Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Winter Steelhead Fishing Explained. . .

Lots of Detailed Information about Winter Steelhead Fishing:

Wynoochee River Fishing Sleds

Fish the Wynoochee, Satsop, Chehalis, Cowlitz or Humptulips River for Winter Steehead all small rivers and small groups of 2-3.  These fishing trips are for 8-9 hours and usually meet around 6am in Montesano, Hoquiam or Toledo, depending on which river you are fishing. 
You benefit from our countless years of combined experience to choose the perfect river, the perfect section of river and species to target based on local knowledge and customer preference.  If you really want to fish only 1 specific river we can make that happen.  If you really want to fish on a specific date we can also make that happen.  If you want to leave your trip up to the fishing guide to choose the best date and river we can do that for you as well.

Learn more about these excellent steelhead fisheries below and why we recommend them for your Winter Steelhead Fishing Adventures.

Wynoochee River Winter Steelhead

Now through March:

Wynochee River:  The Wynoochee River, near Montesano, WA,  originates in the Olympic Mountains of the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington State.  Steelhead return to the rivers of the Pacific NW from the Pacific Ocean.  Hatchery steelhead leave the fish hatcheries or streams where they were deposited as smolts, travel downstream to the Pacific Ocean and stay in the Ocean 2-4 years before returning to their stream of origin.  Native steelhead similarly return to the streams where they were hatched and raised to spawn.  The Wynoochee River is also the home of Waters West Guide Service.  We are the ONLY guide service with property on the Wynoochee River. The Wynoochee River usually gets 180,000 steelhead smolts each year.
The Humptulips River is located near Hoquiam, Washington and Ocean Shores, Washington.  It is a terrific, mostly drift boat, fishery that usually receives around 100,000-140,000 steelhead smolts each winter.  This river also originates in the Olympic Mountains and is an excellent choice for both hatchery or native (native fish must be released) fishing.
The Queets River guided fishing trips are offered by special permit through the Olympic Nation Park Service.  The Queets is located north of Hoquiam,WA off of highway 101.  There is an option when booking your trip to fish the Queets for $50/person in addition to the regular daily fishing rate.  All Queets River trips are drift boat only and with fishing guide, Aaron.  Aaron has been fishing as part of Team Waters West for about 7 years now and grew up fishing the local Grays Harbor and Coastal area rivers.  These trips are all done out of a large 18ft Pavati Drift Boat.  If you really want a remote "special" fishing trip we recommend the Queets River.  Sometimes in the winter the Queets is not in good enough shape (the river get's too high) to safety fish.  On these occasions you can either reschedule to fish a different date or fish another local river that is less "wild" than the Queets.  There is almost always a good Plan B option for a fishing trip when the Queets River is too high to fish.  Also, watching the weather report and searching for a dry week is an excellent way to get a trip in on the Queets!
The Satsop and Chehalis Rivers also have an abundance of hatchery winter run steelhead.  These rivers are closer to Olympia and I-5 and sometimes fish better than the Wynoochee or Humptulips when the water gets extra low.
February through April:

Cowlitz River Winter Steelhead

The Cowlitz River
is famous and popular for it's hatchery fish programs.  There are 2 large state-run hatcheries on the Cowlitz River.  There is a salmon hatchery at the Mayfield Dam along with an excellent visitor center and fish collection facility you can view.  There is also a 'trout' hatchery at Blue Creek on the Cowlitz RIver just below the Mayfield Dam and hatchery.  Blue Creek is the most popular spot to fish for Winter Steelhead on the Cowlitz.  We usually start fishing the Cowlitz River in late February through early April for Winter Steelhead.  These trips are all done out of 'Sleds' which are fishing boats with outboard motors that can run in shallow rivers.  These Cowlitz River destinations are located near Toledo, WA.
Fishing Techniques and Boats Used:

The most popular ways of fishing for steelhead are (1) side drifting (2) pulling plugs (3) bobber and jig fishing

Side drifting can be accomplished out of a drift boat or sled.  Your fishing partners all cast in succession - casting upriver and letting your line drift down through the 'slot' where the steelhead are lying waiting to move upstream.  You continue this process over and over as your boat drifts down through the 'slot.'

Pulling plugs is the easiest for beginners and can also be the most productive method depending on conditions and section of river.  You simply let small divers called plugs sink below the water into the river where fish are waiting to move upriver.  Your guide keeps the boat in position and slowly drift down through the hole or remain stationary depending on section of river.

Bobber and jig fishing is fun and easy.  You cast a bobber with a line and jig attached below.  The steelhead jigs are various colors depending on the water clarity ranging from bright green/yellow to black. 

Your fishing guides have the experience to know when and where to use what gear.  Some days they may only have 1 type of fishing technique prepared for you and other days they may have up to 3 techniques ready for you.  It all depends on water level, clarity and what section of river the fish are in. 


