For all you small stream winter Steelheaders I know that the season has come to slow crawl, but don't worry the natives are coming. Every year around the first of March the native Steelhead of Oregon and Washington start to show themselves in the river systems. They really show up in Mid to late March and continue to run all the way through April in alot of the smaller streams and tributaries. You will want to use egg pattern flies that mimic eggs in their final stages. Try using purples and light blues in your patterns this time of year, they seem to really create alot of good strikes with the natives. Remember there will be some stragglers coming up to those hatchery streams all the way through mid March, so if you want to be alone and fish for winters now is the time to start going. The amount of fish may be down and you may find a few more fish with color on them, but they do bite well, fight well, and give you hell. Also most of the fishermen you had to contend with before are now out on the Columbia or Willamette river systems hunting out the early Springers that start to show up in early to Mid march. So if you are a fly fisherman that requires alittle more that a Salmon can offer then start looking around for the streams in your area that have hatchery runs that fold into the natives and I think you will have good success and a very low population of fisherman to have to deal with.

 

Remember to always release wild fish with the utmost care. If you use a net use a small cloth mesh net to avoid harming the fish in anyway. If you must take a picture please keep the fish in the water until the camera is ready, then lift the fish by the tail and support the stomach with the other hand. After the picture is taken revive the fish until it swims away on it's power. Watching where your released fish goes can alot of times indicate where other fish maybe laying.

 

Aaron'

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