Clackamas Steelhead: April and May

The Clackamas river flows 84 miles through incredible scenic views in Oregon’s Clackamas County.  A mecca for steelhead and trout fishing close to the large city of Portland, OR the Clack supports winter, spring and summer steelhead.  Coho, spring and fall chinook also swing the waters of the Clack.  Here we love to chase steelhead in the choppy riffles and runs perfect for the spey rod approach.

April and May mark transitions and ends for the Clackamas steelhead run timing.  Here we often see the over lap of the late winter/spring hatchery and wild fish as well as the early return of summer steelhead.  Fin clippings of the hatchery steelhead are the tell tale sign of what strain of fish they are.  Broodstock or the winter/spring hatchery fish have an adipose fin clipped only.  The summer steelhead will have an adipose and a maxillary fin missing.

This time of year the arriving steelhead are often chrome bright and fresh from the ocean.  Water temperatures are rising this time of year and these fish can be very active- responding well to the swung fly.  It is common for these fish to be into the backing line in a heartbeat- many of them leaping high into the air.  Truly this is a great time of year to find steelhead!  Some of these fish we have dubbed “Rockets with fins” and some are simply “unlandable”!

Spring is a great time of year on Oregon’s Clackamas river.  What the river may lack for run sizes it sure makes up for with amazing battles when one does hook up!

Visit to connect with a great Clackamas River guide.

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