Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

6 May 2023

Catch a Trophy or a Delicious Meal

Steelhead have been called the ultimate game fish, putting up a fight that will test your skills and reward your dinner table. Called Rainbow Trout when they stay in the river, Steelhead are the ocean-going trout that tastes like salmon, on its return to the river is was born in. Oregon rivers are home to wild and hatchery steelhead, and there’s active steelhead fishing most of the year.
Fun Fact: Steelhead do not die after spawning and can spawn in their natal streams 3 or 4 times.  

Winter and Summer Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast rivers can be host to “summer” or “winter” steelhead runs, or both! Both winter and summer run fish spawn in the spring, but each enter the river at different times and at different stages of reproductive maturity. Winter steelhead are typically larger than the summer run and come in two peak periods; November/December and a larger surge February/March.
Summer steelhead fishing starts as early as March, peaks in June/July and can run through November. Steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast in the shoulder months provides some ‘off peak season’ accommodation opportunities.  

Bucket-List-Worthy Steelhead Fishing Every Angler Should Try

Oregon’s native steelhead have migrated up the multitude of coastal rivers for generation after generation. These busy rivers boast year ‘round opportunities at differing runs with local conditions making unique fishing experiences in each location.  The Columbia River, Nehelem, Wilson River, Trask River, Kilches, Alsea and Nestucca are all reliable steelhead fishing sites on the Oregon Coast.  

How Big Are Steelhead Fish on the Oregon Coast?

Oregon’s state record steelhead is a whopping 35lb 8oz caught on the Columbia River in 1970, but wild populations are declining, so the chances of slamming that record are slim. The remaining fish are fierce fighters that won’t come in easy though; a 10 – 15 pound steelhead catch is not unheard of.

Best Techniques for Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

The wide variety of rivers and conditions make steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast an exciting challenge! Here’s some popular ways to cast:

  • Bobber and jig/bait  
  • Plunking  
  • Spinners  
  • Pulling plugs (aka hot-shotting, backtrolling)  
  • Fly fishing  

Practical Pointers

  • The Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) website (  is a great source of information for the DIY angler. The weekly Recreation Report describes the latest river and fishing conditions for dozens of steelhead streams and rivers in Oregon.
  • You’ll need to purchase an Oregon fishing license and the Combined Angling Tag (steelhead, salmon, sturgeon and Pacific halibut).  ( before you head out. You can purchase them online and store them on your phone.
  • Hiring a local guide for your steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast is never a bad idea. These folks are out there every day, have been doing it for years and all have something special to offer to make your trip a success. They often include the needed gear in addition to their expert advice.  

Comfortable Vacation Rental Homes Host Your Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

Whether you’re coming specifically for steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast or find yourself planning your Oregon trip, you’ll find a comfortable Oregon Coast vacation rental home in our inventory. Set the table and light the grill to prepare your steelhead dinner under the Oregon Coast skies!