The Orvis Steelhead Resource Center

Where to Catch West Coast Steelhead
By Dean Schubert

San Francisco Bay Area
There are several coastal rivers within a couple of hours driving north and south of San Francisco, including the San Lorenzo, Russian, and Gualala. Sources of fly fishing information and guiding:

  • Ernies Casting Pond, Soquel. CA 831-462-6531
  • Great River Company San Mateo. CA. 650-342-3474
  • Pacific Coast Anglers. San Ramon, CA. 925-830-8791
  • Fish First, Albany. CA. 510-526-1937
  • Outdoor Pro Shop. Rohnert Park, CA 707-588-8033
  • Flyfishing, Etc. Petaluma, CA. 707-762-3073

California Central Valley
Larger, inland rivers with good populations of winter fish are the American and Feather. Sources of information and guiding:

  • Kienes Fly Shop. Sacramento, CA. 800-400-0359
  • Flyfishing Specialties. Citrus Heights, CA. 916-722-1055

Northern California
The upper section of the lower Sacramento get good runs of salmon, steelhead, and is an excellent all-year tailwater fishery for trout. The upper reaches of the Trinity system are a short drive over the hill. Source of information and guiding:

  • The Fly Shop. Redding, CA. 800-669-3474

North California Coast
The Klamath and its tributaries, the Eel system, Mad, and Smith are well known rivers for steelies. Source of information and guiding:

  • Eureka Fly Shop. 707-444-2000

Southwestern Oregon
Numerous coastal streams, as well as the larger systems such as the Rogue, Illinois, Umpqua, and Mckenzie. Sources of information and guiding:

  • Caddis Fly. Eugene, OR 541-342-7005
  • Morrisons Lodge. Merlin, OR 800-826-1963
  • Steamboat Inn. Steamboat, OR 800-840-8825
Orvis Endorsed Guide Alberto Ray

Northwestern Oregon
A multitude of coastal rivers and streams and the greater Willamette system. Sources of information and guiding:

  • The Scarlet Ibis. Corvallis, OR 541-754-1544
  • Fly Country. Salem, OR 503-585-4898

Northeastern Oregon
The Grande Ronde, Wallowa, and Imnaha rivers in Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington are becoming more widely known and fished. For information and guiding contact:

  • Mac Huff. Joseph, OR 800-940-3688

Central Oregon
The Deschutes River is one of the most popular steelhead streams in Oregon. For guiding and the latest on conditions contact:

  • Cascade Guides & Outfitters. Sunriver, OR 888-230-hook

The most popular rivers are in the Puget Sound area. The Skykomish, Skagit, Stillaguamish, and Sauk Rivers are the best ones; however emergency closures have eliminated the Stillaguamish and Skykomish for March and April. For the guiding and the latest on conditions contact:

  • Leland Miyawaki, Orvis Bellevue, 425-452-9138

Dean Schubert has been fly-fishing for steelhead for over 30 years. He was a fishing guide in northern and eastern California for 20 years, director of the Orvis West-Coast Fly-Fishing Schools for 12 years, and has been an Orvis sales rep in California for the past seven years. His articles have appeared in most of the major fly-fishing magazines.

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