Trying to catch my first winter steelhead

Fred

Active member
Went fishing for some winter steelhead in Tillamook on the Wilson and kilchis. The Wilson was pretty high and muddy. Only fished a few spots higher up the lower part was to high in dirty in my opinion. Kilchis was a bit clearer and I found some nice looking holes, but I didn’t have any luck. I fished the necanicum river the next day. I stopped at kloochy creek park first. That spot was really crowded but the water looked way better then the Wilson did. I talked to few people there and tried my luck drifting a pink worm. Didn’t get anything so I moved down to a drift boat pull out near the entrance to seaside. It was super windy there and the two boats that came by while I was there said all they got was cutties. After that I drove a few hundred yard up and parked on the side of road near a pool. All that happened there was a few snags and finding a dead coho. On the way back home stopped at big pull out with a nice hole on the left side of the bridge. Caught a small baby cutthroat and then headed home cause I ran out of day light ?. Fun four hours finding new spots and enjoying Oregon’s scenic coast.
I’m wondering where I should go tomorrow so hard to make a decision lol. Might go look at gnat creek, Big creek, and the klaskanine river. Somebody told me the Alsea River and Siletz River were on fire don’t know how true that is lol. Tillamook rivers probably to high right now and it’s going to rain a lot this week. I’m thinking about exploring Salmon River , three rivers, and Nestucca river. Also wondering if there’s winter steelhead runs in the Tualatin. Probably going to go looking for some falls above the hatchery on the Nehalem. There’s also the Clackamas and a sandy, but idk if they have fish in them right now. Thinking of going to spruce run campground to check that spot out, never been to it. I want to try fishing the salmon berry too later in the season. I looked up way to many rivers now I can’t decide where to go ?.

I’ve been using pink steelhead worms I bought a few different colors to help diversify incase they want different colors lol. I got a few spoons and spinners. I’m not sure what size spoons are good for steelhead, could someone inform me on the right spoon size for steelhead. I got bronze and blue and sliver combination spoons. I only bought a two jigs a pink and black one I also slapped some sand shrimp onto them. I bought some bnr soft beads, but I’ve never fished beads other then when I was dumb and tried to fish Corkies and they floated to the surface ?. I have some hard beads too and any advice on bead setups for bank fishing would helpful.
My little savior
 

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Casting Call

Active member
Greetings and Salutations for the new year everyone! Fred so much water to fish, so little time. May I suggest that you pick a local favorite water, learn it well and ur hook ratio will greatly improve as time goes by. GL Tony
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Sounds like you are properly geared up and have the right attitude. Keep your line in the water. That part about the Alsea and Siletz being "on fire". I don't believe it. I was at the Alsea last week and it was less than on fire and the Siletz tends to be better later in the season. I've been using Steelie spoons or others about that size. My biggest fish ever was on a 1/3 oz. Cleo so don't be afraid to downsize some. Good luck.
 

Fred

Active member
Went to Big creek and Gnat creek today. A few guys said there’s fish being caught, but I didn’t see any action. Still had fun exploring some new spots. Fished soft beads for the first time worked out pretty well until I snagged a big log ;(. I got saved from the skunk once again by a little cuttie. I’m going to fish three new locations and one familiar river tomorrow, hope I can get something big to bite.
 

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Fred

Active member
Greetings and Salutations for the new year everyone! Fred so much water to fish, so little time. May I suggest that you pick a local favorite water, learn it well and ur hook ratio will greatly improve as time goes by. GL Tony
Definitely a good idea, but’s hard to choose which river to stick to.
 

Fred

Active member
Sounds like you are properly geared up and have the right attitude. Keep your line in the water. That part about the Alsea and Siletz being "on fire". I don't believe it. I was at the Alsea last week and it was less than on fire and the Siletz tends to be better later in the season. I've been using Steelie spoons or others about that size. My biggest fish ever was on a 1/3 oz. Cleo so don't be afraid to downsize some. Good luck.
Thanks,
Question, do you modify your spoons by putting on single hooks? I also heard some people attach swivels to some part of the spoon to help reduce the chance of losing fish. I’m wondering if I should do this to my spoons?
 

