Summer Steelhead in the Willamette Basin

It’s been a few years since we have seen a hatchery summer steelhead run with any consequential numbers. 2024 looks to buck the trend with 7,000 and counting fin clipped, ready for the BBQ, summer fish.

If the counts on the chart above continue as they did 2000-2017, we could see a really good number of summer steelhead in both the McKenzie, and Willamette Rivers. Fish are currently spread out a bit, moving through the system with spring flows. We have found them in the “town run” on the Willamette near Eugene, the lower McKenzie, the upper ( above Leaburg) McKenzie, and in the Middle Fork of the Willamette from Dexter Dam down to Island Park in Springfield. These fish will take a swung fly nicely, and we have you covered with proven patterns like Sen’s Sylvenator, M.O.A.L Leeches, Marabou Tubes and more. A short sink tip will easily ply the buckets of the Willamette, as the water drops a floating line is just fine. 5-7wt two handers and 6-7wt single handed rods handle these fish. Fluoro tippet in 1x gets the job done, or you can use good old Maxima 12lbs and reef on them all you want.

The water is in perfect shape to fish the Willamette in town, and the rest of the basin’s rivers are steadily dropping and warming. May and beyond are a great time to get out there and catch a summer steelhead.

Happy Memorial Day

This entry was posted in Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Summer Steelhead. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *