Fishing Steelies

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Silverlion

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Mar 30, 2009
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16
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
How does one go about learning to fish Steelhead(and other Oregon species for that matter). What bait, tackle, etc. I am an Oregon transplant and have no clue. I can fish nearly anything back in Texas, but am clueless in Oregon. The stringent laws are tough enough to learn. I hope the fishing is easier...
I have read that there are catfish here, maybe I'll just stick to that. I know cats. I see y'all laughing and pointing..."look at the ignorant Texan..." It's cool.
Thanks, Lionel
 
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meluvtrout

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Aug 26, 2008
Messages
403
How does one go about learning to fish Steelhead(and other Oregon species for that matter). What bait, tackle, etc. I am an Oregon transplant and have no clue. I can fish nearly anything back in Texas, but am clueless in Oregon. The stringent laws are tough enough to learn. I hope the fishing is easier...
I have read that there are catfish here, maybe I'll just stick to that. I know cats. I see y'all laughing and pointing..."look at the ignorant Texan..." It's cool.
Thanks, Lionel

Lionel,

First welcome to OFF. You'll find a lot of useful information here that you need to succeed in the areas you'd like to chase fish. I think the easiest way to learn steelheading is to hire a guide for around $150. That'll give you a good headstart as you'll know what tackle to buy, what gear to use, how to read water, learn about fish habits etc etc. $150 may sound high to begin with, but trust me you'll benefit a lot from it once you get into steelhead fishing. There are so many different techniques and so many different tackle you can buy that, if you don't get professional help, in no time you might end up spending ton of money on items you wouldn't need afterall...
Also start spending time with fellow OFF'ers here. When you're planning to go out for fishing, let people know here and I'm sure someone will join you...
Good luck and tight lines...
 
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tnffishman

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Apr 28, 2008
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462
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SE Portland
well first off the steelhead is one of the hardest fish to learn in oregon because they can be so gosh darn hard to catch. I have lived here all mylife and only caught my first steelie last month. start with coho salmon, or even trout lakes on mt. hood to gain some fishin confidence
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Jun 5, 2008
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973
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Oregon
Ali, you are correct, a guide is a great resource if you are green to the rivers. They can at very least show you where they fish for Steelhead, and you don't even need to ask! Haha, but a guide does flatten the curve in most cases, but I believe it is wholly dependent on the person you go out with. Do not give these fish more credit than they deserve. They are just trout in a different setting than most of us are used to targeting trout. In rivers, as opposed to still waters and reservoirs. If anyone is having consistent trouble with Steelhead, I would bet you are casting at empty water. Water that does not hold fish. It is just that simple. A move is in order in that situation. Coho do not eat a whole lot comparitively. Steelhead eat everything. I have hooked a buncha fish on Honey Nut Cheerios pegged above a small piece of white, or orange yarn. Also, Dubble Bubble is my new go to, high, poopy water tactic, it really works, Bazooka does not though. Finally got some to eat bare hooks too on the last big drop, just like the Coho. Bare hooks look like pine needles, so they hit 'em. Cut open a gut and just laugh at what these fish pick up. Last year I had a hen that ate 9 small acorns!:shock:
 
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Silverlion

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Mar 30, 2009
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Hillsboro, Oregon
wow, thanks everyone for the heads up. I may hire a guide...or just pay one of y'all when the money matters perk up. Fortunately, I am starting a better paying job(boss is a fish nut as well). More money= more fishing goodies. I can't wait to get a hook wet. My issues so far have been, rebuilding my gear(done for the most part), getting something to float in(done), and finding a fishing buddy(not done). Just like offroading and exploring, I don't float alone for safety reasons. I save "alone" for fly fishing. Thanks again for the direction.
 
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Mike123

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Feb 8, 2009
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1,574
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Oregon
Lionel,

First welcome to OFF. You'll find a lot of useful information here that you need to succeed in the areas you'd like to chase fish. I think the easiest way to learn steelheading is to hire a guide for around $150. That'll give you a good headstart as you'll know what tackle to buy, what gear to use, how to read water, learn about fish habits etc etc. $150 may sound high to begin with, but trust me you'll benefit a lot from it once you get into steelhead fishing. There are so many different techniques and so many different tackle you can buy that, if you don't get professional help, in no time you might end up spending ton of money on items you wouldn't need afterall...
Also start spending time with fellow OFF'ers here. When you're planning to go out for fishing, let people know here and I'm sure someone will join you...
Good luck and tight lines...

