When to fish the McKenzie for steelhead and salmon

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natro

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I know this probably sounds like a dumb question. But I was hoping to get some info on what time of the year would be best to start fishing for steelhead and salmon on the McKenzie. I first started fishing the McKenzie toward the end of last summer, caught some trout, but mostly just spent time getting familiar with the river. But, what I'm really interested in is catching some steelhead and salmon. Are the runs for steelhead and salmon on the river pretty decent? I was just hoping to get some info on the river and when to start fishing for these fish. Thanks, any info is appreciated.

;)
 
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JeannaJigs

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Steelhead run is really good, and numbers start showing up in may and fishes good through the end of the year. Salmon start showing up in may as well, june and july being the peak...the numbers haven't been very good in recent years, but have been on the incline rather than the decline since they closed it in 2006 and reopened it in 2007. The salmon run closes usually in august, but they release updated regs on that usually in may. This year is in theory supposed to be a good one.
 
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natro

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Thank you Jeanna, I appreciate the info. I really enjoy that river and plan on fishing it as much as I can here in a few months.
 
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JWW30127

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I grew up on the Mckenzie as a son of a river guide on the Mckenzie. There will be a few steelhead caught on opening day. Normally you won't see many till middle to late May...June will be better...July and August can be a little tougher to catch them due to warmer water conditions. September is good but one needs to drop down on line and leader size...like 6 and 4 or even 6 and 2. You don't land all of them but you will hook a good number.
Chinooks normally don't arrive till approximately around the 15th of May. The earliest that I have boated any is the 7th of May. A good rule of thumb is when they cross the falls at Oregon City it takes 7 to 10 days to make it to Springfield and above.
 
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JodysaHoser

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summer fish over falls is already 1000. Jeanna what number triggers "enough to show up"? Thanks lover your posts.
 
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JeannaJigs

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summer fish over falls is already 1000. Jeanna what number triggers "enough to show up"? Thanks lover your posts.

It depends every year is different. The fish that come up over the falls get divided up between the Santiam, the Willamette up to Dexter, and then the McKenzie. I know that you can catch a summer steely in the McKenzie if you put the hours in, in April, but, I typically don't start seriously fishing it until the end of the month, begining of May. 3,000 is typically when I start looking at it seriously. Now, if you compare last years counts, to this years counts...this time of year last year, there were only 300 something fish over the falls. May kicked off with around 1,300 fish, and ended with 6,000+. I think the run is earlier this year, and is going to be much larger than last (or at least hope). And then...there are those springers....;)
 
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JodysaHoser

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do you think the steelies bolt to the dam or do they slow down once they hit the mac
 
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natro

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I'm starting to get the itch to get on the river. I'm going to focus mainly on the steelhead and salmon, unlike last year when I was clueless and first found the river.
 
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Thuggin4Life

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Guys are starting to catch them now but that doesn't mean I am gonna go look for a needle in a haystack.
 
jamisonace

jamisonace

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This time last year we had between 300 and 400 steelhead over the falls. This year we're almost at 1000. As soon as this river drops it's should get good pretty quick. Too bad my driftboat is upside down in need of a good sanding and paint job. I've got to get on that. I don't want to miss any of the action this year.
 
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plumb2fish

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there are about 3 months of the year that the salmon are worth targeting on the Mckenzie as far as table fare...May,June And July. There are only 2 months of the year that I have not fished it for steelies...Jan and Feb. There are not enough winters up there to make it worth the effort and they are usually later anyway as well as native. The summers that enter the river in the spring/summer hold over and spawn in those months so I don't harrass them when they are doing there thing.
 
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dtikey

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I can personally say March is the only month that I havent landed a nice steelhead in the McKenzie.I tried 2 times this year in March and no luck.I was lucky enough to land 1 April 1rst and since then have lost 3 others.The smolts have all moved down and leaveing rum for steelies to move up and hold.I would also have to say if you fish try and do it afternoon right now because water temp is pretty chillie.A couple of degrees in surface temp makes a big difference.Fish small and natraul as possable.
 
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natro

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I took a drive up to the river this morning because I wanted to see what kind of condition the river was in. Well, the water was definitely high (at least a lot higher than I've ever seen it), but the water was beautiful. Just nice and clear and green. Can't wait for the fish to get here, I plan on hitting it hard when the time comes!
 
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JodysaHoser

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come on already. enough with the snow melt.
 
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