Flies range from the expected
# 12/14 Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hares Ear (brown and black), to the #10/12 Bead Head Olive Lake Leech, to the Chironomid, to the little pheasant tail to the #16 Adams. I have had success on a few of my coastal cutthroat wet flies too, and in my spare time shooting fly videos and tying flies for Chinook that are soon to enter a few of our coastal rivers.
For folks who believe that hatchery trout are easy, my experience is quite the contrary, because maybe some days they are, but other days are quite a different story. Cast and twitch. Cast, put the rod under your arm and do your smoothest slow steady retrieve. Hang a nymph under a strike indicator anywhere from 3 to 8 feet deep. Still or movement. Any and all of these techniques may come into play on any given day.
Long leaders, say 12 ft, tapered down to 5X or 6X will up your game too. I fish Echo 3 and Echo Edge fly rods in 4 and 5 wt, equipped with Echo ION reels and Airflo fly lines including floaters and slow sink lake lines. Sorry, just had to mention the gear. The ION drag worked ultra smoothly on large fish with the lightest leaders, fish some fish took me well into the backing with never a hiccup – from the reel anyway.
I suppose a nice new Sage ONE fly rod, Bauer or Hatch reel, and a Rio fly line might work too, ha ha. OK, sales pitch over.
Rivers with wild and hatchery steelhead are a big draw for a lot of people in winter, but for many people, the float tube, pontoon boat, or pram is a great place to be on dozens of coastal lakes, fly fishing when the rivers are way out of shape to fish.
Is this fishery as glamorous as chasing chrome steelhead on the swing?
JN, April 2013