It's mid February and winter steelhead season is full on! Our nw rivers are getting a lot of rain this year and that has translated into good fishing conditions on many nw waters. Right now we have a mix of both hatchery and wild steelhead on many top Oregon rivers like the Wilson, Nestucca, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers. Smaller waters with decent runs of wild steelhead are showing fish on the Kilches, Trask, Salmonberry, Nehalem among others.
Top producing strategies are sinking tips with spey rods and big flies. Getting your fly down is key this time of year. Look for big patterns that have profile and movement for best results. 10' T-11 sink tip is an important tool for the winter fly rodder. Combine this with a skagit fly line and you are in business.
Water levels have been high but that doesn't mean un-fishable. Look for softer edges out of the fast water flow. Sometimes lighter tips and unweighted flies swung into the willows are the recipe for success.
The Clackamas River has produced good results with Barton to Carver being a top section. On the Sandy the bite was hot lower in the last month but recent surges of high water have fish spread throughout the system. Coastal waters have seen fish spread through the system for most rivers. Look for best results lower in the river with low water and anglers tend to do better higher up with high flows.
Expect continued quality fish to arrive in the next 6 weeks. Prime time is on- don't miss it!