I agree with this.. you'll learn what gear to use and how to use it.

If not.. I'd go buy a 8'6 medium action 8-12 rod under $100... Pick what method you'd like to learn the best, float fishing, spinners, driftfishing, and go with it.
I think float fishing may be the least expensive to learn as you wont loose much gear.
You have to learn where steelhead hold in the water and the spots on certain rivers that are productive. Find a guide or friend that knows what he's/she's doing if you want to learn fast.. You can learn yourself but it may take awhile, or it may not... I dont think ANY fisherman stops learning. Even David Johnson himself probably learns new tricks here and there. :lol:
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Oregon
If you decide to quit learning, you are making the decision to quit catching fish. Experimentation, and adaptation are the key to making "learning," effective.
 
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santiamsailor

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Mar 29, 2009
Messages
27
Location
PDX, OR
Good advice fellas and gals, I will take it and use it also. Although i am kinda biased on a shorter rod that is very flexible. I dont know i havnt caught anything over 12 lbs though.:confused:
 
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Jig'n

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Mar 13, 2009
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120
Location
Cottage Grove, OR.
Don't forget about the internet, there is a plethora of information to be had. Also, Amato Publications has some good reading materials and river guides.

Jig'n
 
C

Chedster

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Dec 16, 2008
Messages
123
Location
Corvallis
^Might take a look at the micro jigs on the site as well! I know they work.:D
 
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fish_4_all

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Dec 1, 2008
Messages
412
Location
Aberdeen, WA
Best advice I have that is free, go down and find a spot where they are catching fish and watch them. See what they are using, where they are casting and so on. Also remember one of the more important things. Watch and see where the rest of them finish their drift and where they cast. Follow their pattern and they will be tolerant of you being down there. Don't follow the pattern and steelhead fisherman can become some what nasty and quickly.

Oh and fish, fish some more and fish some more. Nothing beats experience for steelhead. The slightest change in a drift can indicate a bite and once you start to recognize the little things the more fish you will hook.
 
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fish_on!!!

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Oct 8, 2008
Messages
65
books!!!

books!!!

There are also planty of books that are very helpful I myself am reading 1 called drift fishing secrets Its shows u water where fish hold...reading water, gear, lots of pictures and there are movies as well u could buy. Ran me about 40 bucks for the book and a DVD prolly not as good as a guide but I feel like I definatly got my moneys worth!
Good luck
 
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Silverlion

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Mar 30, 2009
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Hillsboro, Oregon
So these people are kinda anal like golfers? Sounds like maybe I'll find another species to fish. The sport is supposed to be fun and relaxing. All jokes aside, being from Texas, I am not accustomed to people being "tolerable" to my presence. Is there a certain etiquette I am supposed to follow? Sounds like they take it too serious to be having any fun.... I'll be sure to bring some Midol for them.(joking again, gotta love the Texas humor) Really, I look forward to learning to fish new species. I have to have a good time though. Thanks for all the info everyone.
On another note, I was at Joe's to purchase some tackle for fishing steelies. That dude was trying to sell me everything under the moon. Needless to say, I walked. I didn't feel like it should be up to me to get them out of their chapter 11. I need to find an old school shop where an old dude that knows his fishin' and aint tryin' to get rich in a day to buy the basics. The key is to sell a customer just enough to be successful. They will come back wanting the new best thing and keep them coming back. Not sell them half of their inventory in one fell swoop. <rant over>

Thanks for listening, Lionel
 
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Anyfishisfine

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Mar 8, 2009
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720
Location
Tualatin, Oregon
So these people are kinda anal like golfers? Sounds like maybe I'll find another species to fish. The sport is supposed to be fun and relaxing. All jokes aside, being from Texas, I am not accustomed to people being "tolerable" to my presence. Is there a certain etiquette I am supposed to follow?

Naw, I think it has more to do with following the rhythm fishing in a fast-flowing river. You have to be in tune with the guy next to you or it's tangle city, and that can mess everyone's day up. People you meet fishing here are all pretty cool. Just tell them you are new to it, and they will make sure you don't cast into anyone's line.

With GI Joes going under I'll probably be shopping at Bi-Mart. They have what you need at good prices.
 
