Is This a Good Time to Fly Fish for Steelhead?

Is This a Good Time to Fly Fish for Steelhead?

Fish & Reports Arriving Daily

And the News is Good

The reports are coming in, and so are the fish!  Summer steelhead season is officially upon us which brings about early mornings and long days swinging for possibly one of the greatest species in our region.

Locations We Love

Within a not so long drive you can be standing in one of many different locations including:

  • Deschutes River
  • John Day River
  • Clackamas River
  • Cowlitz River
  • Klickitat River
  • Kalama River
  • Rogue River

The Gear You Need

As many of our river runs host both native and hatchery runs our preferred setup for chasing summers are:

A great beginner setup for steelhead is the Echo Swing 7130 matched with either the Behemoth 910 or 1112 reel and will allow you to not only work summer runs, but also can be used for winter runs on surrounding rivers including the Sandy.

An intermediate setup would be an Echo Fully Spey like the 7130 paired with a Lamson Guru 9+, again this is a setup we can also use for winter runs so the versatility is excellent.

And if you are a more advanced steelhead angler we love to pair the G-Loomis Asquith Spey or the Winston Air TH 7133 with a Hatch 9+.


Shooting heads like the Scientific Anglers 380GR for morning and low light and the Scientific Anglers 450GR Skagit Short Head for afternoons to help get the fly down.  We also recommend 10FT T11 tips which are available in the shop (just don't have those on the site yet!).

Our Proven Flies

Every steelhead angler will tell you they have the magic equation when it comes to what fly to use, but to give you some basic ideas on what works consistently well our top three flies right now are the classic Greenbutt SkunkJoe Gert, and the Green Lantern.

But, don't limit your selection to just this as we are firm believers that steelhead respect an angler that exudes confidence in what they are fishing.


When swinging flies understanding the type of water you are looking for is the most important to set yourself up for success.  

Water Type

Look for areas with water depths ranging from 3 to 6 feet with a river flow similar to a walking pace.  You may hear some refer to this type of water as a "glide".  The best flow lies between swift and slower water.

The key is finding locations where the current is interrupted. This task might not always be straightforward, as obstructions typically remain submerged beneath the water's surface.

When to Fish

The optimal times to chase steelhead go from now until the end of November so we are just beginning.  With the cooler temps the fish are entering so start looking close to the mouth of each river system and as the season moves farther along they can be chased farther in the system.

As always, we love seeing your photos and hearing your reports so be sure to send them to us at!

Northwest Flyfishing Outfitters


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