my first steelhead season skunked

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rockmonkey

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Feb 6, 2010
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springfield
Well, I moved from arizona to eugene this last year with my family and was excited to try out some steelhead fishing. I'd done plenty of fishing for other types, but this was my first year for steelhead. I did a fair amount of research on how to hook these guys and where to fish. I mostly stuck to the saiuslaw, but also ventured to the umpqua. Probably out a dozen or so times with no luck. Only fish i caught was a baby steel right across from whittaker creek that I promptly released. I tried drifting, plunking, floating, spinning and jigging with nothing to show for it. I don't know if i'm just that unlucky, if its my inexperience, or both. For some reason I have this desire to fish, but can't seem to catch anything. Anyone have any advice or care to have a novice split gas money with them? I would definitely would like to learn how and where to fish for steelies. As soon as I sell a couple things, i will probably pick up a drift boat, but I know that will only help to a degree. Any constructive pointers would be great.
 
G

Growbug

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Nov 3, 2009
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Dickie Prairie, Molalla
DON'T GIVE UP.. DON'T QUIT

Seriously, there are more than a handful of people that have seen skunks this season.
I have been out to a number of places, even the hallowed "Eagle Creek" :) I think that i have hooked into a few, and I know that i hooked into a definate, but, they all got away for some reason or another.
Just gonna try again next year. In the meantime, I got Springers, then Summer Steelies, then Coho, then......... to think about.
 
S

SantiamDrifter

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Mar 13, 2010
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Salem
You can cut years off your learning curve if you go with a good guide. And if your able to make some good friends who are knowlegdeable about the rivers your fishing, go with them. It takes a life time to master fishing. Might as well cheat a little and be shown how to do some things.
 
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justNorthofya

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Dec 31, 2009
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48
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just North...Vancouver WA
just put in the hours ...it will come

those are both great rivers...I know from experience the Umpqua can be difficult . There is a great place in Elkton look for sawyers rapids( thats where i caught that shad on my avatar)... there is a good bar to fish from there for bank fishing or you are able to row a drift boat out and back without actually floating the river...please be very careful if you float over sawyers rapids I almost lost a good friend who sunk his boat there
 
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Wake.Adrian

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Feb 26, 2010
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5
My husband and I are in the exact same boat as you.
We've tried surf fishing (caught 2, in about 6-7 days total fishing)
Trout fishing 4-5 different lakes now. (several different days, with no luck)
And Steelhead fishing in several rivers with no luck.

Hope things turn around for you! Good luck in the upcoming seasons! :)
 
A

adambomb

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Mar 22, 2009
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354
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Forest Grove
I know the feeling all too well. I spent close to 100 hours on the water so far this winter and I have only one steelhead to show for it. You can't imagine the satisfaction that one fish gave me. 75% of what I know I learned by asking guys that catch more fish than me. The other 25% I learned the hard way, through long, frustrating fishless days on the water. I had three things with me that day I caught my first winter steelhead, the only three things I never go fishing without. Determination, Persistence, and Hope. Don't bother trying to find them at the tackle shop, or in some guides boat, because they are inside you every time you pick up your rod;)
 
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GDBrown

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May 28, 2009
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Hillsboro, Oregon
When I first moved to Oregon 25 years ago I met a guy who always brought home steelhead. He told me that (even back then) it will take at least 100 hours by yourself before you catch your first Winter Steelhead, and 10 hours for each fish thereafter! He suggested taking a class or two through Parks & Rec or from one of the guides and find someone to go with. Well I had little kids then so spending 100 hours on the water wasn't going to happen! This is the first year I have really targeted Winter steel and have nothing to show for it either. Any other kind of fish is no problem. Winter Steel is Tough!

I just can't seem to get the right day off with the right water conditions.... High and muddy or low and clear that's all I saw. Am I discouraged, YES. Will I give up, NOT on YOUR LIFE.

Tight lines and keep trying.

GD
 
T

Thuggin4Life

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Apr 10, 2009
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Springfield, Oregon
hey in my three seasons of winter steel i only got one first time plunking the qua folled by a skunk year and got a good one this year and lost one. Not to mention i also drift fished these tree years ans used jigs this season without any luck on either method. Kepp trying. I don't get out as much As I should and only try a handful of times for summers here close to home 3 years in a row without any luck for steel and springers except one springer first summer season trying for steel. Keep at it and more time on the water equal better chances. We can split gas any time this spring/summer for close trips and I will show you a few holes I know of. If you are lucky we can take the boat out for springers right here in town in my half way secret spot. tried it 3 times las year and only got one first trip with only 2000 fish over the falls in portland. pm me sometime during the run and we can hit the water.
 
