A Day out with Brad & Charlie

As a long time customer & friend of North West Fly Fishing Outfitters, I wanted to share this report about a very good fishing trip that my friend and fishing partner (Charlie Swett) and I had with Jason Osborn.
For the last couple of years Jason has mentioned to the both of us that we should try a drift boat trip with him on the Wynoochee River in SW Washington. I do not like to be cold and wet, especially at the same time, so I am not into winter Steelhead fishing like I was when I was much younger. I spend about 90 days a year guiding on the Lower Deschutes River for summer Steelhead, I am normally a “fair weather angler”! 
Charlie really wanted to try this trip and I was excited about fishing with Jason. We put a trip together for Monday December 29th and drove about 2 1/2 hours to Montesano from West Linn and stayed in a motel so that we could meet Jason in the morning. We had a nice breakfast at a local restaurant and met Jason at 7:00. We loaded our gear into his new pickup truck and drove on the road upriver to a location that we could slide the boat into the river. We were pleased to see only one other boat that was launching at the same time. We never saw them throughout the day until when we took out at dark.
We brought our single hand 8 weight rods with floating line and Jason rigged us with a strike indicator and a bead (which looks like a Salmon egg) and he placed it about 2’ above a small hook. As he rowed the boat, Charlie and I made many casts to place our beads into the river where the Steelhead would be holding. The river was dropping in height, the color of the water was clear and the outdoor temperature was cold, it was so cold that the guides were icing up on our rods! I did ok with the freezing temperature and I would rather have a clear and cold day then a rainy and cold day!
The section of the Wynoochee that Jason floats is a perfect winter Steelhead stream. We drifted about 15 river miles, which is a long float for a day with lots of water to fish. The river corridor is very scenic with not much access and we did not see any homes along the way until lower in the float. Jason stayed on the oars all day except to re-tie our lines when we would accidentally cast them into trees (which was often) or when they would get hung up underwater on rocks and logs. Jason had a good supply of the tackle that we needed, different sizes and colors of beads, leader and split shot weights, which was used to get the bead down to the level of where the Steelhead would be holding. This section of the Wynoochee would be difficult to fish swinging flies, because of the length of the drift. You could choose your spots, but there would be much time spent rowing and floating past a lot of fish holding water. Jason provided us with a nice deli style sandwich and we were able to anchor in a good location that had sunshine, we welcomed as much of the warmth that we could soak in.
Charlie was the first one to land a nice 6-7 pound hatchery Steelhead and then I followed up with an identical twin. Both of the fish were bright and in good condition. According to Jason, the Wynoochee gets a good run of hatchery and wild Steelhead. After the first of the year and into the early spring there will be more fish available with the chance for a double digit Steelhead.
It was a very enjoyable fishing adventure with Jason and Charlie. Jason was upbeat all day and showed confidence that we should be hooking fish. I would recommend Jason as a fishing guide to beginners or experienced anglers. Charlie and I are on the schedule to fish with him again in late December and since I do not like to be cold and wet at the same time I will hope for another nice day!
Brad Staples

Posted by Jack on 01/05 at 10:42 AM in (0) CommentsPermalink
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