Steelhead around Portland??


AKA Joe Willauer
i know this is, not, but im going to be spending a weekend in PDX in the near future, and was wondering if anyone has advice to a river in that area that i can go chase some winter steelies on. looking for something within 1-2 hours drive. Found the sandy via google, anyone ever fish it? thanks for the advice.



Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
I would say that the Sandy would be a good bet. I havent fished it, But know some people who have and say it is pretty good.
Somebody on the site will give you some info on rivers down there.
i fished the Sandy a few years back, first steelhead I ever hooked on the fly, didn't land it. I think I fished the pools below the hatchery outlet stream. My Gpa also hooked one in those series of pools the same day. Great river. I would google search it, their should be tons of info out there, popular river. I love it and I need to get back there.
I fish the Sandy from time to time. From the reports that I have been hearing, it is starting to pick up more. Most of the hatchery fish are in and the natives are starting to show. I have not been able to get out there yet, but I plan on next week.
The Kalama, Washougal, East Fork Lewis are within an hour of downtown Portland as well, and you do not need to worry about the out of state liscence. You might consider one of them. Eagle Creek and the Clackamas are other options. Eagle Creek has a strong hatchery run. It's size is similar to that of the Kalama. Make sure you do not put anything of value in your car if you fish the Clack.
If I did not have to work the next few weeks, I would be on the Sandy. There are textbook swinging runs and lots of water and access. Dodge and Oxbow Park on the Sandy have lots of elbow room.


Active Member
sandy at oxbow park, lots of elbow room. or up to dodge park, a few nice runs but limited. i would avoid the hatchery as this is gear chucker heaven and jampacked most days.
Depends what you want. I haven't been South in years, but even then Sandy and lower Clack were "combat angling" areas. If you want to walk a little and work smaller - but beautiful - water then go to the upper Clack (past Estacada) or the Salmon River on the South side of Mount Hood (go all the up to the final concrete bridge; it used to be flyfishing only beyond it). I've taken my share of fish from both, and despite the difficulties of brush and small water the ABSENCE of people who should do all their fishing in a Safeway casting a 50$ bill was a blessing.

Will Atlas

I would say sandy. Havent fished it, but I've heard good things. Maybe hood river, I've heard good things about that too, although I'm not sure its exact driving distance. Good luck and holler if you hook sumthing.
When are you going to be there? I have a few rivers in mind on the higher side of your 2 hour limit but I think they're well worth the drive.


Slow and Low
I floated dodge to oxbow on sunday. zero fish. Did get a report that they are catching fish from oxbow to dabney.

If you are banking it go to cedar creek hatchery. Although this is a slaughter house (about like any run in western washington) you can cross the river easily and fish some decent runs. The hatchery fish are there and natives have been caught in the lower river. I haver caught a lot of fish up there adn it's awesome to walk the creek and spot fish doing there business.


Oregon Member
A bit north and west along the Columbia there's Big Creek and the Clatskanie with good hatchery fish. And, don't forget the coastal streams. The Wilson and N. Fk. Nahalem can be good. Natives are showing strong right now.

Good luck,



Slow and Low
Dorylf said:
A bit north and west along the Columbia there's Big Creek and the Clatskanie with good hatchery fish. And, don't forget the coastal streams. The Wilson and N. Fk. Nahalem can be good. Natives are showing strong right now.

Good luck,


Also gnat creek which is on the way. (straight down hwy 30 going west)


Active Member
Without giving to much away- most of what's said here is right. sandy, Clack, and the coastal rivers west of Portland. Don't do the Hood river suggestion- those fish are summers. I'll throw you a couple bones since they aren't real secrets- try the Mollala, and eagle creek- close to town. As well, The N. Santaim should be crackin' right now through July with winters and than summers starting in April. For more insight try the Oregon board on Westfly.

I would head west out of Portland to the coast. The Tillamook area offers lots of options. Wilson, Trask, Nestucca, Nehalem... and lots of others. If we get another rain before you head down it will be on. Plenty of fish in the rivers, but right now, it's clear and cold. I'm in the Willamette valley, and I'm on the coastal rivers 3-4 days a week.... hit me with a PM and I'll send you in the right direction.