Estuary Steelhead - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 10-17-2005, 09:52 PM
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Estuary Steelhead

For some years now, since I moved onto Alsea Bay, I've been trying to catch a winter run steelhead before it moves above tidewater. With spectacularly unrewarding results.

I'm familiar with Steve Raymond's' _The Estuary Flyfisher_, where he passes on techniques that work in Puget Sound.

Just wondering if anyone else has tried for steelhead down in the salt, and, if so what works and what advice would give to someone who wants to get into this game.

Seems to me that steelhead caught under these conditions would be about as zippy a fish as you could hope to catch.
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Old 10-18-2005, 02:31 AM
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pescaphile pescaphile is offline
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I've have some wonderful memories from seeing new fish rolling in the surface as the tide slowed and raised the river -followed by hard strikes and acrobatic struggles. Be prepared for lots of casting (sounds like you know that) but the takes are the kind that make you keep trying. Slower sink-rate tips are useful.

The only marine steelhead fishery I've heard of is at Bush Pt in Puget Sound. I don't imagine there's too much action there these days. I've also heard that they're pursued in the lagoons in some California streams like the Eel.

Incindently, the largest recorded steelhead caught was taken in the salt on herring while fishing for salmon -it's sort of a fishy fish story. I've never heard of any sport-caught steelhead in marine waters on herring besides that one.

Last edited by pescaphile; 10-18-2005 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 10-18-2005, 07:44 AM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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Ahoy Pescaphile, I saw several Steelheads caught by anglers fishing for King Salmon back in the "Hay Day" of the hatchery steelhead plants for Summer runs on the Elwha River. Of the three fish I saw caught on herring all were taken just West of the mouth of the Elwha at Fresh Water Bay. They were all between six and seven pounds not at all like that Yes Bay monster.
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:58 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Eric,

There is a group of spinning, gear, and fly fishers who fish for winter steelhead in the salt in the Fort Casey area on Widbey Island. Sometimes they have a good day, and most of the time they go fishless because it is so dependent upon the fish moving through on their way to the rivers. The folks I know who do this tend to do best in January and February.
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:55 PM
fishhawk1400 fishhawk1400 is offline
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Here in northern california we have several rivers that we fish in the estuary. The best time to fish is when the tide changes from high to outgoing. Usuall you can see the fish rolling . We typically use an intermediate or slow sink shooting head , with comets and shrimp patterns for flies. Probably the best book on fishing tidewater is les johnsons fly fishing for pacific salmon.
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Old 10-19-2005, 12:05 PM
beau purvis beau purvis is offline
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I have spent hrs fishing below hi water line on a B.C.river.When it works it is a great feeling to land them in a mix of river and channel water.Especially in this place[probably the most gorgeous place I have been],I have had some tremendous moments and some long hrs of nothing.The problem is the fish are not holding.they are blasting up river on the tide.Best time have historicaly been last 2hrs of a in tide[preferable the big tide of the day and the month and during hi slack and maybe for a a while on downside.By the way,I am talking about swung flies.Beau
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Old 10-19-2005, 06:34 PM
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Steelhead in the Salt

Thanks for all the helpful replies. They make me all the more fired up to catch ol' O. mykiss before he (or she) heads upstream.

The post from Beau reminds me of a steelhead I did catch in the salt, although not, strickly speaking on a fly. We were trolling bucktails off Cape Mudge (Quadra Island, Campbell River area), when we had a good pull on one the the rods. The fish was hooked, and after a spritely and tough battle, we eventually landed this dinky steelhead of about three pounds. That particular fish fought much harder than the East Coast (of Vancouver Island, that is) Cohoes that we'd been catching.

The post from Fishhawk1400 reminds me of another time, when I was hunting with a friend on a pheasant club located above the estuary of Pescadero Creek, somewhere north of Santa Cruz. It was in November, and I remember seeing a dozen or so anglers lined up in the lagoon, all casting rhythmicly, letting their flies swing with the outgoing tide.

I'll keep trying. Maybe this is the year. Thanks again.
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