Winter Steelhead – Part 2

A few weeks had passed since our last trip with little or no rain while the river levels began to fall. Water clarity began to decrease the bite as fish became spooked and weary serching out favorite hiding spots. Good thing as the bank account started to dip from all the outdoor activities. Time to get back to work ! 

Now for NW fisherman, our favorite treat occured lifting the river levels back to what we call “steelhead green”. This is when we play hookie and make up lame excuses to get back to real work we long for in the worst way – “side drifting”! I grabbed my five year old son to head for the coast in search of fresh winter chrome. The drive from Central Oregon can be hazerdous however the time had come to “Pursue The Outdoors”. Eli and I packed the Jeep for the four hour drive in the dark before we met up with friends for another outing on the river.

Eli Passing The Time

Eli Passing The Time

Luckily Eli had some toys and a few snacks to help keep us in fine spirits  as we anticipated the action ahead! Morning came when we approached the coast, the weather had a slight chill with wind blowing down the canyon. I knew we would need to dress warm and keep Eli close to the heater. Remember the days of frozen fingers with Jack Frost breathing down your neck??? Now we all know that when you drink lots of cocoa and coffee, your eyes begin to float creating the desperate need for a pit stop.

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Jeff with a sigh of RELIEF!

Can You Spell RELIEF?

Once back on the road, we past a herd of Roosevelt Elk feeding in a river front property yard. I told Eli to keep his eyes open in case we saw more. Usually when getting near the coastal plains, it’s common to see elk out feeding.

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Welcome to Tillamook Valley

Welcome to Tillamook Valley

When we arrived, Jeff and Jarvis launched the boat like pros while I prepared Eli for the day ahead telling him what all fathers say – “ready to catch a fish”? Of course Eli knew that fishing does not always mean catching however he as most kids do demonstrated wisdom beyond his years when he said, “can I have a candy bar now with my pop”? Gotta love it….

All Systems Check?

All Systems Check?

LAUNCH

LAUNCH

Eli Waiting Patiently

Eli Waiting Patiently

Of Course The candy Bar....

Of Course The Candy Bar....

Ok, now that the priorities were out of the way we could get to fishing as the river level looked just right with perfect color. We floated about three hundred yards downstream as I casted to a nice piece of slow water where steelhead like to hold right along the bank wall when sure enough, “fish on”. My line raced back across the river as I picked up slack to set the hook and try to convince Eli to take the rod. Since the fish was full of pepper and looked to be rather large, Eli deferred allowing Dad to enjoy the feeling of fresh winter chorme once again. Thanks to Jeff and Jarvis, we were able to film the fish during the rodeo and snap a few shots for memory as the brut was about a 12 lb. native that needed to be released right away.

Need Shades???

Need Shades???

During all the excitement, Eli’s hands became cold so it was time to light the burner for a little heat to help feel the finger tips once again. What a trooper Eli was. He said “come on Dad, let’s get in the boat and catch another one”! This is when I knew the Lord had blessed us with a great day spending quality time freezing while eating candy bars fighting NW steelhead. As the day progressed we hooked multiple fish for what proved to be a great adventure and timing of the run combined with river level and flow. Fish were all throughout the system allowing us to film and enjoy catching instead of fishing!

Releasing a Native

Releasing a Native

Captain with Chrome...

Captain with Chrome...

Jarvis with a Keeper

Jarvis with a Keeper

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Eli with 1st Steelhead

Eli with 1st Steelhead

Great trip guys and thanks for all the help and support with Eli as you really made his day. He especially enjoyed Jarvis’s bagel and warm burner where he could keep warm. Nothing like pursuing the outdoors with the best of friends…. “fish on”.

Warm by the Heater

Nothing Like A Warm Heater

About the Author

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann lives in Central Oregon with his wife of 19 years and their three children. You can find Troy with his family, friends and partners out most weekends enjoying the Lord's creation "Pursuing The Outdoors".