Mid Sept through mid Nov. But really fish will move to wakers anytime. surface Water temps. of about 55f. and up are very condusive. But fish will move in water as low as 45f. Inside seams, tailouts, waist high walking speed water, and large pockets.
I too have spent much time on the Ronde, and am now going to be throwing flys at 'em, i have seen these flys called skaters or wakers, cant remember really, but they are meant for dragging on the surface. i can't think of a cooler way to stick a steelhead, but was wondering, if they work that well, i have never seen them used.
Gearhead, it works very well. Once you've hooked up skating a dry fly you will begrudge needing to use a sink tip, let alone a nymph and strike indicator.
The visual gives you such an incredible adrenaline pump that you will probably set to soon as they rush after it, creating surging bow wakes while in pursuit, and they will sometimes repeatedly miss before finally grabbing it. Suggestion: keep a 12"+ loop of line in your line hand and when they grab it, drop the loop and don't set until the line comes tight again. Miles of smiles!