rod.

While this might not be the answer you're looking for, it is the best answer I have.

Nymph Fishing:
Fish below the hatchery planting zones with glo bugs or beads.
I would add not all of are winter steelhead rivers and flows facilitate good swinging water... However almost all our winter steely rivers have tons of good nymphing water.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

While you travel to Oregon to fish, I will pass you on my way to Washington to swing and nymph for steel. I guess the grass is always greener...
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

What makes for better swinging water vs nymphing water when it comes to winter steel?
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

I think the flow.. Nymph water is good bobber-n-jig water. Seams etc... swinging water is like good drift fishing water. slightly faster current then bobber water. Or at least that is what I was told.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Both states have good water for swinging a fly depending on time of year. Early in the season I fish more in certain areas in one state and more so in another late in the season. What I am saying is it depends on time of year for the most part. Both sides of the Columbia are going to be crowded regardless. I love living in SWW because I have dozens of rivers I can fish within a 2 hour drive from home.

Oh and most nymph water can be swung if you know what you are doing.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Best in what way? Preponderance of of good swing water? Abundant steelhead run? Relative solitude?

Larger rivers tend to have a higher % of suitable swing water. Rivers like the Skagit, Skykomish, and Hoh. While the Sandy and Clackamas have broader runs conducive to the swing, most Oregon coastal rivers tend to be bedrock formed U-shaped channels with water more conducive to nymphing than swinging with a Spey rod. There are always exceptions, but generally speaking.

Where steelhead are abundant, solitude is non-existent. And if steelhead are abundant where you find solitude today, one or both will vanish by tomorrow. You can count on that.

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Old 09-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerDave View Post
Swinging the Fly:
As strange as this may sound, successful winter steelhead fishing with a fly is a lot like plunking. If you are there when the fish are coming through, you'll get em. If you're not then it doesn't matter what river you are fishing.
this is awesome. What type of fishing would not fall into this same category. If the fish are not there then nothing will work, ha ha.

I would like to ad a couple things.

#1 - the comment about the pressure on the sandy and clack is correct however it really is not that bad. In many years on the river I have really only been out of luck on a few intended spots a few times. Do not let the crowd get you down.

#2 - I have caught many fish right behind friends that just fished through the run. I do not care how many people fish a run before I, you still have a good shot. Maybe new fish moved in? Maybe the other peoples swings just missed the mark. Maybe the other people had no idea what they were doing. Maybe they are badass but happen to be fishing too deep/shallow/fast/slow.... it really could go on and on. I have caught a couple fish on my own second time through a run after changing up my approach.

#3 - I also back the comment about grass is always greener. There are some great rivers in SW WA to hammer for sure.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cphatts View Post
Dave's advice is right on.....

My advice....fish during the week if you can. With the explosion in spey rod popularity the last few years most of the good local swing water on the Sandy & Clack gets hammered on the weekends. Don't be surprised if you have a more difficult time getting dibs on a good swing run on the Sandy or Clack during the middle of winter than the Deschutes in September!

The other options would be 1) coastal rivers; a longer drive also with plenty of people, but not as much competition with other "swingers". 2) Smaller Creeks; such as Eagle Creek, some of the Gorge and coast creeks, etc. Not much swing water and much of it is better suited for the single hander, but if you bring a backpack and take a hike you get away from the masses.
Weekdays! yes! I live in Oregon, And fish the Clack and Sandy for winter steelies, but Don't underestimate the Kalama for winters.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

I really dont dis count any of the sw rivers but living close to oregon is another option I need to have in my fishing life..
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Spey rods make killer nymphing sticks.

Just say'n.

(only cuz I still don't know how to cast mine)
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotshot's 4 me!!! View Post
Hello I live in Washington but am thinking of buying a oregon tag this year for the simple fact that i believe that oregon has better local winter steelhead fishing. Sandy,Clack... So where and when should i be thinking of hittin the river?? No secret spots just general areas.. Thanks
Why go to Oregon when you have one of the best steelie rivers around on your side of the state line? Hit the Klickitat! I've been having great success there this year.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

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Originally Posted by id'er View Post
Why go to Oregon when you have one of the best steelie rivers around on your side of the state line? Hit the Klickitat! I've been having great success there this year.
grew up on that river... looking for a little closer river when the temps drop plus the klick is closed at the end of the month!!!
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:11 AM   #16
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Default Re: Best places to winter steelhead fish (spey)

The Klickitat is fishing really really well right now. caught two yesterday with one on a waker. Don't be put off by the color, it usually fishes well...

now is the time to be there...
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