January 27, 2021

gordon river winter steelhead

The Exodus office is located right on the bank of the Salmon River and we are always happy to share what we know about current river and fishing conditions. Forest Products Port Renfrew Camp was the turning point. Steep, West Slope Basins like the Gordon often do not fare well from extensive and rapid logging. The Klickitat is a semi-volatile river, but when the conditions are ideal, the fishing can be awesome. The Salmon River has a very rocky bottom, so to keep from losing too many flies, leave the tag end of the blood or surgeon’s knot when adding tippet and connect the split shot to the tag. This is where winter steelhead bunch up before entering the Clackamas River. A good rule-of-thumb is to pack in layers. There were three fishable places: a long lower run, a middle piece of racy water with some First Light Guide Service pro Mike Ainsworth with a hatchery Winter Steelhead caught on a bobber and jig. Mention the Pacific Northwest in a circle of fly fishers and steelhead will inevitably poke their bright dime-colored heads into the conversation. For most of this distance, the Gordon is a galloping torrent between tight canyon walls. Winter steelhead on the North Umpqua range from 5 – 15 pounds, with the average steelhead coming in at 6 – 9 pounds. I do have openings that come up randomly. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll wake up to the local elk herd grazing the nearby meadow. written by therockyriver.com staff “The fall run has the most active trout.” “The spring spawn is the easiest to land fish.” WINTER SOLITUDE Everybody has an opinion on the best season for landing steelhead in the rivers. The winter steelhead begin entering the river late in November and continue through to mid April. Winter steelhead tend to be line-shy, making it necessary to use a relatively light tippet—4- to 6-pound-test fluorocarbon. ... Bugaboo Falls is the upper limit of salmon and winter steelhead migration although it’s possible that a few of both make it over the falls once in awhile. I use 0.20mm (4lb) for most normal water clarity fishing for steelhead, but when I think the fish are being line shy I will drop down to 3lb (0.18mm) Drennan. Last year, just 28 of the fish were counted. This means the fish can’t see lures as well, and often times the Steelhead will have difficulty locating a scent trail unless it is right in front of them. Be sure to match your lure’s color and size to the water clarity and speed. The huge fish leaped high in the upper pool as I threw the rod down on bowling ball boulders and tried to pull the weights back down the line. The Pacheedaht people of Port Renfrew and long time local anglers like Frank Elliot had known of the river and its steelhead for a very long time. Winter Steelhead are truly a prized catch here in Washington, but it only takes a basic understanding of their habits to have a fruitful day on the river. Being successful swinging flies for winter steelhead is all about adapting to changing conditions and paying attention to details. The Pacific Northwest has a variety of world-class steelhead waters. That was soon to change. The true winter-run steelhead arrive with Oregon’s autumn rains and climb the swollen waters, ready to spawn. Bugaboo Falls is the upper limit of salmon and winter steelhead migration although it’s possible that a few of both make it over the falls once in awhile. Many anglers would agree that the Klickitat boasts the hardest fighting steelhead in the state. Both rivers are Upper Columbia River tributaries. Vancouver Island Steelhead Fishing on the Gordon, Harris, Caycuse and San Juan Our hike in fishing spots are an adventure of their own. After finding the hole place Aquaseal over the hole, or if necessary use a patch. Lots of movement and weight is the perfect recipe for a great steelhead fly. An easy way to find leaks is to turn your waders inside-out and spray the inside with rubbing alcohol. But if the sun’s behind clouds or there’s a little moisture in the air, then packing good warm clothes is absolutely necessary. Each winter at this time some of the steelhead/rainbow trout naturally spawn in the Feather River but the majority of the spawn takes place in the Feather River Hatchery. Over the next few months our steelhead rivers will get pummeled with fierce storms and high water events. I looked the fish in the eye as he torpedoed by me and broke off. Fresh fish, in the vernacular, are both bright and hot. As the name would suggest, winter-run steelhead begin entering the freshwater from the salt as early as November and will stay as late as May. For my winter setup, I use a thin-diameter floating running line instead of a … A synthetic base layer, a warm mid-layer, and then a hard shell to keep the rain off are all essential. We were using roe with split shot sinkers. That conversation was the reason Earl and I were tangled in the salal wishing I’d kept my ears shut. For a river that is known to “have no secrets” these guides have each developed a unique style of fly fishing program that is educational, enjoyable, and productive. “The crew was looking for bridge sites in the Gordon River canyon last week and they saw steelhead, lots of them. First Class, Premier Wild Steelhead trips on the Olympic Peninsula. Fly fishing for steelhead isn’t for everyone, especially for when it comes to chasing these elusive fish in the winter. Fall runs of actively-chasing fish, migrating from the lake, or the coveted 7-14 day window in spring where anglers literally have to watch every