Where Is The Best Steelheading In The World

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ambassadeur10000, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Where do you think the best steelheading in the world is? I'm talking quantity and size.
  2. Russia.
  3. The Great Lakes...if you consider them steelhead that is. I think as far as quantity goes you'd have a hard time finding anything that compares in this day and age. Some of the rivers, particularly those in Michigan seem to produce some pretty decent sized fish in reasonably consistent numbers.
  4. I fish the Salmon River in NY. The fishery is amazing and produces some really big fish for me personally.
  5. I believe those are lake run rainbows. Same as what one would find inland in British Columbia.
  6. Ambassadeur10000,

    We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you.

    Psycho is right, the best steelheading on the planet now is probably western Kamchatka, where abundance measured in fish per mile and size is unsurpassed anywhere. Other options include the Kispiox, Babine, and Sustut where abundance is fairly good, and average size is large, but you won't find solitude on the K, and access and expense are significant features of the Babine and Sustut. The Dean run is about as abundant as they come, with some large fish, but then the Skagit and Sky have some large fish. Average size is, about average.

    Unfortunately Bruce makes a solid point. The best steelheading is in the past.

    Phil Fravel, Tacoma Red and Ed Call like this.
  7. The Dean was hammered by the commercial netters (even the skeena fleet came down to play) this year, so the run was only 5-10% of what it has been historically, and many of the fish that did make it up the river showed signs of interacting with the nets.
  8. I'm not an expert, and I am biased. However, I think it would be difficult to match the waters above Lower Granite Dam for both #'s and size. They are probably not the largest fish anymore (thought the WA and ID records, both over 30# are very likely NF CW/B-Run fish) but there is still a good chance at both the occasional monster (over 20# for sure) and good numbers (A-runs can be plentiful and willing at times). Could you get a double digit day and a 20# fish on the same trip, with a flyrod? It could happen. You'd have to move around. Does it happen? Maybe, but not often.

    I know of fish pushing 30# in the recent past (27# B-Run in 1998 on an uncertified scale). I know of another fish, which has weight unknown, but was thick shouldered and 42" from the late 90's as well. Granted, both were gear caught. But in order to be caught, they have to be there right?

    I would suppose someone who works at the NF hatchery or one of the other CW facilities could confirm (or likely...deny) the presence of many fish over 40". I suspect they would have encouraging news about fish in the mid teens to 20# mark.

    That ends the list of what I really know.

    I know of other places where you could hit big numbers on a bug rod. And everyone has heard tales of places where a monster could be found, but daily numbers are low.

    I'd +1 the great lakes. It's a place I'd like to try for a week one season. Someday. I don't care if they are "real steelhead" or not. Swing flies for angry bow that's 35" long? Sign me up.
    Nooksack Mac and Ed Call like this.
  9. Wherever I happen to be fishing for steelhead at the moment, because that means that I'm fishing for steelhead and forgetting about everything else. Forgetting about the work grind, the depletion of wild stock, what I'm having for dinner, etc. Fishing for steelhead makes wherever you are the perfect place if you get your mind right.

    I wouldn't mind a trip to the isolated areas in Russia that seem to have some solid options.
  10. Well put, Ed.
  11. Puyallup River....the biggest and the most steelhead, in the world. get there now....;)
  12. If I am going to Russia to fish I'm not chasing a freakin' steelhead. I'd rather spend my 20K that week and have a legit shot at a 50lbs Atlantic Salmon. Show me that Kola Peninsula.

    Numbers of steelhead, SE Alaska.
    Average size of fish, Skeena Valley.

    For the experience, hell pick a place. Steelhead live in pretty places, even the Green river is a beautiful area. However Mr. Davidson is right, the best steelheading is in the past. This photo montage is proof positive.

    More than willing to bet most folks here would say to hell with the OP, if the Green was putting out that many wild fish of that size.
  13. For giant Hotlantic salmon, my $ is on Norway or Sweden. But I could DIY a trip to Norway without the risk of being stranded on the Kola. And there is an outside chance I could scare up free room :)
  14. Queets tribal supermarket. Or Quinalt's.
    Jack Devlin likes this.
  15. In December of 1968 it was the best place for me. I still remember my first steelhead like it was yesterday. Sammy Specials rules.
  16. im 48, and i gotta tell ya...i do miss the old days, i was very lucky and caught the tail end of the last of the great steelhead days. i started in 1981 i think. back then the Green was amazing and had huge fish, ( i dont seem to remember nets in it back then), i miss the gorge. the Cedar was my favorite steelhead river, but then the indian nets appeared at shilshole and the locks about the same time i started fishing it, add to that, a few seals, and the run went from several thousand to less than a 100. i hit the Hoh a few times back then and oh my, that was amazing. the cowlitz was putting out fish over 30 pounds every year way back then, i got one that was 27lbs. i agree, the best days are behind us.
    Stonefish likes this.
  17. On Friday morning it will be the NF stilly
  18. Enjoyed Darth's video he posted. Boy do I remember fishing those days on the Green. What I loved watching was the tackle from the time.

    Boy have things changed!


  19. Well, they aren't the biggest fish in the world by any stretch but the Trinity River in Northern California can produce some really impressive numbers. Last October I had 26 hookups in a single day, but only 6 to the boat (they are apparently better fish than I am fisherman). I'm headed down there today so I'll let you know what January fishing looks like.


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