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propose that catching a winter steelhead on a fly is the premiere accomplishment
in freshwater. There are factors during the coldest season of the year
that complicate the success of hooking and landing a steelhead, more so than
catching a steelhead in the warm summer months.
As a Siletz River
guide I have to deal with the changing conditions and the occasional crowds in
pursuit of these fabulous fish. It's helpful for me to think of it as a
game of chess. The chess pieces are flies, angling techniques, fly fishing
equipment, the sections of river to be fished, when to stay and when to move on,
my clients and their skills (or lack thereof), and pinpointing the best holding
areas at any given water level. I move my chessmen constantly throughout
the fishing day. The game is won every time a fish is hooked. Then,
a new game begins, always in search of another "Checkmate!".
The Siletz River, located not far north of Newport on the north central Oregon coast, is unique among coastal rivers in that it is the only stream originating in the Coast Range Mountains that has a native run of summer steelhead. In addition to the chrome bright winter fish, occasionally a late-arriving summer steelhead may be caught in December. They are arrayed in their original rainbow trout colors and spots. In March and April, an angler may catch a post-spawning summer steelhead as it begins to regain its strength while it slowly makes its return journey towards the sea with the possibility of returning a second, or even third, time. Unlike the Pacific salmon, the steelhead does not necessarily die after spawning, able to move from freshwater to salt multiple times.
As for Siletz River steelhead flies, I like my Gorman Bead Head Eggs, Veiled Eggs, and Veiled Assassin, to name a few. The particular fly and how it presented are determined by the river level, clarity, and light intensity. The most demanding conditions are low, clear flows. Stealth and longer casts are required.
experience the unique beauty of the Siletz River in pursuit of its magnificent
winter steelhead, contact us about a guided steelhead
fly fishing trip. January through March is prime time.
Copyright © 2003
Scarlet Ibis Fly Fishing Tours Inc