Winter Chrome Steelhead

Winter’s here – the rivers are calling! Grab your favorite steelhead rod, tackle and bait for a chance at some of the Northwest’s best fighting fish.  Nothing like breaking away from work for a couple days to enjoy the sights while taking in fresh air fishing for winter “CHROME”. We hit the river early for what promised to be an action packed day. The river was on the drop and starting to clear.


It’s been along time since Jeff and I were able to get out on the river for some old fashioned side drifting.  The boat was all set up and ready for launch.


It’s a good idea to double check your gear and have everything all rigged up with bait ready to fish. May not be a bad idea to check the plug  either…. One thing great about fishing with Jeff is he always has the boat organized and ready to go!


Ignore the chips as those are one of our ancient secrets to catching fish! When side drifting, it’s always good to have multiple rods all set up with fresh visible line allowing for proper management during the drift. We chose to use 9 ft. medium action rods with 10 lb. test. “Oh” – don’t look to close at our secret weapon…



Notice the incredible scent free technique here… Might suggest washing hands first with Joy and then wearing gloves as potato chip oil can really hinder the bite!

The fog had lifted allowing us to push off for an opportunity to sneak in below other boats that had put in up river. The current proved to be strong however the water color looked fishable.


Now Jeff had been dying to test his new toy and demonstrate the effectiveness of motoring back upstream after fishing a drift using his new electric motor. I must say it felt like cheating a bit remembering the old days of digging your heels in and pulling hard on the oars using the back eddy to ease our way back to the top of the drift for another try. Utilizing this technique can be very effective as we hooked up on the second drift with a fierce winter beauty!



Sorry I missed the photo opp. as I chose to film the rodeo instead as Jeff managed to land this beautiful hen all on his own. My goal was to capture as much video as possible for upcoming PTO DVD projects. Thanks Jeff for being a movie star! 

I gathered our gear and baited up again using some secret sauce while Jeff chose to man the oars allowing us another opportunity. Once in the slot using the current, we found that drifting using the oars to control worked much more effective than trying to manage the drift with the electric motor.



Once we found our groove, I was blessed to hook and catch a super bright native that we released in the water. Of course my buddy does not take any photos of my trophy…. what’s the deal here??? Ok, I guess it’s hard to run the boat, release the native and at the same time snap a picture.  Good news is we got it on video so stay tuned for the action on a DVD release.

Ok…. we’re feeling pretty good ready for another bite however had finished our lower river drift when we took out and traveled back upriver for another launch and attempt to fish water that had been pressured early in the morning. Once in the water, we had my brother Scott along to roll the dice…. Sure enough, half way down on our second drift “slam” and “fish on”!  Once again sorry for the lack of pictures as I chose to film instead which proved to be a great fight allowing Jeff to row the boat to shore where Scott could get out of the boat and play the brut! What a beauty as these early winter fish are so bright and full of fight! Congrats. Scott on another great day pursuing the outdoors with family and friends.


More Chrome

Can you say CHROME????

“Quit wishin, go fishin”…..

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".