Echo Fly Rod Seasons of Pacific City: Winter/Spring

This is the first of three blog posts that will feature the Echo fly rods I fish through the seasons here in Pacific City.

Any fly angler located in Pacific City, Oregon who might be so-inclined can find some species of Pacific salmon to test during most months of the year, along with a solid bench of Echo fly rods and Airflo lines to effectively align angler skills, budget, and water conditions.

Winter / Spring in Pacific City is principally a winter steelhead season, but if the ocean permits, anyone who owns a dory boat, or who has friends with a dory, can venture nearshore in the ocean to catch black rockfish and lingcod. The little noticed species in winter spring is the coastal cutthroat that are full time estuary residents and may be sought out in the tidal flats any month of the year. The estuary sea-run cutthroat are sketchy fish to locate, but these challenging fish are wonderful quarry on small wet flies and buggers.

Prime hatchery winter steelhead from the 2019 season. This fish was taken swinging an unweighted Intruder on the <a href=

Echo Boost Salt 6 wt 9 ft rod and the Airflo Nymph/Indicator line.” width=”640″ height=”480″ /> Prime hatchery winter steelhead from the 2019 season. This fish was taken swinging an unweighted Intruder on the Echo Boost Salt 6 wt 9 ft rod and the Airflo Nymph/Indicator line.

The winter steelhead fishery can be extremely challenging to the fly angler, The Nestucca attracts fleets of anglers from Portland, Salem, and Eugene to drift and hike the banks in search of hatchery and wild winter steelhead.

Rivers within 90 minutes north and south of the Nestucca provide alternate angling destinations between November and March, but nearly all are bank-full with boats whenever the waters are that beautiful steelhead green we all hope to fish.

Nestucca Estuary Cutthroat

Nestucca Estuary Cutthroat

My greatest hope for winter season steelhead involve times when the rivers are too high or too low for anything like optimum fishing conditions. These are the times when I tend to prowl about in search of the few fish that have not seen a jig, worm, bead, bait, or hotshot in the last 254 hours.

Over crowding of  our public angling waters seems a fact of life these days, and I find the estuary and the ocean a pleasant respite whenever I’m able to fish less populated waters.

My favorite Echo fly rods for winter season steelhead include the following:

Base 8 wt: In a time when two hand rods he most basic 9 ft single hand fly rod for steelhead

Full Spey 7 wt: This 13 ft rod is Echo’s top of the line spey rod that lives in the world of high performance blank materials and finish components. If you are looking for the best stuff on the market, this is the Echo spey rod for you. Think lighter, faster, powerful, and similar descriptive terms designed to promote the top-tier fly fishing gear, and apply here, because it fits.

Compact Spey 7 wt:  These rods at 12 ft instead of 13 ft are a top-notch version of the Full Spey that are designed for anglers who are more comfortable with the slightly shorter fly delivery platform. I actually prefer the Compact Spey when I’m fishing Oregon Coastal Rivers precisely because there are so many places where I fish that are backed with trees.

Echo TR 6 wt:  There isn’t much I can add to what thousands of fly anglers have learned over many years, The Tim Rajeff spey rod is tough, casts like a champion, and will run down most right sized target species from large trout to salmon all around the world. I’ve chosen a 6 rather than a 7 wt in the TR series because, well, because……

SR 7 wt: My favorite Echo Switch rod at 10 ft 6 in

Swing 8 wt :  At 11 ft 8 in – the very modestly priced Swing fits between the switch and full spey two hand fly rod classes. The Swing series includes line classes 6 – 8 in mid 11 ft and mid 12 ft lengths, making this a very affordable option for entering or diversifying your two hand fly rod options.

OHS One Hand Spey 7 wt: A much under-rated and under appreciated rod at 10 ft 4 in is possibly more versatile than the SR, with the OHS rod handle and overall length slightly shorter and thusly suitable to fish under the trees that are so common in the upper reaches of coastal rivers. This rod also excels fishing from boats.

My 2019 winter steelhead season was pretty skinny, with two hatchery steelhead to hand for perhaps 8-10 days on the river. I’m grateful for those fish and looking forward with optimism for the season unfolding in November 2019.

Jay Nicholas

This glass bead Bugger is one of my favorite estuary cutthroat flies.

This glass bead Bugger is one of my favorite estuary cutthroat flies.

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