Newbie wants steel

I'm hoping to take my father-in-law from Wisconsin out on Oregon waters sometime between Christmas and Jan. 10. He's a life-long northwoods hunter but has even less experience on Northwest rivers than I have.

I usually fly-cast for trout; got my first combined harvest tag this year, have only been out 3-4 times this year and haven't earned my first strike yet. I'm glad to try drifting or fly-casting for winter steel. I live in Newberg and like to fish the North Santiam or Clackamas, tho' I'm open to anyplace within about a 90-minute drive.

So I'm looking for suggestions, advice, leads--maybe even someone who'd like to show us some decent water and techniques. If you join us I'll buy lunch, gas, whatever. PM me or reply here. Thanks!
well, if you already fly fish i would suggest sticking with that if you have the hang of it ive just recently got into steelhead fishing but ive gained a lot of general knowledge about em. so ill name off some flies for steelhead and then gear,, flies: egg patterns ,nymphs , leeches(articuated,egghead,bunny) shrimp patterns those are a few,, and for gear i would use a 1/4 float with an inline sinker and a jig or a yarn ball,,, micro jigs<---- -Custom UV Steelhead Jigs- Steelhead Stalkers Online Store or just 1/4 marabou jigs in pink,black, black &red (nightmare) purple ,orange,peach and you can't go wrong with float fishing or drift fishing a pink worm. and drift fishing can be productive,,a little bit harder to get the hang of ,, if you decide to drift fish use small corkies in white,pink,purple,black,orange..theres a lot of colors that work.. tie an egg loop knot with it to swap strips of yarn if the colors you are using won't get a strike i suggest using pop a top yarn for yarn balls and drift fishing ---->Home you can find knot tying vids and stuff on youtube good luck,

NOTE: i left leader lengths and stuff out i'm not the best with that i usually just guess and experiemnt until i get the legnth right

Last edited:
You're pop's timing couldn't be better, for streams that do have steel. But, you won't find any steel in the Santiam. There is no winter steel there (or any farther up the Willy system). In fact, I don't believe that you'll find any winters north of the Clackamas (except for a small run of nates up the Molalla). So, you'll want to look at the Clack, the Sandy and coastal streams.

The upper Nestucca might be a good bet by then, and within your driving range. The upper river, above Blaine, has 12 miles of easily accessible bank angling. It is also a fly or jig fishing mecca. There are many steelies in the 20 pound class, in that river!

There are also plenty of archived threads on here, that you can search for tips, tricks, gear, honey holes, etc. So, give that a try.

BTW, welcome to OFF!
Update: he was able to boat a 12# keeper last Tuesday in cold drizzle. Used a guide on the Clackamas, drifting corkies & eggs. Worked out great--he had a good time, I landed a nate, we both learned a ton, and we got to take home some meat to keep the womenfolk happy about fishing.

Now to hook my first steelie on a fly rod...

Thanks for the tips, guys.
Nice job, what guide did you go with?
Brian Campbell. Liked him--young guy but knows his stuff. Recommended by a guy at work who goes out with him maybe once a year and always gets into fish.
Top Bottom