Winter steelhead near the Tricities??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Natedoggboggs, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Hey guys just joined the site. I am from the willamette valley in Oregon and just moved to the Tricities. Wondering where I should go for some winter steelhead fishing in my area? Also what patterns are popular over here? Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks
  2. Welcome! Close is relative, but one of the closer options for you, the Klickitat, closes on Nov 30. The Grand Ronde will be open until April 15th. There are a few smaller streams in the area as well as a hatchery meat hole on the Columbia, Ringold, but I am not sure of their seasons off the top of my head so maybe a local will chime in.

    One thing you will need for all steelheading in E Wa is a special license fee called the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement; it is for the Columbia and all it's tributaries, basically anything that would have steelhead in it over here. You will quickly learn is that WA steelheading is highly regulated and it seems almost every river has unique regs, and those regs can change mid-season with virtually no notice. Some rivers are actually closed year-round unless they announce an 'emergency opening', like the Wenatchee. Therefore, it is critical to not only check the paper regs but look for updates on WDFW's website. Even those of us who have lived here for years or a lifetime sometimes get confused, so don't hesitate to ask if you have questions.
    Jamie Wilson likes this.
  3. Nate,

    Point of clarification, do you want to fish for winter steelhead, or fish for summer steelhead in the winter? If you want to fish for winter steelhead, you'll have to travel westward of the Cascade crest as there are no winter run steelhead in your area. There are summer steelhead available in the Columbia and its major tributaries, and some of those rivers are open to fishing part or all of the winter.

    poirierpro likes this.
  4. Closest is Ringold but in talking with the WDFW Fish Bio for the area, for whatever reason they have not been doing well there the last couple of years. There are fish, you just have to work for them. I guess that is no different than steelhead fishing anywhere else. Regarding patterns, again they are steelhead. Some days they won't hit anything, the next day there is nothing they won't hit. I like black flies that have lots of movement.
  5. I won't share all my secrets, but if your jonesing for a fix, shoot me a PM ;-)
  6. Ringold is definitely the closest. I can leave my house and be standing in the river fishing within an hour, including the Starbucks stop. And in terms of steelhead fishing it is fairly productive, though I've landed zero fish in three trips this past month so far.

    The Klickitat is drivable and fishable for a day trip, the WallaWalla and Touchet and Tucannon also easy day trips. But these rivers are small and not suited to a spey rod, and that is what I like to do, so I have not fished them in recent years. And I saw where they are no longer putting hatchery fish in the Tucannon.

    Feel free to PM for more info if you wish.

  7. Wow, I feel like a jackass now (Well, more than usual I suppose.), I had no idea this requirement existed. My steelhead experience is limited to a couple trips to Ringold over the past few years, but I've been unknowingly fishing illegally. Thank you for mentioning that Freestone.

    It surprises me that I've never been asked if I want to purchase that endorsement even though I always get steelhead/salmon tags and I buy my license here in the Tri Cities.
  8. Check your license. The counter folks just add it when i ask for a record card.
  9. You give consistent and valuable advice.
    I appreciate it.
  10. Thanks Jamie! And, as if to prove a point, WDFW announced today that the Methow, Wenatchee and other Upper Columbia rivers will close on Saturday so it does pay to always check the emergency regs/closures before one fishes for steelhead.
  11. Thanks good to know! I'm used to being on the west side..
  12. Ditto Oregon! Game regs are printed up months before they're handed out. Any updates (and some Regions get lots of them) can only be found on line. Interesting to hear that Washington has a special Columbia River card; like others I'd never heard of such. Here in Oregon you get your regular lic and buy a punch card.

    There are other types of fish that you need a different/additional tag (Sturgeon comes to mind) but they're specie specific.

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