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Earliest Steelhead?

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  • Earliest Steelhead?

    With some flows dropping after a big spike, I'm thinking of prospecting for some early winter steelhead in the coming days. Which, has me wondering...

    What's the earliest you've ever caught a winter steelhead? I've heard of fish caught by Thanksgiving, but I'm not sure I've ever caught one any earlier than the last week in December. What about you?

  • #2
    I don't think I've ever nabbed a winter before the new year. Winter chrome is on the mind but not quite ready to give it up Summers on the D. Had work in Aloha today and considered spending a few hours on the Wilson but the thought of getting stuck in really bad traffic on the way home and the big rains killed that idea. I like getting out this time of year on the coastal rivers to see salmon wrapped around trees at eye level.

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    • #3
      I've heard reports of a few fish poking into in a few rivers...of course, it goes without saying, you won't know if you don't go.

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      • #4
        I fish for winter steelhead beginning late November some years. First hookups with fresh fish have always been after Christmas but that doesn't mean there aren't fish around before then. We caught fish last mid-December on the NU but we determined they were kelts. Who knows. Its steelheading after all!

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        • #5
          I got some reports from a WA Fish and Wildlife employee of some fish caught last week that were nice and bright (and one rather large). That river doesn't have a summer run that I can see, so I suppose they were early winters...

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          • #6
            I usually get my first fish around Christmas-1st week in Jan...occasionally earlier (occasionally meaning once). Currently I've heard of a few being caught on certain rivers that are known to have earlier runs and even spotted a couple (deep slot unreachable by me, but it's still good to know that there are a few around) this morning on one particular river.
            Last edited by Clarkman; 11-29-2017, 08:11 PM.

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            • #7
              There's at least a few fish starting to enter the rivers...but in small numbers. Fishable river levels and no weekend plans? Seems like it's worth the effort!

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              • #8
                I once caught one on the weekend before x-mas, but usually I don't see things pick up until the new year.

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                • #9
                  I'll defer to the folks who actually catch steelhead. Grrr
                  Support the Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River

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                  • #10
                    Back when I used to fish, I caught winters as early as late October, and felt like my effort was well spent by Nov. 15. It's early, and odds are not as good as later in the season, but that's not what you asked.
                    Anytime a man ain't fishin' he's fritterin' away his life.
                    --Rancid Crabtree

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                    • #11
                      Back when Dorylf used to fish? Photo of him fishing is on the front page of the Oregon Life section in the Statesman Journal today. Of course, the photo could be 20 years old....

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                      • Dorylf
                        Dorylf commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That post was tongue-in-cheek commentary on a serious reduction in river time observed recently.

                    • #12
                      The gear guys are bonkin' winter run hatchery brats already this year.

                      The Alsea hatchery has fish in...
                      The Catchin' Ninny

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                      • #13
                        Got out Saturday, it was a soaker. Flows were favorable and water looked good. No steelhead to hand, but did land a fairly large, colored up coho buck that I promptly let go. Heard from a few other anglers that some chrome has already showed up and spoke to a ODFW employee doing creel surveys that a few have been reported thus far. Fishing might turn tough in the next week or so with no rain and cold temps, but there are some fish around...

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                        • #14
                          The converse questions is: what's the latest summer run? I got one on the D some years ago in the second week of January.
                          aka Scott Richmond

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                          • #15
                            Time to get those beads out! I'm pretty stoked to hit the coastal rivers and get my Fat Bike onto some logging roads.


                            The converse questions is: what's the latest summer run? I got one on the D some years ago in the second week of January.
                            So what is the deal with steelhead fishing on the D after the New Year? I've heard and read it's unethical after the new year but in talking with guys at Korkers and another time at the fly shop in Sisters it seems they were still chasing them in January and even February. I would consider a day trip bike-in on the lower D in January just to get into the sun and swing the spey. I would think fish that low are still moving and fresh instead of dark and ready to spawn like those up river.

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