Spring Steelhead in the PACNW

Hello WFF. I am going to be planning a trip to the Mill Creek area to visit my inlaws. I was wondering what water and location are best in April or May with in an hours drive from that area. I am looking forward to some north west chrome.

I will be using a 9ft 8Wt with a fast sinking tip.
There may not be anything open with in a couple hour drive from Mill Creek if the Skagit closes it's cn'r season. Might want to plan something over on the OP.

shawn k

Active Member
The rivers are closed in may to protect the spawning fish. April is your best bet. Close to mill creek the skagit and sauk will be your best bet. Otherwise pic a stream over on the olympic pennisula

Will Atlas

Yeah, I've heard mixed reports on the status of the Skagit/Sauk this spring. Its a sad day when our states most storied steelhead river systems closes. I hope they at least tell us soon so we arent in limbo much longer. If anyone knows anything specific let us know.

i would hit up the cowlitz, kalama area in april/may. avoiding run-off could be hard to plan around, these waters are faster to fall into shape.
good luck!
There may not be anything open with in a couple hour drive from Mill Creek if the Skagit closes it's cn'r season. Might want to plan something over on the OP.
If that happened the shit would hit the fan. Everything else would be pummeled and it would snow ball.

They won't do it.
One thing to be prepared for is disappointment. In terms of numbers of fish caught, steelhead fishing here doesn't compare to the Great Lakes fishing you're used to. You can catch more steelhead in a good weekend on a Great Lakes trib than the typical fisherman will catch in a season out here.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Bring a trout rod also. Not an hour away, but you could hit the Yakima. That way you'd get to experience both the wet and dry sides of the state.
Searun cutts on Puget Sound would be another option for you.


Well-Known Member

Bring your trout and steelhead rods and be prepared no matter what. From Mill Creek you can reach the Sauk is just about one hour's drive. The Skagit and Sauk are typically open until April 30 to CNR fishing. In May you'll have to drive about 2 1/2 hours to a river like the Cowlitz or Lewis for steelhead, which are present, but not in great numbers.

If it's steelhead you want, schedule your time in April, for either Skagit/Sauk or OP rivers. Otherwise May is fine.



Active Member
Given the recent ESA listing of Puget Sound steelhead, the poor escapement to the Skagit and Sauk last year, and the poor contribution of 2 salt fish to last years run I would judge that it is extremely unlikely that will be a CnR season this year on the Skagit/Sauk.

I would second some of the others suggests that you come prepared for an alternate plan of action and be pleasantly surprised if you find Skagit/Sauk (a wonderful piece of water to spend a day or two and exceptional fish) open.

You can track emergency regulations changes at this site -


However if the State announces a closure I sure there will be a detailed thread discussion the situation.

Tight lines


Active Member
Pittsburg heh? Let's see you pummled our guys in the Super Bowl ;) and you want tips.....:clown: everything above is :thumb:

PS Sorry your guys are out already this January :p

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