Alan

Member
Is Gnat Creek and Big Creek barbless hooks? I can’t tell by the pics if the barbs were pinched, thanks
 

adamg

New member
its still early in the season. dont burn yourself out before the fish show up in better numbers. im guilty of doing that, having been out for 5 long trips since xmas with nothing to show
 

Fred

Active member
its still early in the season. dont burn yourself out before the fish show up in better numbers. im guilty of doing that, having been out for 5 long trips since xmas with nothing to show
I went out yesterday and hooked a fish but he got off ?. 4 days of fishing for one bite and I messed it up ;(.
 

hobster

Well-known member
I went out yesterday and hooked a fish but he got off ?. 4 days of fishing for one bite and I messed it up ;(.
Get used to it :) if you land half the steelhead you hook you’re doing ok. Doubt you messed up, they are hard to land!
 

Fred

Active member
I’m just going to keep posting up dates till I get my first winter steelhead lol. I went to the NF Nehalem yesterday and the Necanicum River. I fished at the falls below the hatchery. Fished for about 40 minutes and guy walked up and caught a fish in two cast ?. Kinda of made me jealous, but it’s a good morale booster to see fish being caught. After that I went to fish the Necanicum. I fished for about 10 mins in a while somebody had lost a fish in. I was using a jig and some beads. I cast it into some tail water and my bobber went down. For a split second I was just like oh a snag but then I had hope. However when I tried to reel in to set the hook on him my line wrapped around the tip of my rod and I didn’t close the bail properly. After I got those problems fixed as fast as I could I set the hook terribly ?. Then I felt a big weight and he started to move and pull line out. After about ten seconds he got off. I’m new to steelhead fishing with beads so I was using the wrong kind of hook that and my terrible hook set made me lose him ;(. Oh well 4 days and one bite is still progress for a noob like me. School starts today ?. I guess I’m going to have to be a weekend warrior now.
 

Fred

Active member
thank you Fred, I didn’t see anything in the refs either but was unsure since it is part of the Columbia basin tag.
thank you Fred, I didn’t see anything in the refs either but was unsure since it is part of the Columbia basin tag.
I think the Columbia River has no barbs. I heard that they were planning or removed that rule from the Columbia. Wonder if they did change it.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
The Columbia Zone is in fact barbless for steelhead unless overridden by exceptions. P. 73.

However, Gnat Creek and Big Creek are in the NW Zone, although they qualify you to pay the CBE. Barbless not required.
 

Fred

Active member
Fail I was using a size 19 hook for my 10mm bead when I hooked my steelhead. No wonder I lost it, the proper size are like size 2-4 octopus hooks. I knew I was using the wrong kind of hook, but didn't have any proper sized hooks in my tackle box. Bought some bigger sized spoons, pink colored 10mm bnr soft beads, different colors of nightmare jig heads and some steelhead worm jig heads in different colors. I'm researching a new rod and reel for steelhead fishing. So far I'm thinking lamiglas x11 or okuma guide select pro. I have no idea what to get for reels. Hoping to get a pole that is good for drift fishing, and spinner fishing for steelhead and salmon. Also I bought some spoons with single hooks and swivles, because I heard that helps to land fish or something along those lines. Some old timers that i talked to told me to stick to one thing and try to avoid double setups when i first start float fishing, should I listen to this advice? I'm going to try and look into fishing with yarn and bait for steelhead, because I've never done that. I'll have three days to fish this weekend hopefully I can land one. Also I'm well over a thousand cast so far ?
 

