Fall Chinook Salmon and Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout Report

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Each Fall day as we dump the boat in the water, just before first light, a day of promise, opportunity and surprise awaits us. Armed with light fly rods for sea-run cutthroat, six and seven weight rods for coho and steelhead and big sticks for the mighty king salmon we set off to see what the day may bring. Each fishing day brings with it a unique fishing experience that varies greatly from day to day, even in the same section of river. The diversity of the Oregon Coastal fishery is what makes it so fun, challenging and rewarding at the same time.

So far the Coast has had two significant periods of rain, one in September and one in mid-October, each of which has been followed by long periods of high pressure and sunny skies. The first rain in September flushed a lot of the sea-run trout from tidewater into the river while the second rain brought with it an excellent push of salmon into the lower and middle reaches of most systems. As we write this post we’re staring at enormous weather system that looks like it will dump rain for the next few days and push the rivers to their highest points to date this Fall. We expect that this rain will essentially end the lower tidewater fishery and push most anglers into the main rivers for the balance of the season.

Fishing has been generally good. We’ve had a couple slow days, lots of decent days and a few exceptional days. Highlights include a day of upriver sea-run cutthroat fishing where it seemed every fish in the river wanted to eat our dries flies. Giddy anglers landed scores and scores of beautiful trout. Overall sea-run cutthroat numbers have been good, but we haven’t seen as many really large fish as last year. Perhaps they are still to come, but with just over a week left in the season, we’re running out of time.

The coho salmon run is good this year, but appears to be a fraction of the epic returns we had last year. There are still plenty of fish to target but the native coho quota on the Siletz did not fill as quickly as biologists thought.

The biggest surprise of the year has been a better than expected Fall chinook return. After several years of poor runs it’s really nice to see these fish coming back. Chinook fishing was fair during September and early October but since the last rain it’s been red hot both in tidewater and the lower river. Fly anglers have been doing really well fishing Comets and Clouser Minnows in orange/black and white/chartreuse combinations.

We’re excited for the last week of “Come prepared to catch whatever swims” before the sea-run cutthroat season closes Oct 31. We’ll continue to fish salmon through mid-November before switching over to hatchery Winter Steelhead. We still have a couple days available for November salmon and plenty of days for winter steelhead.

To book a late Fall or Winter trip, please call 503.515.3533 or email us.

Hooked up to a 40lb Chinook on a 4wt fly rod
Justin hooked up to a 40 lb. Chrome Chinook on a 4wt and 3x. We didn’t really stand a chance with this fish, but he fought it bravely for 20 minutes and survived 3 jumps. We won’t forget the one that got away.

large sea-run cutthroat trout One of the nicer sea-run Cutthroat landed this Fall, a beautiful Fall specimen.

Fall is Sea-Run Cutthroat Time!

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

As the days get noticeably shorter, mornings get a little crisper and a few raindrops begin to fall from the sky, it can only mean one thing… Fall… and the arrival of our finned friends, the sea-run cutthroat trout. We guided our first sea run cutt trip at the end of last week and found numbers of fish similar to this time last year. Lots of fish around a foot in length with a few big ones sprinkled in. Typically, the smaller schooling fish enter the rivers first and the bigger ones will enter in a couple weeks as the water cools and a bit of rain raises the river. Still action was steady most of the day and we had some incredibly explosive top water streamer takes. We live for those short seconds as a sea-run cutthroat rockets off the bottom of a deep pool and recklessly smashes a stripped hair wing streamer. It doesn’t get much better than that.

It looks to be another good season and we’re excited to be back chasing these fish. We still have a few open dates towards the end of September and throughout the month of October for those anglers looking for a unique trout experience. For booking information call 503.515.3533 or Email Us

Oregon Coastal Cutthroat Trout – Summer Report

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Each Summer, when the days are long, the grasses are tall and the creeks gurgle low and clear I am tugged by the childhood memory of fly fishing Coastal Cutthroats. These wiry, stunningly beautiful native trout were the object of my budding passion for fly fishing nearly 30 years ago. Since then, my desire to catch fish on a fly has taken me all over world to chase dozens of finned species. Yet, each Summer fishing season is not complete without of few days of chasing colorful, acrobatic cutts on small creeks and streams deep within the Oregon Coast Range.

Although the traditional coastal trout opener was memorial day weekend we delayed our pursuit of cutthroats until late June, due to the high river levels throughout Western Oregon. It was worth the wait. In our first few Cutthroat trips we’ve found overly eager (borderline kamikaze) fish that are a full 1″-2″ bigger on average than past seasons. Water temperatures are still cool for July (in the low 50’s) + good flows = great conditions. We’ve fished dries almost exclusively and have tempted even the biggest fish to rocket off the bottom of pools, runs and riffles to attack our flies.

Cutthroats are currently averaging 8″-15″ and anglers can expect to hook 20-40 fish in a day. With properly matched light gear (3-4 wt.) these fish are pure fun that will leave you smiling and wanting more. To book a guided fly fishing trip this Summer or Fall contact Small Stream Outfitters at 503.515.3533 or Email Us.