We have a wide range of boats for use during winter steelhead season each with it's specific advantages based on the river and water conditions.

Aaron runs an 18ft Pavati Drift Boat.  Pavati drift boats are the Cadillac of all drift boats (some prefer Willie Boats which can be equipped equally well) All of our boats, including Aaron's Pavati have propane heating systems.  The Pavati has doors which makes getting in and out of the boat easy for all ages. 

Casey uses Willie Drift Boats and Alumaweld Sleds.  Sleds are boats with outboard motors that are all open to make casting and fishing easier.  They have high degree hulls which makes them able to run in shallow rivers.  Casey has a 20ft and a 25ft Sled.  The 20ft sled is used on the smaller rivers such as the Wynoochee, Satsop and Chehalis and the larger sled is used mostly on the Columbia River or Cowlitz for larger groups.

Chris uses Willie Drift Boats and has a brand new Willie Sled being delivered in time for the Cowlitz River Winter Steelhead Season. He also has a 17ft Wooldridge Sled which can be used on the smaller rivers for Winter Steelhead.

Call/txt: 253-389-0359

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wynoochee River Winter Steelhead

Why is the 2017/2018 Season going to be so amazing?

The 2016/17 Wynoochee River Smolt Counts were down. WAY down compared to the following year's smolt plants.

For the 2017/2018 Wynoochee River Steelhead Season there will be a return based off of 169,150 planted hatchery steelhead smolts compared to only 88,740 from the previous year.

If you have been waiting for a good year to fish the Wynoochee River then this is it!

Fish with a Wynoochee River Fishing Guide in a small sled or drift boat.  Our Wynoochee River Fishing Guides have private river access, the best boats on the water and local knowledge that only comes after years of fishing the Wynoochee River daily in season.

We are the only guide service located directly on 
the Wynoochee River.  We fish the Wynoochee 
River for both Summer and Winter-Run
River for both Summer and Winter-Run Steelhead.  
The best time to fish the Wynoochee River is from 
June through March, with the best chance at 
trophy Wynoochee River 
The best time to fish the Wynoochee River is from June through March, with the best chance at trophy Wynoochee River Steelhead during January 
through March.

We welcome you to experience the beauty of the 
Wynoochee River and the ultimate 
through March.
We welcome you to experience the beauty of the Wynoochee River and the ultimate Wynoochee River 
Fishing Experience!

The Wynoochee River is also close to the Ocean 
Beaches and the best fishing for Wynoochee River 
Steelhead falls during normal clam-digging seas

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Satsop River Fishing Guides

The Satsop River is located near the small town of Montesano in Grays Harbor County Washington.  Our Satsop River Fishing Guides will help you catch winter steelhead like the ones pictured above fishing for Satsop River Winter Steelhead.  

Satsop River fishing guides use small drift boat and sleds to guide you to fish.  

The Satsop River is best fished for summer steelhead, winter steelhead and fall salmon.  It closes in the spring to allow native steelhead to return and spawn in the headwaters of the Satsop River.  

Satsop River Fishing Guides use several different fishing techniques to catch Satsop River Steelhead.  Satsop River fishing guides use bait such as sand shrimp and salmon roe.  Satsop River fishing guides use light tackle terminal gear and some use light weight fly gear.  Satsop River Steelhead are susceptible to side drifting and free drifting making sled fishing during the high water winter months extremely productive.

Fish the Satsop River with our Satsop River Fishing Guides and you won't be disappointed. 

Wynoochee River Fishing Guide

The Wynoochee River is located near the small town of Montesano in Grays Harbor County Washington.  Our Wynoochee River Fishing Guides will help you catch winter steelhead like the ones pictured above fishing for Wynoochee River Winter Steelhead.  

Wynoochee River fishing guides use small drift boat and sleds to guide you to fish.  

The Wynoochee River is best fished for summer steelhead, winter steelhead and fall salmon.  It closes in the spring to allow native steelhead to return and spawn in the headwaters of the Wynoochee River.  

Wynoochee River Fishing Guides use several different fishing techniques to catch Wynoochee River Steelhead.  Wynoochee River fishing guides use bait such as sand shrimp and salmon roe.  Wynoochee River fishing guides use light tackle terminal gear and some use light weight fly gear.  Wynoochee River Steelhead are susceptible to side drifting and free drifting making sled fishing during the high water winter months extremely productive.

Fish the Wynoochee River with our Wynoochee River Fishing Guides and you won't be disappointed. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Salmon Season 2017 for Seattle, Portland and Astoria, Oregon

Salmon Fishing Oregon, Salmon Fishing Seattle is made easy with our Columbia River Fishing Guides.

The 2017 Fall Chinook and Coho Salmon Season on the Columbia River and Buoy 10 is set and we are looking forward to a return of 582,000 of king salmon and 386,000 coho salmon.