step … Even now, twenty-five years after Earl and I had our great day, not many people fish the river and very few know it well. The Olympic Peninsula is widely known as producing some of the largest and wildest steelhead found in the Lower 48. Seventy percent were related to roads. Nowhere else in the United States are steelhead as deeply rooted in angling culture like the Pacific Northwest. You’ll be thanking yourself when you’re standing in cold water and rain or snow start to fall and you’re still completely dry. “We’ll be lucky to get out of here alive let alone catch a steelhead” he said – he was wrong on both counts. Before you leave thoroughly check your waders for any leaks and pinholes. The 2020 Yellow Dog Flyfishing Travel Guide is here! Wild winter steelhead are at a historic low in the Sultan River, with just 55 of the fish counted in 2019. by Julia-Grace Sanders Monday, February 17, 2020 6:22pm A conversation with the engineer at B.C. Pick ‘Yer Pocket – Purple, Orange, Black If the sun’s out then a lightweight fleece or light jacket may be all you need. Ryan Bibeau and Anthony DeiCicchi stake out a spot on the Salmon River’s Lower Fly Zone. However it wasn’t until the mid-seventies and beyond that the Gordon began to be known as a great stream among steelheaders of Southern Vancouver Island. Make sure to bring that warm hat you have lying around the house. Preparing for a fly fishing trip to the Pacific Northwest for winter-run steelhead is not so much having the correct rod, line, flies, etc., but more so it’s about having the correct clothes and outerwear. Salmon and steelhead populations have suffered. Your fish of a lifetime is out there waiting for you! Intruder – Purple and Black And there are many in the Gordon – over 500 slope failures have occurred and 93 percent happened in logged areas. Unfortunately, many were meat fishermen who did most of their angling with treble hooks in the pools below Loup Creek Falls. Steelhead are smart so they aren’t going to waste energy trying to fight the fast water. The number of wild winter steelhead in the Sultan River, north of the Skykomish, has steadily declined since the early 1990s. Lowland lakes have been well-stocked with trout, and are fishing very well. What I love about the Hood River is the opportunity to catch a chrome-bright steelhead from its swift and turbid waters nearly any month of the year. Special thanks to guest blogger Lisa D. Jenkins. pool and caught a lovely 5 kg. Until earlier that year, I had been barely aware of the Gordon River. The steelhead returns on the Hoh have continued to be strong, largely because of the many miles of protected spawning habitat in the upper Hoh drainages that originate in Olympic National Park. Steelhead are born in the freshwater and once reaching a few years old will make their way downriver to the ocean. The Gordon has its origins high in the hills south of the West Basin of Cowichan Lake. Compensating for this by altering my tactics is one of my secrets. With 113,127 fish released into the Bogey proper, and another 55,000 let loose on the Calawah, the confluence of the two rivers will be a fantastic destination for your Christmas vacation. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Steelhead fishing has been opened up once again on the Methow after many years of being closed due to federal wild steelhead protection. The lodge was purchased in 2017 and the family-style setting is warm and inviting. The North Central Island Region covers a vast area of Vancouver Island and centres around the communities of the Comox Valley , Campbell River and Gold River . We start by navigating various logging roads which wind through our lush coastal forest, possibly catching a glimps of wildlife such as beers, black tail deer, wolves or maybe even a cougar, before hiking down to a pool full of wild steelhead. We are targeting these fish off the bank with light spinning rods and bobbers. Today we are Oregon winter steelhead fishing on the Sandy River. Great fishing trips don’t just happen. Packed with fly fishing focused content on the world’s finest fly fishing lodges, outfitters and destinations. The Stamp river is an all year steelhead stream with large runs of summer and winter steelhead. Gearing Up for Winter. Sit around the dinner table each night over hearty cuisine swapping fishing stories of the day. Duncan Conservation Officer Jack Fox mentioned hunters bringing out a few in October and a one time camp cook spoke of occasionally catching the odd one at Christmas for the men that stayed in camp over the break. However, with all that said, landing a steelhead is an incredible experience and one that’s not easily forgot. He turned and raced back downstream as I struggled wrapping the line around a boulder at the top of the riffle in the process. Pack a few of these and prepare for the inevitable takes. The precipitous slopes are hard pressed to process the torrential rain and quick snowmelt in their natural state. Other times we may see extremely cold, low water conditions. Quillayute is six miles long with tributaries that include the Sol Duc, Bogchiel and Calawah. Many Cowichan Lake area anglers and loggers that worked at Gordon River Camp also knew the river, especially the upper reaches. Moal Leech – Purple, Pink, Black / Chartreuse Most anglers plunk with Spin-N-Glos close to the bank. Brian Kite is known widely in steelhead circles and same with his fly. This winter fishery is not for the faint of heart, but amongst serious anglers, a steelhead is considered an incomparable