Wet and Wild – Strategies for Oregon’s Winter Chrome

Fishing in Oregon during the winter months is not for the faint of heart.  Wind, rain and elements conspire to make it tough and wading some nw rivers is just not for the timid- the payoff however is big chrome wild steelhead that make your heart pound and leave you breathless.

Amazing settings are the hallmark of steelhead lairs and the rivers of Oregon hold nothing back in raw rainforest beauty and awe inspiring vistas.  The veiw from the banks of the nw waters are filled with alders and fir trees, moss covered branches and dripping ferns.  Elk, blacktail deer and various ducks, hawks and bald eagles grace these waters.  Add in the most amazing of sportfish and Oregon’s treasures beckon to be added to even the longest bucket list.

Here strategy is key and nothing is more addicting than the inspiring yank on the line with the swung fly approach.  Sure there are many ways to fool these fish but the most difficult and most alluring is the swung fly strategy.  Here the angler plies the water with a fly often 3″ long that moves, wiggles and draws the attention of the ghostly chrome predators imitating shrimp, prawns, squid or just something that pisses them off.

The water is cold so sinking the fly during the cold winter months is of utmost importance.  Effective anglers use sinking tip lines made with tungsten to sink the fly.  Lengths of sinking lines loop onto floating fly lines making them easy to cast.  Common length tips are 10-12′ long and are rated by sinking speed.  These sink tips are referred to as T-8, T-11, T-14 etc indicating they are tungsten and 8,11, or 14 grains (weight) per foot.

We use a variety of tricks to get these flies deep in the ever changing flows of winter with the cast, swing -step down approach the trademark of the approach.  Changing things up to get the fly deeper as the conditions warrent is the key to success and the intuition of a good guide and coach who can help you massage the fly to depths likely to elicite a strike.  As the water is cold – often 36-40 degrees getting the fly half the depth of the water is essential.

Rob Crandall owner of Water Time Outfitters, Inc. has teamed up with FlyfishTv and is producing a new DVD which will help anglers reach new levels of success during this tricky time of year.  The upcoming DVD – Deep Swing Secrets will be available sometime this fall.

Oregon has a multitude of amazing waters to seach with the swung fly for the elusive and amazing steelhead.  Top producing rivers are:  North Umpqua, Nehalem, Trask, Wilson, Sandy and Clackamas Rivers.  There are many many more rivers that could be added to this list.

To learn the tricks of success and have personalized coaching on your fishing strategy try the WINTER STEELHEAD TUNEUP coming up March 5.

See more about steelhead fly fishing opportunities visit: www.watertimeoutfitters.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top