Our Columbia River Fishing guides will help provide excellent service for your salmon fishing oregon trips, salmon fishing seattle trips and all Columbia River Fishing Guide trips.

Whenever a fishing enthusiast travels to the Pacific NW they have one thing on their mind - Salmon Fishing.  And rightly so. For salmon fishing oregon you have the best chances of catching fish in April through August and for salmon fishing seattle the best closest fishing is in the fall.  The Columbia River has many tributaries so when the columbia river fall salmon season is over the smaller rivers such as the cowlitz and kalama continue to have good fishing into winter for salmon.

Oregon Salmon Fishing Trips meet in Astoria at the West Mooring Basin in July, August and September.

Salmon Fishing Seattle is available year round with the smaller rivers being fish in July through March including steelhead fishing.

Columbia River Fishing Guides fish the Columbia River from the mouth of the Columbia River at Buoy 10 between the Washington and Oregon border and the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Columbia River Spring Chinook Run

Cowlitz River 2017 Spring Chinook

The 2017 Columbia River Spring Chinook run was originally estimated to be 160,400 fish which would have been in line with the 10 year average and the normal fishing seasons were set, included snake river fisheries, as fisheries managers expected escapement levels to be high enough to allow commercial, tribal and recreational fisheries.

As of May 16th, 2017 the 160,400 pre-season forecast has been slashed to only 83,000.  That is about half of the original forecast and resulted in the closing of the snake river recreational fisheries.  

There has been a lot of talk this season about why the Spring Chinook catches were low.  First the Columbia River was flooded during the most popular time to fish the Columbia Portland fishery from March 15th through the 2nd Saturday in April.  Catch rates were so low that fisheries managers re-opened the lower Columbia Spring Chinook Fishery 2 times!  They opened the river for sport fisherman to catch their quota on the lower river based on the higher 160,400 pre-season forecast.  

The fisheries managers conducted 'test fisheries' where they used nets to fish in the lower columbia river for king salmon to see if there were any spring chinook hanging out in the lower river.  The managers assured everyone that the fish were there and they just weren't moving upriver to where people were trying to catch them.

Then the water flows coming out of the Bonneville Dam got really high.  Historically high water flows, fisheries managers suggested, were keeping the 2017 Columbia River Spring Chinook from heading upstream through the fish passage gates and over Bonneville Dam.

We've been checking the Bonneville Dam Fish Counts DAILY, every morning pressing the refresh button over and over waiting for the thousands of fish we've been expecting to show up.  With over or near a thousand fish a day going over the dam as of May 16th it appears that the fish could all straggle in, but it's probably not very likely.

Lucky for us the Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers have been fair to good for the 2017 spring season so far and we are grateful that we are catching fish.

Hopefully more fish show up and fisheries managers can target the cause of the super low Columbia run and do something to fix it.

To book a fishing trip for Cowlitz Spring Chinook, Summer Sockeye or Buoy 10 King Salmon HERE IS YOUR LINK  Call/txt: 253-389-0359

Buoy 10 Fishing Guides

The Buoy 10 Fishing Season most commonly refers to the Fall King Salmon Run on the Columbia River which is held just inside the mouth of the Columbia River.  Buoy 10 Fishing Guides provide full service Columbia River Fishing Charters near Astoria, Oregon on the Lower Columbia River.

Each year when August 1st arrived the Buoy 10 King Salmon Fishery begins with thousands of people seeking to catch their 2 fish limit of 1 king salmon and 1 coho salmon.

Since Astoria, Oregon is near the Oregon Coast it is a very popular tourist destinations.  And I guess you've deduced that this place is busy even without fishing.  That means you MUST book both your fishing trip and your hotels as far in advance as possible.

Astoria Oregon is home to lots of breweries and boutique restaurants.  It is also home to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

When you fish with a Buoy 10 Fishing Guide be sure to book with a guide who is moored at the West Mooring Basin or Hammond Marina.  Fish cleaning and packaging is available right on the dock.

All gear, bait and tackle is always provided and most boats take a maximum of 6 passengers.

The Buoy 10 King Salmon Fishery lasts from August 1st through Labor Day each year with more king salmon being caught earlier and more coho salmon being caught later each year.  The best time to take a trip with one of our Buoy 10 Fishing Guides if you want to try and catch a trophy buoy 10 king salmon is between August 1st and 25th.  If you want to take a trip with one of our Buoy 10 Fishing Guides when the best chance is to catch lots of easy limits of coho salmon is going to be between August 20th and Labor Day.

We have the best team of Buoy 10 Fishing Guides, with lots of years of experience and the newest fleet of boats you will find on the water.

Columbia River Fishing Guides
Salmon Fishing Oregon
Salmon Fishing Portland
Salmon Fishing Seattle

Book a Buoy 10 Guided King and Coho Salmon Trip Online Here:  https://fishwaterswest.rezdy.com call/txt/email: 253-389-0359