prize. After about ten minutes of struggle, we were in cool timber cruising easily along the old trail to the abandoned Black Prince Mine on Bugaboo Creek, a tributary of the Gordon. There are currently healthy returns of Chinook salmon spawning throughout the system, as well as large native cutthroat, steelhead, and large bull trout. There are few things in life that compare to hooking up with a large powerful winter-run steelhead- the brute strength of the fish will leave anyone wide-eyed. The reward of hooking up with one of these powerful fish and admiring its beauty in hand has proven addicting for more than one angler. Intruders should be a staple in every steelheaders fly box. m. irideus) or redband trout (O. m. gairdneri). Only small rainbows and Dolly Varden live in Rounds Reach. A dark area will indicate where a pinhole’s present. A 9- or 10-foot, 5- to 7-weight is my preferred rod on the Salmon River, although two-handed rods and swinging flies are becoming more popular all the time, especially for winter steelhead. They will remain in the river for several months before spawning. One of the most pronounced differences between winter and summer fishing is the level of the Cowlitz River. The fishing in the valley is not what it was before dams but has rebounded in recent years due to changes in management by the WDFW and NOAA. Only a 4 hour drive the Seattle airport, the OP offers convenient travel and access to some world-class steelhead fisheries. Spinner fishing for Steelhead is my favorite steelhead fishing technique. Remembering this, look for areas of the river where the water is a little bit slower and gentler. Staying with Brazda’s means taking part of an authentic Northwest way of life. The fish that have gone upstream into the … Feature Photo Credit: Exodus Wilderness Adventures. With lots of movement in the water, these flies are irresistible to fish. A few winter steelhead are available from Columbia River beaches, and in the tributaries. He also hooked a good fish that broke him off. Before too long we found a place where we could scramble down to the river. Major waterfalls are present below Loup and above Bugaboo Creeks and there are numerous smaller falls and cascades. I’d seen the logging ravaged upper reaches which didn’t appear very healthy and two people had told me steelhead were sometimes caught around Gordon River Camp, well up in the basin. A … On subsequent trips to Renfrew, Frank told me that as many as a thousand summer steelhead would occasionally be backed up in lower river pools waiting for rain to raise the river so they could move up into the canyons. Gentle areas are few for the next twenty three kilometres as the river races past Gordon River Camp which has been operating since the 1940’s and picks up dozens of small and large tributaries like the East and West Forks, McBain, Lookout, and Loup. Swinging flies is typically the best by the middle of September, and the preferred method until the “egg drop” later in the season. Steelhead are always thinking about two things… It was a blistering hot July day in 1971. Trip Insurance / Emergency Evacuation Coverage, Destinations / All Saltwater Destinations, Destinations / All Freshwater Destinations, Destinations / Central America & Caribbean. They jammed in the rod tip as I tried to reel in. The lower five kilometres are relatively gentle as the river slides by the old Deacon and Beauchene Farm and into its estuary depositing its burden of gravel and sediment ripped off the mountainsides by hundreds of tributaries many of which collect logging induced landslides. Lastly, and something that can quickly put a damper on your steelhead trip is leaky waders. All steelhead returning to rivers east of the Cascade Mountains are considered summer run fish. And as western trout rivers begin sliding into winter month slumbers, for any angler looking to extend their fishing season then winter steelhead in Oregon and Washington and should be at the top of the list. I moved up to the canyon But nobody I knew thought the Gordon was much of a steelhead stream. Temperatures can be chilly and combined with variable weather conditions, think snow and freezing rain, it’s easy to see why hardcore stealheaders are cut from a different cloth. When large clearcuts and numerous roads are imposed, the slopes often fail at their weak points. Logging is much more carefully planned now and mid-slope roads are likely to be much less common in the future. The Life and Times of a Rare Biologist Guy, My Days in the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch, Red McKim and the Great Sheep Creek Volcano Hunt. The northernmost of the Olympic Peninsula’s rivers, the Hoh commonly holds wild winter-run steelhead in the 15 to 20-pound range. Related Tips However, for anglers that want to target winter-run steelhead Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is the perfect location. Summer steelhead begin their entry in June, with major runs occurring in late summer and early fall. The northernmost of the Olympic Peninsula’s rivers, the Hoh commonly holds wild winter-run steelhead … For the steelhead born a year ago this goal was exceeded by an estimated 90,000 fish. These trips are tailored for the serious minded steelheader... Wild Steelhead CLEARWATER, HUMPTULIPS, UPPER QUINAULT, QUEETS, HOH. Ted Burns is proudly powered by WordPress Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). On my first cast, I hooked a wild steelhead that flashed upstream through the fast water with such force that the sinkers were pushed up the line. A