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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I fly fish in Colorado and the Rockies but have never fished for steelhead. I would like to come to the OP (which I hiked many years ago and found it to be extraordinary) in early 2017 and spend a few days with a guide steelhead fishing. I know from spending time on the internet that there are many qualified guides. Honestly I don't know where to start. I would like to spend 4 or 5 days with a guide wading or floating, whatever is best. Can anyone direct me to a few guides for consideration who are willing to spend time with a first timer? Is February a good time for winter steelheads? Thank you.
 

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9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
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It depends how you want to fish. The vast majority of guides just have you throw yarn and or beads so you can catch a fish. If that's your cup of tea, then it doesn't really matter which guide you go with and I'd suggest to pick the cheapest.

If you want to swing for steelhead, go with Joe Ewing.
 

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Ask 20 different guys what guide to use on the West End rivers and you'll probably hear 15 different names mentioned. Having spent a great deal of time on these rivers here are the guys I would talk to:
Gray Struznik (OP Fly Fishing)
Jim Kerr (Raincoast Guides)
Trevor Covich (OPST)

Decide what you want to do (bobber/bead or swing/spey) and stick to your guns. The better guides will ask you what you want to do and FOCUS on it all day. That is to say, if you want to swing they will make sure you swing flies ALL DAY...not just hopscotch a couple swing runs and bobber/bead 80% of the day to call it a swing trip. There are some very good bobber/bead guys out there that have absolutely zero confidence swinging flies because they never do it (the guys I mentioned above are an excellent choice for either method and will focus on your objectives). You will likely be floating a river...there are very few walk-in guides operating there for numerous reasons.

Be aware that weather is probably the biggest question mark...you could easily lose an entire 4 or 5 day trip to bad weather anytime from November-April...by that I mean zero fishing time in decent to good conditions. January, February, March, April will be your primary months to look at.

Be aware that zero fish is a distinct possibility over 4/5 days...the odds of finding fish are higher with a guide, but they are human just like the rest of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ask 20 different guys what guide to use on the West End rivers and you'll probably hear 15 different names mentioned. Having spent a great deal of time on these rivers here are the guys I would talk to:
Gray Struznik (OP Fly Fishing)
Jim Kerr (Raincoast Guides)
Trevor Covich (OPST)

Decide what you want to do (bobber/bead or swing/spey) and stick to your guns. The better guides will ask you what you want to do and FOCUS on it all day. That is to say, if you want to swing they will make sure you swing flies ALL DAY...not just hopscotch a couple swing runs and bobber/bead 80% of the day to call it a swing trip. There are some very good bobber/bead guys out there that have absolutely zero confidence swinging flies because they never do it (the guys I mentioned above are an excellent choice for either method and will focus on your objectives). You will likely be floating a river...there are very few walk-in guides operating there for numerous reasons.

Be aware that weather is probably the biggest question mark...you could easily lose an entire 4 or 5 day trip to bad weather anytime from November-April...by that I mean zero fishing time in decent to good conditions. January, February, March, April will be your primary months to look at.

Be aware that zero fish is a distinct possibility over 4/5 days...the odds of finding fish are higher with a guide, but they are human just like the rest of us.
 
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