Clackamas River- Oregon’s Steelhead Hideaway Close to Home

Want to chase steelhead but not too sure about freezing your toes off in BC?  The Clackamas River right  in Oregon is home to steelhead nearly year-round and it is minutes from the Portland airport.  Not far from the large metropolitan city of Portland, OR the Clackamas River drains an 80 plus mile system flowing off the shoulder of Mt. Hood.  The variety of species in the Clackamas make it a great destination for those who love anadromous species.  That is, spring chinook salmon, fall coho, winter, spring and summer steelhead can all be found in the Clackamas River.  So, skip the long flights to BC and other regions; come visit family, take a break and go find some fish near Portland.

The Clackamas River in Spring

The Clackamas River lends itself to a variety of fishing options and there are a handful of fishing guides who offer different strategies for chasing wily salmonids.  Our favorite is to catch steelhead on the fly rod and Rob Crandall of Water Time Outfitters has done just that for his whole life.  “I grew up on the Clackamas,” says Rob.  “I have fished it my whole life, finding steelhead on the fly rod is my favorite thing!”  See more about Rob Crandall and his favorite fishing at:

Fish run timing on the Clackamas provides opportunities year round.  Winter run steelhead start showing in December and run all the way through May.  Summer steelhead, a incredible tough fighter, come into the river as early as March and arrive through July; staying in the river through the winter of the following year.  Spring Chinook salmon show in the Clackamas in April and are found through June.  Fall salmon make their way into the Clackamas in September and October.  These are mainly coho headed to the Eagle Creek hatchery a tributary of the Clackamas.

Summer Run Steelhead like this one provide great fishing opportunities.

Favorite methods for catching fish in the Clackamas range from bait fishing, bobber and jig fishing, to fly fishing.  “My favorite way to catch steelhead is on the swung fly.”  says Rob Crandall.  Fishing the swung fly the angler sweeps his fly across the water searching for aggressive fish to take the fly.  Here the name of the game is to cover a lot of water.  Cast, swing, step down; repeat is the mantra of these anglers.

Wild steelhead from the Clackamas are tough fish!

When a fish does take the fly with the swung fly strategy the take is unmistakable!  The solid grab on the end of the line is an electrifying and addicting way to catch fish.

Find out more about catching steelhead on the fly rod at:

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