Thanksgiving is the traditional kick off to the winter Steelheading season, even though in some places winter fish having been showing up for weeks. Anglers get out of kitchen duty as they ply our local waters in search of the first chromer of the season, while at home the non-fishing family members roast turkeys and bake pies. I’ve been late to dinner a few times myself over the years as tangling with a hot fish delayed my appearance at the family gathering. You may get leftovers, but making sacrifices is what winter Steelheading is all about. Catching fish is what winter Trout fishing is all about.If you have a hall pass this week and want to avoid the shopping madness, grab your gear. Trout fishing on the Metolius River has been bolstered by hatches of BWOs and misc. Midges. Dress for the weather as temps in Camp Sherman are on the cool down again through the weekend. Bull Trout are active this time of year so look for them to be in ambush locations seeking an easy snack. Sculpin patterns and other large streamers fished on a sink-tip line are the needed tools for success. Floating lines and very heavy flies will hook fish in some locations, but don’t knock yourself out on the cast. Worse yet, don’t smack your new rod with those flies.
The Crooked River is also seeing hatches of Midges and BWOs. With plenty of Trout filled water available this is a great destination for a little river therapy. Water levels are good and the weather looks ideal today and Friday with temps in the 50s and clouds. Chillier conditions are forecasted for the weekend.
The Deschutes bumped up a tad and added a little color with the melting of low level snow. There are still Steelhead available if you are interested. With cooler weather coming this weekend, the river should be in good shape fairly quickly. Watch the river gauges for the drop.
The Clackamas River has had several confirmed reports of fresh winter Steelhead. The Barton area down river is your best bet, but there are probably fish throughout the waters below the dam. Hatchery summer fish are grabbing flies and there seem to be plenty of them needing a place to spend the holidays. Invite them over.
Over on the coast, conditions change with each passing weather cell. Keep an eye on the sky and the river levels. Some systems are dropping, while others are on the rise. Salmon in various degrees of decomposition are hanging in the deeper holes, while winter Steelhead are starting to show in the lower rivers. Things will pick up soon so pace yourself Campers. On the water and at today's table too.