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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend has asked me to meet he and his brother in law at their cabin in Seaside Oregon in March for a few days fishing.

I think the real reason they invited me is because I own a nice drift boat, and they know I guide part time and they are hoping to flyfish for steelhead.

I have never fished in that area. Does anyone have any suggestions or resources for flyfishing in rivers within 30-60 minutes of Seaside?

Coho

:dunno



"Hope you will have a fishing experience like the one in Luke Chapter 5:6-11 !"
 

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Mother Nature's Son
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In my opinion your best bet would be fishing the Wilson river. The Wilson is south of Seaside by about 40 miles and flows through Tillamook. There are numerous boat ramps. That said, I don't use a drift boat on that river and fish along highway 6 between mile markers 15-21. I generally hike along the river and spot steelhead before fishing.

The Wilson gets a very good run of native fish and the fishing will hold up through May. There are natives in the system now. The river was out of shape on Sunday, but one of the tributaries I wandered did have clear water where I spotted a summer fish.

The lower river near The Guide Shop has some good fly water but you'll have to contend with fairly crowded conditions. The Wilson is one of the top producers in the state though and it is very scenic.

Skinny
 

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Oh man, you are asking about an area that is really great and gets largely ignored by flyfishers around and around Portland. I have gone down there to fish the last couple years when the rivers here were closed and had good luck and some great water. The Seaside area gets no love around here and it should. Because of your post I am thinking about my next trip.

There are about eight rivers that are near there that are excellent late winter steelhead fisheries. Several of them have good wade access. A couple I wouldn't float in a drift boat; they have some serious rapids / waterfalls that require a raft.

The best one, imho, is the Nehalem. The mainstem Nehalem is blown out a ton in high water, but when it is in it is classic, perfect water. I broke off a BIG buck there last year thanks to an unnoticed windknot and an aggressive hookset. It can be floated with a drift boat but it's not easy to launch. There is pretty good wade access in the lower reaches, especially on the southern bank. Up high it has a ton of cutts. I have witnessed some sweet mayfly hatches there in March and caught a pile of 10-14 inch cutts. It reminds me a little of the middle fork Snoqualmie, if that river had a steelhead run above the falls.

The North Fork Nehalem is also excellent but smaller; there is good wade access near the hatchery and down near the confluence with the mainstem Nehalem and a few spots in between. But, do not float it; there are a couple of serious waterfalls (called King, Queen, and Jack).

The Necanicum flows into Seaside itself, and also has a good run, especially for a small stream. It is too skinny in many places to fish with a drift boat.

The Wilson and the Trask, as previously noted, are also good rivers and have good runs most years. They also stay fishable sometimes in higher water. Right now the only river that is fishable down there is the Trask; it flows into the sea right next to the Tillamook cheese factory. Both are highly floatable, and both get a lot of gear guys in drift boats, especially early in the year during the meat of the hatchery run. Lots of cutts here too.

The Kilchis and Nestucca and maybe a few more are within a short drive of Seaside, but I don't know those waters at all.

One source of info would be a guide that moved from the Skagit down to that area, Scott O'Donnell. He is the best speycaster I have ever seen (Simon Gawesworth included) and has been guiding down there in the winter for a few years since the rivers here crashed. He put me into my first steelhead several years ago and has taught me a ton about speycasting. You can find him on his website:

www.scottodonnell.com

You should hire him for a day; you will learn a ton of water and he is totally worth it for entertainment value alone.

As a super-special added bonus, if you check out the "Skagit" page on his website you can see a smiling pic of me holding a fat Sauk hen on the top right.

Circlespey
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info!

Hey CircleSpey - would it be worth fishing the Nehalem up high for a combo SRC and SH in mid March? That is one sweeeet Sauk SH you have in the picture - nicely done!!
 

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Yes, definitely. Although I have found the cutts to be all the way down into the lower Nehalem as well. I remember fishing one hole with a nice ledge and swinging my fly over it while cutts were boiling on BWO's all around me. That was a particularly warm overcast day, though, and the water was in great shape.

Circlspey
 
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