Umpqua Winter  Steelhead: Easily the best combination of genetics and numbers in the state. Mentioning the Umpqua, among many people, brings on an argument about ‘”all we’re gonna catch are natives”. I don’t feel sorry for anyone catching the prettiest steelhead in the lower 48. The law has made for some world class fishing for world class fish. This is a fishery where you could have the best steelhead day of your life. For example, last year, I took a guy down by Scott Creek. He had been all over the northwest, including Alaska, so he was a fairly capable fisherman. It was Dec.23rd,  he had fished the Umpqua with his brother the year before and they caught a nice 10 lb. native female. I told him, "One nice fish is one heck of a lot better than getting skunked". We caught thirteen steelhead that day, the first twelve were native. The last fish was a keeper. He couldn’t believe it. Anyway, the Umpqua is a place where steelhead dreams come true. You can hook 10  fish a day per-person. The natives are twice as strong as hatchery fish. Side-drifting, plugs and bobber fishing are all productive methods for these awesome fish. Although the Umpqua is a mainstay for winter success there are many other smaller south coast rivers that offer superb fishing. The Siuslaw, Coquille, Elk, Smith just to name a few are very personal , beautiful rivers that produce good numbers of winter fish and should be put on any steelhead  enthusiast bucket list. The weather can be quite cold and very wet, (quality raingear and undergarments, hats, gloves are a must), It is winter, and it is Oregon. However, it seems the southern coast is much warmer and sunnier than the northern Oregon coast. The average day starts out cold, but the layers start coming off by mid-morning and by afternoon its in the mid-50’s. Don’t let the winter weather keep you from fishing, these are the hottest, tastiest fish you can catch and they are more plentiful, better biters than summer-run fish. Come and get ‘em through mid-April.

Winter Steelhead Ore.Dept Fish & Wildlife Report

Umpqua River Level at Elkton, Oregon - future level predictions!

LODGING: The RiverInnElkton.com

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 Summer steelhead:  For these fish, we use the same techniques as we do for winter fish. Although we use more spinners and flies, in the shallower summer riffles. We fish the Willamette, McKenzie, and of course, the Umpqua. What’s nice this time of year is that if the steelhead aren’t biting you can target trout, or if you're on the Umpqua, bass! There are spring chinook running at the same time. We catch many springers every year when we’re targeting summer steelhead , especially on the McKenzie. When the weather is hot, we do half day trips because fish are much more active in the morning and evening this time of year.
Winter SteelheadSummer Steelhead