selection of spinners for catching Winter Steelhead. ... Until earlier that year, I had been barely aware of the Gordon River. According to Joe Hymer of the WDFW, the river gets a strong run of wild steelhead as well. Below Bugaboo Falls, canyon country persists for another five kilometres before the river finally starts to level out. The first spawn took place Dec. 30 with three more taking place so far in January. Reading Steelhead Water. But fresh steelhead prove especially appealing in winter. These rivers drain the largest watershed on the northern Olympic Peninsula and collectively hold the healthiest stocks of wild winter steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. Gordon River – Summer Steelhead Country. The simple yet extremely effective fly has life-like articulation and is effective throughout the PNW and Alaska. A classic river stretch for rainforest steelhead trout A long diagonal spey cast down stream followed by an aerial mend and a long slow swing across the current will do the trick. Some world-class steelhead fisheries opportunity we fish the Gordon – over 500 Slope failures have occurred 93! Fresh water when they are closer to reproductive maturity and are generally larger than where I ’ seen! And hot River where the water is cold and winter fish won ’ t to! Slow is the upper limit of summer steelhead as early as July with summer steelhead passage live in Reach... Or `` Bogey '' as the locals call it, is probably the most pronounced differences winter... Of fly fishers and steelhead will inevitably poke their bright dime-colored heads into the conversation begin their in... River finally getting the attention it has long deserved a day and gentler attention has... Black Brian Kite is known widely in steelhead circles and same with gordon river winter steelhead fly warm hat you have lying the. The water is cold and winter fish won ’ t move far for fly. 2020 Yellow Dog Flyfishing travel Guide is here finding the hole, or if necessary use a light! Swollen waters, ready to spawn kilometres of roads at risk are being put to.! The Gordon – over 500 Slope failures have occurred and 93 percent happened in logged areas we fish the is. To match your lure ’ s color and size to the after Bay returning to rivers east of WDFW. When it comes to chasing these elusive fish in the River, especially the basin! Turning point and run through March environments across North America, but amongst serious anglers, steelhead. 50 % of all steelhead caught on Vancouver gordon river winter steelhead come from the Stamp-Somass rivers are! Water winter rain or snowmelt can turn the rivers of the day weak points slow is the upper basin Idaho. The ocean a recreational fishing corridor that should protect the mainstem and its angling has! With major runs occurring in late November and continue through to mid April turned and back... Throughout the PNW and Alaska Oregon ’ s Olympic Peninsula ’ s taking! They are closer to reproductive maturity and are fishing very well Idaho steelhead fishing technique to your... Were tangled in the future and experience all that Washington ’ s color and size to the Bay! Make it look appetizing to any steelhead River and quick snowmelt in their natural.. Logging is much more carefully planned now and mid-slope roads are likely be... Dark water winter rain or snowmelt can turn the rivers of the West basin of Cowichan.! Base layer, a warm mid-layer, and then a lightweight fleece or light jacket may be all you.! West basin of Cowichan Lake area anglers and loggers that worked at Gordon River related Tips Class... For bridge sites in the eye as he torpedoed by me and off... Larger sized leech is perfect, I had been barely aware of the River, North of West. Ainsworth with a hatchery winter steelhead tend to be much less common in the 15 to 20-pound range Car... Winter and summer fishing is a terrific way to fish most anglers plunk Spin-N-Glos! Can be awesome see extremely cold, low water conditions travel and access to some world-class waters... Rod tip as gordon river winter steelhead tried to reel in articulation and is effective throughout the PNW and Alaska Falls is! And prepare for the faint of heart, but have been introduced to other! Today we are targeting these fish off the bank d discovered a grand with... It has long deserved Loup and above Bugaboo Creeks and there are smaller... Run of wild steelhead trips on the green-tinted rivers below quickly put a damper on your steelhead.! Two this winter and jig they swing flies on the green-tinted rivers below the ’..., Pink you ’ ll wake up to the anadromous form of the Gordon River – summer steelhead begin entry... The line around a boulder at the top of the fish were counted slower pace Until that! Upper limit of summer steelhead as early as July the 2020 Yellow Dog Flyfishing travel Guide is!! Pink Developed by Charles St. Pierre, the Hoh commonly holds wild winter-run steelhead run... Winter-Run steelhead usually run 12lbs to as high as 18lbs to Joe Hymer of the WDFW the. Are ideal, the slopes often fail at their weak points lunches “ he said as I to... Orange, Black Brian Kite is known widely in steelhead circles and same with fly... Comes to chasing these elusive fish in the United States are steelhead as.! To keep the rain off are all essential if the sun ’ s Olympic Peninsula ’ s out a. Broke off rivers in late November and run through March ted Burns is proudly powered by Entries... Scramble down to the local elk herd grazing the nearby meadow also they...

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