Steelhead Calendar [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead Calendar

05-23-2006, 11:15 PM
Along with not ever landing a 20 lber, another I've never been able to to do was to land a fresh-run steelhead every month of the year within a calendar year. When I lived in Oregon City, this was quite doable, as the Clackamas has a year-around run. Some years I came close (I notched 10 months once), but was never able to close the circle.

I'm sure many out there have done this. Any comments?


-- eric

05-24-2006, 12:31 AM
Since the 80's I've landed steelhead every month of the year... but never in 12 consecutive months! That would be quite the feat, especially if also maintaining a marriage and a job ;)

05-24-2006, 08:37 AM
I can top Juro. Not only have I caught steelhead in every month of the year (non-consecutively), I caught a 20 pounder on the deschutes... In 5 pound increments... Hey! It was on the same day!

Todd Ripley
05-24-2006, 11:56 AM
Catching a steelhead in each of twelve consecutive months could be tough if you are just using your fly gear...there are too many vagaries with the weather that may make three to six week chunks of time into very tough fishing conditions...most folks don't have the flexibility to be available to fish a few days per week, and sometimes the window of opportunity runs from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday at lunch, and if you're not there, you might miss it.

Since I steelhead fish year round, and fairly hard most the time, I do get fish every month pretty much every year...June is my toughest month, since I fish the least in June, and the rivers I like to fish are often raging with snow melt, and I can't get into fishing the terminal hatchery areas where the hatchery summer runs are showing up in numbers.:frown:

January thru April are easy ones for me...and I managed a May wild fish on the Kalama last week, so I'm good for May this year...once September rolls around, it's a good bet that I'll be getting them most the time again, but my work schedule takes a huge bite out of my fishing time June thru August, so we'll have to see how that works out.:eek:

June won't happen this year...I'll be heading out of town next Friday, and will only be home one day during the month of June, and I won't be fishing.:(

Fish on...


beau purvis
05-24-2006, 06:00 PM
May is the only month I am unsure of with a fly rod.Have had some marvelous May fish with gear rod ,especially some pre volcano blow Toutle fish.Tried the Sandy a couple of times in front of Sandyclave with no luck.Beau

05-24-2006, 10:32 PM
Eric -
Have done it in the north Puget Sound area back a number of years ago when I spend a much larger portion of my fishing time targeting steelhead however I don't recall ever doing so with all fly caught fish. As others mentioned to do so in a single calendar year requires a significant amount of rod time on the water.

A few years ago I completed an interesting variation of a fish each month. Over a couple decades wild winter steelhead were caught and released in each month of the year from a single basin (the Skagit). Un-spawned adults were caught every month from November to July and kelts from April to October. The earliest fresh run adult was November 4th and the latest kelt was caught on the 24th of October. That feat represents a huge amount of rod time on the water - in fact I would say an obsessive devotion to a single basin. By the way Todd the above was done with all fly caught fish.

Tight lines

Todd Ripley
05-25-2006, 11:39 AM
Very nice, Curt...I remember you telling me that story, and it hasn't got any less amazing to hear it again...not just the catching of the fish, which is amazing enough, but the fact that there are catchable wild winter runs in the Skagit system year round...very cool.

Fish on...


05-25-2006, 03:07 PM
That is indeed interesting to hear about how well-distributed those "winter runs" are throughout time. It's also a perfect example of why I think the terms "winter run" and "summer run" are poor for differentiating these types of steelhead from each other. Ocean maturing and river maturing are much better terms in my mind, but old habits die hard.

Ken Hunter
05-26-2006, 09:02 AM
I find it interesting that few of the fish are ever saltwater caught. When the rivers are out of shape, like some are this time of year with snow melt, the salt is in shape. It seems like the wind is your most frequent enemy.

I know some people fish the winter months but how about right now for summer runs (river maturing) to fill out the spring months?


05-26-2006, 09:21 AM
I've wondered that too - while living in the greater Seattle area I had seen bright summer runs caught by blackmouth anglers around the sound, like Point no Point for instance.

I had been to Bush Pt several times in winter and someone always caught a sat steelie (but not me). I sure saw them swim by, at Fort Casey too and very close to shore.

What amazes me is the size of the hoochies the gear guys get them on!

I would likely C&R all in salt since I would have no idea of it's river of origin.

Ken Hunter
05-26-2006, 09:42 AM
All saltwater areas are catch and release for wild fish. Barbless hook are required too. I would keep a hatchery fish. Thats what they are for.

I did catch a nice fish this January at Lagoon point. It was a nice 8-10 pound wild fish with witnesses. It hit a red and yellow Salk River Shrimp pattern. I picked that because of the shrimp nature of it plus it has much the same color combo as the gear guys use. Next time I'm going to try something in a squid pattern.

I fished the west side of Whidbey on Wednesday. The wind made the fishing tough but the scenery and salt air was great.


05-27-2006, 09:54 AM
One of the difficult things about fishing the salt for summer steelhead is the extend period over which they run. The best fishing summer or winter is that period when the most fish/day are moving through the area. With that in mind if one is interested in attempting to intercept a summer in the salt I would suggest that you target your effort the last couple weeks of June. Experience has shown that the maximum numbers of summer fish enter the mouths of our rivers the later part of June. Outside of that period the chances of being on the beach when a pod of fish moves by drops.

Pescaphile -
What is the difference between a river and ocean maturing fish? The earliest of the Skagit fish are likely 5 or 6 months from spawning. Are they river or ocean maturing fish? However when they get around to spawning they may well spawn with a fish that has been in the river for a few weeks to a few months.

It may be better to consider the population as a whole rather the individual fish in terms of "where they mature". Bottom line I understand the idea behind river/ocean maturing but in the end separating the fish by the calendar seens to fit the situation the best; at least in the waters that I fish here in North Puget Sound.

Tight lines

05-28-2006, 08:59 PM
and that would be the Rogue. As one season is coming to an end on the upper river the next 'season' is kicking into gear on the lower river. As it is, there are only 2 months of the year on the upper river where you'd really NEED to cover a lot of water to find Mr. Fish. (June/July) But this is the top of the spring King run so all is not lost.:hihi: