Mainer looking for some steelhead

Dorylf

Oregon Member
#16
Like Kerry says a first timer can catch fish. A friend and I took a guy visiting from Vermont steelheading on a coastal stream early in the winter season. He caught five. Seems like my friend and I only got one or two.

The guy was just out of college and about 90-percent fly fishing bum. He figured this steelhead thing was cake, so he moved out here. He fished for something like another year and didn't catch another fish.

Ended up moving to Montana and guiding for one of the big shops to support his habit.

He's visited a few times since and he did eventually catch another. But the point is that on that first day he had a couple of guys with him who halfway knew what we were doing and knew the rivers.

A second point is that steelheading is fickle and sometimes it's a lot about luck and/or kissing up to the stealhead gods in the hope of winning favor.
 
#17
Hey! I live in Lake Stevens. Actually I'd volunteer to help you but I've been trying for about 3 years and no fish yet.
Having said that my next trip (later this week) out is likely the one. I'm pretty sure.
Ken
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#18
Clint, welcome from another Yank. One thing that might explain why some of the responses may not have sounded helpful is Steelhead here are not plentiful like in the Great Lakes area - not a white rhino but close. Our steelhead have been ESA-listed as either Threatened or Endangered on most WA rivers and some would argue that they all should be ESA-listed. Think of them as Atlantics in ME 30 years ago and re-read the posts; the answers might make more sense - and sound more helpful. I truly know people who have fished for 10+ years without catching one. I don't fish for them on that side of the state so I'll let the locals continue to fill you in.

Our regulations can take a law degree to understand so be sure to ask questions if you if you have any. (a quick look on this site will reveal a great many regs questions by WA residents) Bring good rain gear and lots of warm layers. I live in snow country but find that the 45 degree coastal wet weather feels colder and more bone-chilling than a 10 degree day here.

One last thing, if you do hire a guide, that Yankee Bob Triggs would be a great choice!
 

inland

Active Member
#19
See if someone on this or the main forum wants to split a guided trip on the coast rivers. For $200 +tip, you will have all the right gear, the best chance at catching a steelhead and have some great fun. I'd suggest you call Caleb Hitzfeld (360-640-8513) -- he lives in Forks, WA and is A+.
Oh I don't know, what about the risk? How would you feel about giving a guy the advice to catch the last one?
 
#20
What is this some sort of out of towner routine? You all make it seem like the steelheads a great white ryno. I got the 8wt rod and I've looked up some popular winter run steelie flies changed the trip to april and can't belive I would need a guided trip. Maybee your all right and ill get skunked but if I don't I can't wait to post the pics. Lol thanks for the info guys
You can never know what you don't know. You can only know what you didn't know. You clearly don't know what you don't know. That is alright.

Tip #1 Steelhead water is a specific thing. A lot of the river is not steelhead water.

Tip #2 Steelhead fly water is a specific thing and can be very rare on a lot of rivers.

Good luck!
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#22
Oh I don't know, what about the risk? How would you feel about giving a guy the advice to catch the last one?
Try not to be a dipstick. The rivers that are currently open for fishing are open for fishing...as has been determined by WDFW. Besides aren't most of the COWS members hell bent on ridding all waters of hatchery fish...you know, the ones that don't take swung flies and put up a lousy fight ;).
 

inland

Active Member
#23
Try not to be a dipstick. The rivers that are currently open for fishing are open for fishing...as has been determined by WDFW. Besides aren't most of the COWS members hell bent on ridding all waters of hatchery fish...you know, the ones that don't take swung flies and put up a lousy fight ;).
I don't know...those rivers are barely making escapement. What about the risk? What about the fish handling of those catching fish? What about the fish that end up in the nets and sold at the fish market? What about the legal harvesting of wild fish from the sport anglers? Are you sure these fish can handle the evil C&R fishery without driving them to extinction from C&R?
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#25
I don't know...those rivers are barely making escapement. What about the risk? What about the fish handling of those catching fish? What about the fish that end up in the nets and sold at the fish market? What about the legal harvesting of wild fish from the sport anglers? Are you sure these fish can handle the evil C&R fishery without driving them to extinction from C&R?
Wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think you're getting it. See ya all on the Cowlitz.
 

Josh P

Active Member
#27
Do yourself a favor and pack a ugly stick. Roe can be purchased here. If you think a winter steelhead on the fly is easy you got another thing coming.
 
#28
Bring the 8wt and a selection of sink tips. Or you can nymph weighted flies. Fly selection is the last thing to worry about.
There's lots of good steelhead streams close to Lake Stevens. They will all be closed to fishing when you're here. Plan on driving 4-5 hours to reach the open rivers on the coast.
 
#29
What is this some sort of out of towner routine? You all make it seem like the steelheads a great white ryno. I got the 8wt rod and I've looked up some popular winter run steelie flies changed the trip to april and can't belive I would need a guided trip. Maybee your all right and ill get skunked but if I don't I can't wait to post the pics. Lol thanks for the info guys
I think everybody is just trying to give you realistic expectations. If you are happy to go out and enjoy some nice scenery and fish some pretty water with a very very very low chance of hooking anything, you'll have a great time fishing for steelhead. Even experts can go weeks without touching fish, so when a yank comes out to the west expecting to catch them, said yank is likely to be disappointed. Many people get frustrated with steelheading because it can be many outings without fish, usually the weather is cold and miserable, so its definitely not a sport for everyone. Nobody is trying to haze you, just giving you the truth. It would be a bit like catching a flight to Mexico City and saying that you'd like catch a permit - we can tell you which direction the flat is, but you might need a boat to get there, and once you're there finding & catching those permit can be tricky...

That said, from Lake Stevens, the nearest rivers that will be open and legal to fish for steelhead will likely be on the Peninsula, the Sol duc, Bogachiel, Calawah, & Hoh are some of the most popular and have some of the best runs. Generally speaking, after a big rain, the first three fish better, after a dry spell, the Hoh fishes better.

As was already mentioned, you'll have a way better time with a guide. He'll put you on fish as best he can given the conditions, take you to places you never could have found on your own, and keep you safe. Some of these rivers can be tricky to wade due to glacial colored water that is difficult to gauge depth, large loose boulders as bottom substrate, and high fast water. There are lots of great guides over there, and 200 bucks is a small price to pay considering what you will be spending on gas, and spending on flies and a rod and fly line that would be appropriate for these fish.

You will almost definitely want an 8 weight, not only due to the size of the fish, but the heavy lines and flies needed to fish for steelhead.

You will probably want a sink tip or versi-tip system to be able to swing your flies in at an appropriate depth.

Or, find a guide that provides gear, and let him worry about it. lol. I haven't hired many guides over on the OP but Bob Triggs of Little Stone fly fishers is a very knowledgeable guide, and would be a good choice to show you around. Plus he's a member on this site so you can just PM him.

If you have any specific questions, PM me, I'm no expert on the OP, like many others here, but I could try to steer you in the right direction.
 
#30
Ok no hurt feeling. You all made it seem imposable so I was trying to stir the pot a little bit. I don't really need to catch a steelie. My father inlaw (who no longer lives there) told me some places he fished for 20 yrs or so and it sounded fun. I'm just happy being at the river catching some fish. Don't care if its pirch (joke). Cut throat sounds like a fun fish to catch also. And when do the salmon run? I've only been fly fishing for about 2 seasons so steelies might be out of my reach right now. Plus I'm bringing my 8yr old who I want to get some 2.