PS. Don’t forget, Less than 2 months before the first Sea-Run Cutts return! Book early for this outstanding fishery!

Coastal Cutthroat TroutThis nice 13″ Coastal Cuttroat trout fell to a #8 Royal Stimulator.

Coastal Cutthroat TroutA true cutthroat classic, this solid cutthroat took a #10 Royal Wulff.

Oregon Coast Sea Cutthroat Report

Friday, September 11th, 2009

It’s been another great week on the coast! We’ve had some incredible weather this past week that was extremely pleasant for anglers, but makes guides wish there were a few more clouds around. Still, the early morning bite was great and there were some fantastic fish taken in shady spots throughout the warm, sunny afternoons. This is typical Indian Summer weather on the Oregon Coast and we’ll take advantage of the few remaining opportunities to guide in shorts and tee shirts.

The Chinook bite slowed this week and emergency ODFW sportfish regulations on the South Coast make us worry the Chinook run will be another bust this year. However, there are still fish to be caught and the patient, dedicated anglers will get their fish. The one bonus to the buzz of less Chinook this Fall has driven other anglers away and we’ve had the river mostly to ourselves. It’s a great feeling to have a day’s float to yourself, quiet and peaceful, casting flies to eager cutthroat.

The sea-run fishing continues to be great and there are more fish in the river everyday. The average size of the fish is also increasing as it usually does this time of year. We’ve seen some huge fish in tidewater of 3+ pounds, but thus far the monsters on fly have eluded us. Anglers this week saw consistent 20 fish days and fish ranging from 9-17 inches. We can’t wait to get back on the water and continue to enjoy the great action. To book a guided fishing trip give us a call at 503.515.3533 or Email Us. We are currently fishing the Siletz, Nestucca and Sandy. Below are just a few snapshots from trips this week.

siletz river sea run cutthroat
A beautiful cutthroat from the Siletz, colored up from hanging out in tidewater

One of alan's sea-run cutts
Alan took this and many other great sea-run cutts on a crystal blue sky day

Siletz tidewater sunrise
Sunrise over tidewater, it never ceases to amaze us.

Fall Fishing for Salmon and Cutthroats heats up as rain cools the water down

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The recent labor day storm system was a bummer to many campers and recreation enthusiasts, looking to get in one last outing before the school year started. For Small Stream Outfitters and many other fishermen it was a blessing. We had great fishing over the weekend for Chinook, Coho and Sea-run Cutthroat both on the coast and in the Willamette Valley. The early trickle of fish has now turned into solid numbers and it’s time to get in on the action. Give us a call at 503.515.3533 or Email Us to book a fishing trip for Coho, Chinook, and/or Sea-run Cutthroats (blueback). Many of these species are available in the same section of river. We are currently fishing the Siletz, Nestucca and Sandy. Below is just a small selection of the finned creatures we’ve run into in the last week.
Sandy River Fall Chinook
A nice Fall Chinook from the Sandy, we’ve run into a lot of these fishing for Coho. We don’t mind a bit.

Rich Youngers with a nice cutthroat
Rich Youngers of Creekside Fly Shop in Salem took this beautiful little cutt on Monday

Harbor seal in Siletz tidewater
When you see a harbor seal in upper tidewater, you know there are more than a few salmon around.

Fall Fishing Season Preview, 2009

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Hi Anglers,

The Fall fishing season is nearly upon us. It’s that time of year when fishing opportunities abound around the state. As the days get shorter, the leaves begin to change color and the first rains arrive, rivers and streams in the area cool off and the fishing gets red hot!

We’ll begin targeting the first to arrive of the Fall fish, the Sea-run cutthroat (Blueback Trout) on the coast next week and then progress into Coastal Fall Chinook, Coastal Coho and Willamette Valley Coho in the coming weeks. We generally begin having good salmon fishing by September 15 that will often last until the 1st or 2nd week of December on various streams and rivers.

The buzz among anglers this year is of a record coho run. Based on the number of coho jacks present last year as well as adults that prediction may very well come true. Even if the run is half of what scientists are predicting we’re going to have a great run of coho on rivers like the N. Fork Nehalem, Nestucca, Siletz, some coastal creeks and especially the Sandy! Last year the Sandy fished the best of all Coho fisheries and we look forward to many more days of bent rods this fall.

We expect sea-run cutthroat fishing this year to remain consistently good as it has for the past several years. 20 fish days are very common for trout ranging from 10-18 inches. They readily take swung and skated flies and are spectacular sport on 4wt fly rods.

The Coastal Chinook run will probably be the weakest of the three fisheries as it has been for the last 2 seasons. However, we expect a slightly better run than last year, but still not up to historical averages. We keep a close eye on the strength of the run and keep our anglers posted on chances to land one of these massive fish.

It looks to be another great Fall and we’re all set for the action to come. To inquire about a Guided Salmon or Cutthroat Trout trip with Small Stream Outfitters please call us at 503.515.3533 or Email Us!

