Tillamook County has some of the most popular winter steelhead fishing in Oregon, thanks both to strong hatchery programs and being an easy drive from Portland. The winter steelhead run starts around Thanksgiving on the north coast, and is at its peak by mid-winter. Winter steelhead continue to run into early spring, when summer steelhead start arriving to take their place. These runs are ideal for spey rods of 12’ and 9 weight, and fly fishing with heavy sink tips and large flies.
The Nestucca River has year-round fishing with good populations of steelhead, salmon, and cutthroat trout. It flows through southern Tillamook County and enters the ocean at Pacific City. The Nestucca is one of the best places on the north coast to land winter steelhead over 20 pounds, and is ideal for drift-boat anglers with a launch out of Cloverdale.
The Wilson River is hard to beat for the best winter steelhead stream fishing. Parking spots are plentiful along Oregon Highway 6 which follows close to the flow of the river. This beautiful country highway links Tillamook to the Portland metropolitan area. Anglers fishing the Wilson harvest more than 2,000 steelhead during the winter fishing season.
The North Fork of the Trask River joins the main stem Nehalem River (a.k.a. South Fork) at tidewater and kicks out the majority of the river system’s hatchery winter steelhead. It is also the first to see the winter steelhead and peaks just before Christmas.
So whenever you would like to fish for steelhead, it is always the right time in Tillamook County; where the fish are always running!