H

halibuthitman

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Feb 12, 2009
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on the edge
When I first moved to Oregon 25 years ago I met a guy who always brought home steelhead. He told me that (even back then) it will take at least 100 hours by yourself before you catch your first Winter Steelhead, and 10 hours for each fish thereafter! He suggested taking a class or two through Parks & Rec or from one of the guides and find someone to go with. Well I had little kids then so spending 100 hours on the water wasn't going to happen! This is the first year I have really targeted Winter steel and have nothing to show for it either. Any other kind of fish is no problem. Winter Steel is Tough!

I just can't seem to get the right day off with the right water conditions.... High and muddy or low and clear that's all I saw. Am I discouraged, YES. Will I give up, NOT on YOUR LIFE.

Tight lines and keep trying.

GD

wow.... if it took me ten hours for every steelhead... I wouldnt go... I admire the determination.
 
G

Growbug

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Nov 3, 2009
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Dickie Prairie, Molalla
Determination, Persistence, and Hope. Don't bother trying to find them at the tackle shop, or in some guides boat, because they are inside you every time you pick up your rod;)

Yup... its amazing how much of these three items you can cram your pockets full of.
Determination - do the time, make the jigs, tie the leaders, etc..
Persistance - keep going, use every trick you can
Hope - well.. without this all is lost
 
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halibuthitman

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mabe Im not qaulified to give advice on this but here it is.
1. bottom 6 inches of water.. hold 80% of winter steelhead.
2. Do not look at your gear or resources as an exuse for no fish.
3. you MUST have waders
4. pick a gear type, fly, jig, drifting, drifting bait, spoons, spinners and stick with it no matter what.
5. pick four spots on two rivers, one high, and one low.. and learn to just fish them
6. do not chase fish reports..
7. do not chase fish reports..
8. do not chase fish reports...
9. do not pick the two rivers based on your love of them or the scenery. use odds
10. always hit a soft 17... if the dealer shows a ten card
11. go fishing with a guide to learn how to effectively present your gear type.
12. don't listen to guys like me.
 
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SantiamDrifter

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Mar 13, 2010
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Salem
wow after reading all these storys about people not catching steelhead for years, or maybe just a few here and there. Im really counting my blessings growing up on the river. And growing up around guys who spent over 30 years fishing these rivers. I hate getting skunked on any given day let alone a whole season. But I can say when my boats not catching anything, it ticks me off. I refuse to consider that fish might be smarter then me that day. But when it does happen, I'll be the first one back out on the water the next day.
 
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Johnny Southpaw

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Mar 14, 2009
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Portland
My first season targeting steelhead was skunk city; second season I landed one and hooked a few others; third season landed about a half dozen, hooked about the same; each and EVERY time I'm out on the river I learn something new, something which improves my knowledge of these elusive fish. Don't give up.
 
R

rockmonkey

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Feb 6, 2010
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springfield
Thanks for the replys guys. I will for sure be safe in the water, i used to kayak and canoe white water pretty regularly and got in some river safety courses as well. I'm definitely going to keep trying, i've put in enough time I don't think there's any going back. I'll take you up on that offer thuggin, I can use all the help i can get and hopefully by then i'll have a functioning boat. For an anniversary present, my wife is letting me pick a guided fishing trip, i just havent decided what for yet. It may be an ocean trip since winter steelhead is finishing up, but at least i could get something to show for.
 
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steelheadstalker31

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Feb 18, 2009
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175
Location
Harrisburg OR
Winter steel can be very frustrating. As hali suggested, pick one method and master it. I would suggest float fishing becuase it very effective and you don't loose much gear. We have some good tutorials on our web site on how to rig up and how to read water. They could be very helpful and help shorten your learning curve.
 
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michigan_transplant

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Mar 20, 2010
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Portland
I'm new at this like you and landed one this year. The ONLY reason i was able to was because i work with a guy that has been fishing the Alsea his whole life and told me exactly where to be and what to use and is constantly giving me tips. He said he knew a guy that didn't catch his first winter til his 10th season. now thats determination.
 
M

mlw

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Mar 14, 2009
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Eugene, Or
I have never heard anyone claim that standing in a river, in the rain, in January, for hours, was sane behavior. :)
Michael
 
S

skunk

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Knee deep in it
Ha, here I thought I was the only one that got skunked this year. Thanks for sharing all, and keep at it. Seems once you get it down, it becomes a bit easier...but then if it was easy I probably wouldn't try it!!!
 
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halibuthitman

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I have never heard anyone claim that standing in a river, in the rain, in January, for hours, was sane behavior. :)
Michael
cheating on your wife, beating the jones, corprate ladder climbing, forgetting your wife and kids name cause you work so hard to drive that hummer.... insanity... standing in the rain.. rejuvinating, I feel sorry for anyone who has never had the opportunity to shiver their butt off while trying to keep the windows on their truck from fogging driving home for two hours from a day spent... being human.
 
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