January 2023 Oregon Winter Steelhead Report

Swinging Flies on the Clackamas River
Swinging flies on the Clackamas River.

January 2023 Oregon Winter Steelhead Report

Winter steelhead season has kicked off and it’s time for the January 2023 Oregon Winter Steelhead Report.  Fishing around the state has seen fit’s and starts; some bright spots and some not so great.  Here’s a quick rundown on what’s happening.

January 2023 Winter Steelhead Report Clackamas River:

We’ve been seeing a few chrome arrivals here and there, fishing has been tough in the last couple weeks.  High flows and cold water have made getting swing fish difficult.  The fish being caught are nice and chrome.  This is early in the season, expect steelhead opportunities on the Clackamas from Jan-April.  Flows on the Clackamas this week have been in the mid-high 13′ levels.  Water temp on the Clack right now is hovering around 41 degrees.  Both wild and hatchery fish can be found on the Clackamas River with winter run hatchery fish exhibiting a clipped adipose fin.  With high flows on the Clackamas, it’s biggest lower river tributary, Eagle Cr and be just about right.  This smaller water is a beautiful stream that comes out of the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness area.  The primary stock of steelhead in Eagle creek is the Clackamas strain brood stock fish which arrive Jan – April.

January 2023 Winter Steelhead Report Sandy River:

Decent reports of early wild fish have been seen on the Sandy River.  These fish are chrome and hot fighters.  Returns the the Sandy River hatchery have been increasing in the last several weeks.  Healthy hatchery fish are recycled downstream and marked with a hole punch in their right gill plate.  Steelhead on the Sandy should be spread throughout the system.  Flows the week of Jan 9th are around 10′ at the Bull Run gauge.

January 2023 Winter Steelhead Report Coastal Rivers:

It’s still a bit on the early side for rivers like the Wilson, Trask and Kilches.  These should be cranking in the next couple weeks or at least by early February.  The Wilson is the main hatchery system in this area with the Trask and Kilches not being stocked are only wild run rivers.  Some strays are occasionally found on the Trask however.  The Nestucca has had some fish arriving being the largest hatchery planted river in the North coast region.  Many of these hatchery fish are headed to the Three Rivers hatchery; a tributary stream of the Nestucca.  The Siletz has had some reports of chrome arrivals expect more in the next couple weeks.  The NF Nehalem had a good early push in December but has slowed to poor recently.  The Neccanicum river usually has good early season action.  Reports indicate a dangerous river blockage with a tree across the river between Kloochie Creek access and the Hwy 101 takeout.

If you want to upgrade your fishing skills and have more effective strategies to take to the winter Steelhead swing fishing check out our new ebook, “5 Steps to Winter Spey Success”  text and video help you upgrade your success!

Wishing you the best of luck out on the water!

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