Sandy River Steelhead Report [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Sandy River Steelhead Report

05-14-2008, 09:01 PM
I wanted to say thanks to Eric on the board here for help in setting up a trip last month. I traveled to Portland for a business trip and had the opportunity to fish for two days. For those who haven't been, Portland and the surrounding area are fantastic and I really enjoyed my trip. I definitely have it on my list of places which to return.

The first day I fished with a guide from a local shop who was fantastic. Because of board rules, I won't list his name but be sure to PM me if anyone is interested. We fished from a pontoon boat and floated the Sandy River. The Sandy, incidentally, is a beautiful river and seems almost untouched by development. The rivers are big, fast, and cold. Steelheading is definitely a distinctive form of fly fishing. Furthermore, I know understand the purpose behind the two handed rod. Coming from the East coast, I have often wondered what's the big deal. There is a lot of water to cover and since the water is big, long casts are necessary. I had my 8 wt 9 foot rod and I felt like I held my own, however, my arm was about to fall off by the end of the day.

I went into this day with no expectations. While my time on the water is not equal to that of many others (a two year old and a 7 month old have really hurt that), I have read just about anything I can get my hands on about fly fishing and realize that steelheading is long quest with anglers putting in a lot of time for few fish. You have to earn your stripes and, while I didn't catch any fish that day, the trip was still great. I certainly recommend a guide as there was little to no access for this particular river. I'm sure if you have a local to go with you, you would be fine.

My second free day, I rented a car and drove out to Maupin to fish the Deschutes River. Another beautiful river. The drive was fantastic. I went out along the Columbia River and turned right at The Dalles where the terrain immediately became scrub and desert like. I stopped into the Deschutes Canyon Fly Shop, picked up some flies and some tips, and set out. The access there is great and it was relatively easy water to fish. I fished hard some of the areas that looked productive. I tried every fly I bought from the fly shop before launching the woolly bugger. Nothing worked.

Although I blanked two days in a row, the trip was great. Portland has lots of different water to fish with a large variety of species to target. On top of that, Portland is a great city with a lot to offer.

I decided to go after trout my second day because I wanted to increase my chances of catching a fish and because I was fishing by myself, I was leery of fishing big water alone.

Again, thanks for the advice here and lets here some good steelhead reports.


05-15-2008, 11:40 AM
Hi, JT,

Very glad you had such a satisfactory trip.

Couple of questions, though. On your steelhead float down the Sandy, did the guide have any comments on how the season had gone, both for himself and for others on the river? Where the "springers" already in the area you fished? What section of the river did you float?

Sorry you didn't catch anything either day. That fact is really surprising for the section of the Deschutes you fished for trout. The redsides should have been cueing in on salmon fly nymphs by now. A lot depends on the weather: if it was cold and overcast, that can be tough.

Better luck next time. From what you say, I'm sure you'll be back, and welcome.



05-15-2008, 03:50 PM
Flyfishing for steelhead is like asking only the most beautiful women out. You probably could've done well with the easy and the average all along, but instead you endure for the notion of perfection.

Then finally after your patience has been thoroughly tested and are at the end of your rope... YES!

After the acrobatics, the image of a silver trout as long as your leg exceeds even the dreams that brought you there.

Nothing can quite compare.