Tight lines,
The Small Stream Outfitters Guide Staff

Oregon Coast Salmon Report, Newport and Lincoln City Area

Friday, September 12th, 2008

We entered this Chinook season with great apprehension. As everyone knows last year’s coastal Fall chinook run was a bust. It could even be described as dreadful. The talk around the fly tying vise was for improved ocean conditions for the fish this year and increased numbers of Fall Chinook. But talk is just that… talk. Until we saw for our own eyes decent numbers of fish we were not about to sell a fishery that fell fall short of expectations last year. The talk is over!

We started see big pods of fish in tidewater on September 8 and numbers of fish appear to be increasing every day. We landed two stunningly chrome, small bucks yesterday and saw lots more big bodied chinook. We breathed a hugh sigh of relief this week and are now excited to chase King Salmon chrome for the rest of the season.

Blue back (harvest trout, sea-run cutthroat) fishing continues to be excellent. Fish are ranging from 10-17″ with lots of fish in the 14-15″ range. These are great trout on light fly rods and together with a chance at a chrome chinook you just can’t go wrong.

Give us a call at 503.515.3533 to get in on the action!

Siletz and Nestucca Fishing Report – Hebo and Lincoln City, Oregon

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

An unusually strong system pushed through the Oregon Coast and Willamette valley around August 20 bringing with it a good deal of rain. It was enough water to raise the Siletz 1.5 feet and turn it steelhead green. Chinook have been reported as high as Mile marker 5, but have yet to make their way into the river.

Steelhead moved around a great deal the last week. After several days of fishing it appears the fish that were in the system before the rain have blown through and are now in the upper reaches while some new fish have made their way in to the lower reaches of both the Siletz and Nestucca. The push was not as strong as we expected, but there are still steelhead making their way through tidewater.

Sea-runs or blueback are a different story. They are in the Siletz and Nestucca in solid numbers. The best fishing is still in tidewater and the lower few miles of the river, but there are now fish spread throughout the system. Numbers will only continue to increase throughout the next month. The time to fish these shiny buggers is now. We captured a couple of chromers on film over the weekend. Check them out in our Photo Gallery. To get in on some of this great top water fly fishing action call us at 503.515.3533 or email us at info@smallstreamoutfitters.com

Tight lines,
The Small Stream Outfitters Guide Staff

Siletz River Fly Fishing Report – SRCs (bluebacks) and Summer steelhead

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Brief periods of Summer rain showers on July 30 and August 1 brought the Siletz, (located near Newport and Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast) up an inch or so each time. Not really enough to trigger another big push of Summer steelhead, but it did get some early Sea run cutthroats moving out of tidewater and into the river. We found a few bluebacks as high as the town of Siletz, but most of the fish are still in tidewater waiting for the river to cool off a bit.

Cool, coastal marine layers have kept the area relatively cool the last week and that has extended the morning bite. The best steelheading has been early in the morning, from first light until 7am. The bulk of the fish in the system are hanging out in the gorge. Hatchery fish are being recycled from the trap to moonshine park and then running that section again. Fresh fish have tapered off some, but expect another good size push in the next month or so with a significant change in pressure or significant rainfall.

Judging by the numbers of big SRCs (bluebacks) we’ve seen already, this season is shaping to be another great Sea-run cutthroat year. These fish are strong and bright and range from 10″ -20+”. Our guides are excited about the prospects and will be on the coast a lot chasing these fish from Mid-August through September. To book a Sea-Run Cutthroat fly fishing trip please call 503.515.3533. We recommend lodging in Newport, Salishan or Lincoln City for all Siletz fly fishing trips.

Tight lines,
Small Stream Outfitters Guide Staff

Summer Steelhead and Cutthroat Report – Newport and Lincoln City

Friday, July 11th, 2008

After a long cool Spring, Summer is finally here and it feels good. At Small Stream Outfitters that means lots of early mornings chasing Summer Steelhead and warm afternoons dabbling dry flies for Coastal Cutthroat. Coastal conditions are exactly where they should be for this time of year. The water is still cool, but flows will decrease slightly each day and the water will increase slightly through August and into September.

Summer steelhead are present throughout the entire Siletz system and in decent numbers. We are finding a fair number of fish in the mid to upper river. Fish will continue to enter the river throughout the next month and stack up in deep low-light pools waiting for that first rain. Early mornings and late evenings are the best time to target these fish. Traditional swing tactics work well in times of low light. Switch to long leaders and delicate presentations once the sun hits the water.

If the sun is a little too bright for steelhead we like to switch to the 3 and 4 wts and try our luck for the coastal cutthroats. Try fluffy dries (size 8-12) with touches of red or yellow. Patterns like humpys, royal coachmen, stimulators, adams and elk hair caddis work great. Concentrate on shaded areas with good cover and high oxygen content. Most of these fish are between 6-10″, but be ready for a whopper, because there are always a few hold over sea run cutthroats this time of year that can get as big as 20″.

We are certainly enjoying our Summer at Small Stream Outfitters and hope you are too. We are now booking; Summer steelhead, Coastal Cutthroats, Sea-Run Cutthroats and Rainbow trout. To inquire about a guided fly fishing trip please contact us through the website or by phone at 503.515.3533

Tight lines and good fishing!