sambone

Member
Fail I was using a size 19 hook for my 10mm bead when I hooked my steelhead. No wonder I lost it, the proper size are like size 2-4 octopus hooks. I knew I was using the wrong kind of hook, but didn't have any proper sized hooks in my tackle box. Bought some bigger sized spoons, pink colored 10mm bnr soft beads, different colors of nightmare jig heads and some steelhead worm jig heads in different colors. I'm researching a new rod and reel for steelhead fishing. So far I'm thinking lamiglas x11 or okuma guide select pro. I have no idea what to get for reels. Hoping to get a pole that is good for drift fishing, and spinner fishing for steelhead and salmon. Also I bought some spoons with single hooks and swivles, because I heard that helps to land fish or something along those lines. Some old timers that i talked to told me to stick to one thing and try to avoid double setups when i first start float fishing, should I listen to this advice? I'm going to try and look into fishing with yarn and bait for steelhead, because I've never done that. I'll have three days to fish this weekend hopefully I can land one. Also I'm well over a thousand cast so far ?
those are nice rods but u dont really need anything that fancy unless u really want something very high quality. I feel like any spinner combo or baitcaster combo around 8'6"-11' will work fine for most that stuff. And size 19?? lol, u fishing for bluegill or steelhead XD
 

hobster

Well-known member
Yeah size 19 ain’t gonna cut it. Size 2-4 are for summers, I’d use size 1 for winters, size 2 if it’s really clear. Size 4 is for gin clear water. I’d listen to the old timer and keep it simple at first, single presentations work great too
 

Socaaron

Member
Fail I was using a size 19 hook for my 10mm bead when I hooked my steelhead. No wonder I lost it, the proper size are like size 2-4 octopus hooks. I knew I was using the wrong kind of hook, but didn't have any proper sized hooks in my tackle box. Bought some bigger sized spoons, pink colored 10mm bnr soft beads, different colors of nightmare jig heads and some steelhead worm jig heads in different colors. I'm researching a new rod and reel for steelhead fishing. So far I'm thinking lamiglas x11 or okuma guide select pro. I have no idea what to get for reels. Hoping to get a pole that is good for drift fishing, and spinner fishing for steelhead and salmon. Also I bought some spoons with single hooks and swivles, because I heard that helps to land fish or something along those lines. Some old timers that i talked to told me to stick to one thing and try to avoid double setups when i first start float fishing, should I listen to this advice? I'm going to try and look into fishing with yarn and bait for steelhead, because I've never done that. I'll have three days to fish this weekend hopefully I can land one. Also I'm well over a thousand cast so far ?
First OFF good on you for keeping at it, Steel are one of the tougher fishes to chase but once it "clicks" and you learn a favored technique and system there's nothing else like it. Thanks for the continued updates on your progress on the pursuit even if it's because the water conditions updates are helping me plan my own outing this weekend ;). As far as reels my old standby was expect to spend $100 for a reel to get things done season after season. That being said I did get a Okuma Ceymar (thanks Addicted Fishing) this season and I have to say bang for your buck they perform quite well. A Ceymar C-40($45) is great for steel or you could get a larger one (C-55/C-65) for a multipurpose salmon/steel reel.
Personally I like two rods. One rigged for float(pink worm,jig,bead) and one for drifting/spinners, that way it's easier to hit a hole or run and toss multiple presentations without having to switch out a ton of gear. You can cover more water with a wider variety of options. I plan on checking out the NFN this Saturday assuming the river is on the drop. To make the best of your chances for that area call the hatchery fishing conditions line 503-368-5670, they post updates on river conditions, how many fish make it into the traps, and whether people are catching. It's also a good indicator as that system clears a few days earlier than other rivers in the area. Best of Luck!
 

Fred

Active member
Yeah size 19 ain’t gonna cut it. Size 2-4 are for summers, I’d use size 1 for winters, size 2 if it’s really clear. Size 4 is for gin clear water. I’d listen to the old timer and keep it simple at first, single presentations work great too
Lol back to the tackle shop for some size one hooks ?.
 
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