Oregon Coast - Steelhead

Oregon Coast Winter Steelhead

The Fishing

Oregon’s North coast has a wide variety of rivers that are available to the fly angler. Beginning in the middle of November, small groups of steelhead begin their journey from the Pacific Ocean back to the streams from which they were born. As the winter progresses, larger and larger groups file into the systems in preparation to spawn. This migration lasts until the end of April, with the bulk of the wild steelhead run entering fresh water during January, February and March. It is during this time that we chase these fish in earnest.

The North coast’s steelhead streams are often short, high gradient originating deep within the coast range. Upper stretches within these watersheds are riddled with canyons, waterfalls and whitewater. We spend our time fishing the transition zones between the high gradient upper rivers and the coastal flat lands of the lower rivers.

Much of that water we fish isn’t what folks would call classic steelhead fly water. Often times our rivers run bank to bank, with very little exposed shoreline or gravel bar. Wading can be tricky, trying to maneuver through boulders as well as bedrock, and overhanging branches can get in the way of even the most skilled caster. But the fish are there, and our job is to figure out a way to get your fly to the fish. The nice thing about having not-so-classic fly water is we can often pin-point where fish will be lying within a run and select only the best to fish.

Most fishing days will consist of doing a float in either self-bailing raft or drift boat. Float distances range from two to upwards of ten miles. Some days we may do multiple floats on a river, or jump to another river in the area halfway through the day. Occasionally, we will hike a small section of river in the morning, and then float in the afternoon; this will all depend on the river conditions as well as the interest of the guest. While floating, we will typically fish from the boat with strike indicators in-between each carefully selected swinging run, where we will get out and swing flies from shore. Our guides prefer to use spey and switch rods for this type fishing, and are all well versed in instruction for the novice two handed caster.

Swinging flies for steelhead is one of the most challenging things a fly angler can do, so it is important to understand the a day's success will be measured in grabs. On the North Coast, we hope for a grab or two a day, and a few fish mixed in caught on dead drifted flies. The reward to the challenge though, is the fish, often chrome bright, and fresh from the salt. Our fish average eight to ten pounds, with fish over fifteen caught every season.


With a myriad of lodging options available along the Oregon coast, it can be difficult to make the best choice when it comes to a place to stay. That’s why Kate Taylor and Justin Crump prefer to rent a local vacation rental near their home in Rockaway Beach Oregon, north of Tillamook. They offer comfortable, clean rooms, and all the amenities of home. Each morning a hot breakfast is served and box lunches are prepared (complete with hot soup). Every evening, a piping hot meal is ready for you upon your return from the river. All meals catered by a personal chef.

**the house has a washer and dryer for your convenience WIFI Internet is also available

The central location which means short drives to the area rivers and our guides will pick you each day. We ask that you provide a us with a list of food preferences or allergies. To ensure you have all the proper provisions for your winter steelhead adventure!

Trip Specifics

Fly commercially into Portland Oregon and arrange for a rental car. The drive from Portland to Rockaway Beach is fairly easy (just under 2 hours) and the vacation rental address will be provided to you upon booking. 


Seven and 8wt. switch, single or spey rods, fresh water lines perferably something with a steelhead/salmon taper, which helps turn over heavily rigged outfits and bigger flies. Reels should be outfitted to match your rod. All flies, egg patterns, sink tips and leaders are provided and are optional items.

2016 Rates

4 nights/ 3 days fishing  $1850 

What’s Included

A full day of guided fishing from drift boat or raft, terminal tackle, riverside lunch. Lodging, along with hot breakfast, riverside lunch, hearty dinners and beverages.

What’s not included

Fishing License and gratuities

Ready to book? Have questions?

Email kara@damselflyfishing.com