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I Grade

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Mar 25, 2009
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Portland area
Yeah man...steelheaders are a serious group. But you can always find a quiet place to fish for them once you get to know the territory. The hot spots will always have a crowd of locals at them, so you might choose to hike to more secluded waters and learn the basics. You are in Hillsboro, so I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Wilson River. Its fairly close to you (less than an hour away), and it is some classic steelhead water. Totally gorgeous scenery, and when the water is not blown out its a great piece of water to fish for chrome. If you don't mind a bit longer drive I would say you should check out the Kilchis and Trask rivers as well. They are near Tillamook and have great fishing also. Don't be discouraged if you run into some jerks out there, I have been drift fishing for steelhead for 2 years now and I still don't know all of the etiquette. If someone has an issue, you are always free to walk to a different spot. Just 'be cool' and people will let you learn as you go and quite possibly help you. I was trying my hand at jig fishing last week and I was pretty bad at it and some bros came over and gave me some tips and tactics to increase my chances of hooking a fish with jigs. So its not like steelheaders (except the fly guys ;)) are martini sipping dou**es. They are just devoted and take it serious. Anyhow, I am on the east side of town and I get most of my gear from Ollie Damons Bi-Mart, and occasionally Sportmans Warehouse. Just some local knowledge for you.
 
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Silverlion

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Mar 30, 2009
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Hillsboro, Oregon
I really appreciate the input. I have met a few very nice people here(offroading). It would be nice to step into the fishing scene and not get anyone watered off. Now I have to say, I am a flyfisherman. One thing for sure though, I would drink my own urine before having a martini, and I am not a douchenozzle. I have met many back in Texas that ruined a good trip to the river. Some people.... damn, go learn to have a good time....
I guess I'm that way when I camp though. I go to get away from the noise and population. I despise poeple that camp to crank the stereo and get drunk and loud. I camp and I'm a quiet drunk. I don't understand what's so hard.
Anywho, I'll give it my best shot with the search for Steelie wisdom. I'm a personable guy, I should do fine.
 
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fish_4_all

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Dec 1, 2008
Messages
412
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Aberdeen, WA
For me it is more of watching where they are casting and ending their drift. If you cast the same distance as everyone and end you drift the same place then you will be fine. And always follow the "flow". Lowest guy casts first and on up the line, this gets the lower guy out before the upper ones so there is less chance of a tangle. Casting short at the top is okay but can really mess things up if you are at the bottom end and cast short over 10 lines. Bottom end = lowest on the river/downstream, top end is just the opposite. Most of all, like was said before, be friendly and honest. A veteran is more than happy to tell you where to cast and how far so that things flow nicely. Once you establish that you want to fish and not be a "tourist" then you will be fine.

Oh and always remember to watch what they do in each different spot. A tail out is fished a little different than a slot and they are both different than a cut bank and so on. It really gets interesting when you have someone trying to drift fish and someone throwing a float in the same whole. And then you have times when you are fishing on one side and you have just as many fishing the other side.

I have fished a "hog Line" where we had 50+ people fishing elbow to elbow in the same slot that should have been fished by 10. Once you get everyone to fish it the same everyone can fish it without much trouble and everyone can catch fish.

And don't be afraid to move down, steelhead and salmon can be caught anywhere if you fish them right. Learn the water and watch what everyone is using for each different spot and you will catch fish and have some fun doing it.
 
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Fleadog

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Apr 1, 2009
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Sheridan
Fish'n on the cheap

Fish'n on the cheap

Silverloin, when I first transplanted about ten years ago I went hog wild at the Lincoln City Bi Mart and was broke and fishless. I downsized to a medium action UglyStik, Mitchell 308, sixlb test and a bunch of RoosterTails. I found a good little river to learn on that I still fish evrytime I go. My son and I catch fish every time we go out from cutthroats to Salmon and have a great time doing it. On a bad day all I gotta do is replace a few RoosterTails and respool some line. Cheap, easy and fun. Just my two peso's, good luck and enjoy.
 
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Silverlion

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Mar 30, 2009
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Hillsboro, Oregon
Sounds like I have a good start. Hopefully I wont have any issues with others as I prefer to fish where the least people are. I go to fish for two reasons. Food and to get away from the crowded city. Not that I hate people, I just cannot have a good time in large crowds and I like the peace and quiet. Maybe I'll get lucky and find an out of the way spot that has only a few peeps. Thanks again everyone!
 
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