The big difference between great lakes and west coast is topwater. Even when not using a skater or dry, the call is for dry lines. In other words, we move fish to the fly, instead of moving the fly in the fish's face. Of course this is due to the summer run, which G/L guys know as "Skamania". That's actually the name of a county in Washington State along the Columbia river, and the name given to a strain of hardy summer runs introduced to withstand the non-glacial NY river temps / conditions. I am sure you could move NY summer runs to a fly in Sept/Oct - but the profusion of salmon would make it harder.
I'll refrain from passing judgement on using flygear to cast the weight of slinkies or lead, straight running lines to meet local regulations in select river stretches, stationary pounding of one spot (no progression through the pool), and other Great Lakes techniques. Having caught both, I will say the ones that go to sea are much stronger fighters. I guess I would too if I had gone several thousand miles of tidewater running from orca, sea lions, and birds of prey. But I said I wouldn't pass judgement
CA's North Coast has some steelhead fishing, once great but I am not certain of current status. These rivers include the Smith River, Trinity River, Mad River, Klamath River, Eel River and the Russian River. All rivers of great lore. I exchanged email with someone a long time ago, I'll dig up his address and see what he has to say.
Eric Bigler is a Deschutes River regular and if you're thinking about OR steelhead it's a must to chat with him. If you read the posts of others on this board you'll see there are some true steelhead schauzers all of whom can provide sage advice on the ever-elusive yet incredibly satisfying summer steelhead.
CA is not nearly the opportunity that OR, WA or better yet BC is. There are a couple rivers north of the Bay area with steelhead and salmon, but you're lowering the odds significantly playing here. It's sad to think that once steelhead were found as far south as Mexico. Then again there was a king salmon commercial fishery on the shores of downtown seattle where 50 pound fish were common... this fishery did not involve any boats! Glory days are gone... but as long as there are wild steelhead I have faith that things can be right in the world.
LONG LIVE WILD STEELHEAD!