December - March
The Siletz River is one of Oregon’s most scenic and productive rivers for steelhead on the Oregon Coast. Waterfalls and fish are plentiful here, and the fish can grow to be very large. Both hatchery and wild fish call this river home and the average fish are 8-12 pounds. These acrobatic sea-run rainbow trout are fished from a drift boat and up to three people can be fished at once. Various techniques are effective here, but long free stone runs are well suited to bobber-dogging.
The Siuslaw River and its tributary Lake Creek are the closest streams to the Eugene/Springfield Metro area that have a run of winter steelhead. These are bed rock rivers with narrow slots that the fish prefer to hold in. Casting skill is imperative here, where occasionally you only have one shot to hit the narrow buckets where the fish are. This makes the Siuslaw drainage a challenge to fish, but also more rewarding when success is achieved. These rivers have both a hatchery and wild component, yet we primarily see harvestable hatchery fish.
May - June
The Willamette, McKenzie, and Santiam Rivers all receive planting of hatchery summer steelhead. These rivers are primarily fished from drift boats, but a jet sled can be utilized in some areas when the flows are appropriate. The sun rises early during this time of year and so do the fish, so trips begin before first light. Half day trips are available because of this, as are evening trips. These are great trips for beginners to learn how to steelhead fish, while the weather is mild.