Winter Steel

Hi All,

My quest to hook a winter-run steelie on fly tackle continues. I've heard that the best tactic is to focus on one river and really get to know the water.

Any suggestions as to which river (and river section) would make a good choice? I'm looking for a smaller to mid-size stream stream that's easy to wade and relatively close to Seattle. How's the N. Fork Sky? Any other options?

Thanks for advice!


Have you tried the N/Fork of the Stilly. It is a fly only stream until the winter season starts on Dec. 1st. If you do I think that there's a restriction on weighted flies. At least there was, it might be off by now. I live so close and don't ever go I think that I'm must be nuts. Jim S.:jj Just got back from checking out the restriction at Washington state. The restriction only runs up to today then it's off.
The best bets for winter steelhead around here are actually the bigger rivers, Sky, Skagit, Sauk. Don't let the size of these rivers intimidate you; plenty of fish get hooked within 60 feet of the bank. Unfortunatley, they were closed last season after Feb 1 to protect declining wild runs, and will likely be closed again this season (Actually, everything from the Nooksack to the Puayallup closes, including all tribs). They will still be open for hatchery fish, but the hatchery runs aren't that great. The NF Stilly is probably the best of the "small to medium" streams around here. I guess the Green can be good too; I don't know the regs.

The best fishing by far is out on the coast. The Bogey and the Calawah are both small to medium sized, and the fishing is as good as anyplace in the lower 48. Pretty hard to make them into your "home river" from around here though. Forks is about a 5-hour drive from Seattle.