It is now early December and winter steelhead action is starting on the Oregon coast. Fish returning this time of the season are often referred to as the early returning winter run fish. These are typically the hatchery component of the winter steelhead run. Most common rivers to find early returning winter steelhead in Oregon are the Nestucca, the Wilson, NF Nehalem, the Alsea, Necannicum and the Kilches rivers.
Winter steelhead time of year the water is cold and requires the fly angler to get their fly down to the fish. Sink tips or indicator riggings are most productive. Common sink tips are T-11 and T-14 and at 10′ long. These tips are delivered with a shooting head fly line system called a Skagit line. At the end of the sinking tip a short leader helps ensure the fly stays where is should- deep.
Favorite patterns for winter steelhead are often larger than summer favorites. Flies that have movement and swim with a life-like motion often get the best results. A few of our favorites below are available at fly shops in the NW and at www.spiritriver.com
Crandall’s Guide Choice is a great fly when there is a lot of green coloration in the water.
Crandall’s Steelhead Nitemare is a producer under most water conditions.
Crandall’s Provider is a great fly for clear to medium clear water conditions.
For more information on winter steelhead in Oregon visit: www.watertimeoutfitters.com or check out our class/seminar schedule to get hands on help with steelhead success!