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Pacific Steelhead - Winter Run

Pacific Steelhead - Winter Run

General Info: Winter-run steelhead are on a pedestal. No other freshwater fish has such mystiqur. Anglers can spend an entire season swinging away without so much as a tug. Its almost par for the course. But when that big, chrome winter steelhead finally pulls on your fly.... OOOOHHH. There is nothing like it. Most of the employees at Big Y would consider themselves to be some type of "winter steelhead junkie" or are in some sort of steelhead recovery. While we get plenty of trout, bass and salmon fishing done, we live and breathe for winter steelhead season.
Winter steelhead are more pervasive on the coastal streams of the Pacific Northwest than their summer cousins. Summer fish are found further up the Columbia and its tributaries, and less in the coastal streams. However, winter fish do travel up the Columbia River, and summer fish are found in most coastal rivers.
Fun Fact: The Hood River (home of Big Y) is the furthest upstream tributary on the Columbia River that winter steelhead will travel. We are at the end of the line for winter steelhead, and we are OK with that.
Most winter steelhead anglers prefer to swing flies on a switch or spey rod using a Skagit line system (Developed on the Skagit River, WA). While winter steelhead can be caught on nymphs, the majority of anglers prefer to swing articulated intruders in the winter. These are our favorite flies for swinging up a winter steelhead. For steelhead nymphs, you can visit the Great Lakes Page.
Steelhead nymphs can be found on the Great Lakes steelhead page, and bigger swinging patterns can be found on the Winter Steelhead or Chinook Salmon page.
Preferred Gear
Rods: 7-8wt switch/spey rods as long as needed for river. Rods up to 13'6" rods are common, but most anglers would be fine in the Pacific Northwest with a 7wt switch rod between 11'-12'.
Reels: Large arbor, weighted and sized for longer rods.
Favorites: Orvis SSR, Big Y General,
Lines: Skagit style shooting heads are preferred throughout the winter season
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  • 45 in stock

    Animal - RIO

    $5.96
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    Intruder style flies are a popular choice for many fall and winter steelhead anglers.  These flies offer a large profile in the water and weighted ...

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  • 30 in stock

    Apocalyptic Leech

    $1.50
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    Nice light leech pattern with tons of attraction

    $1.50
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  • 277 in stock

    Articulated Leech

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    A pattern that rocketed into classic status within a few years after it hit the public. Almost all hits on leech come from the head. The action wi...

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  • 54 in stock

    Bantam - RIO

    $3.80
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    The Bantam is an excellent late fall/early winter fly for PNW steelhead, with just the right amount of weight, flash, and contrast. It is the perf...

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  • 10 Low on stock

    Bantam - Umpqua

    $4.40
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    A great light weight intruder styled pattern that gets into the zone quick. A 2 inch fly that is a great size for fishing pretty much year round. G...

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  • 51 in stock

    Bjorn's Stinger Prawn - Solitude

    $2.96
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    Designed to catch Kings in Alaska and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Great for swinging flies for steelhead or salmon. Pink is the most popular...

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  • 26 in stock

    Bjorn's Super Prawn

    $1.50
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    Big silhouette pattern perfect for moving big fish to strikes. Popular Alaska and cold water pattern. Attracts everything-Chinooks, silvers, steel...

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  • 164 in stock

    Burnt Chicken - Solitude

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    Great for swinging flies for steelhead or salmon. Extremely popular with spey fishermen in the Pacific Northwest. We have found that pink works be...

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  • 42 in stock

    Canary Marabou

    $1.50
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    Famous in Alaska, Canada and the West Coast Attracts everything-Chinooks, silvers, steelhead, even sea-run cutthroats. Vibrate colors and that mag...

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  • 33 in stock

    Checkmate - RIO

    $7.50
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    RIO’s Checkmate is a 4" long fly designed specifically for Kings/Chinooks; The fly sinks well, has great movement and invokes hard, positive strike...

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  • 149 in stock

    Conehead Eggabou

    $1.99
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    An articulated version of the Alaskabou, brilliant colors, enticing action.

    $1.99
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  • Out of stock

    Dirk Wiggler - Solitude

    $3.96
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    Great for swinging flies for steelhead or salmon. Extremely popular with spey fishermen in the Pacific Northwest. Eyes get this pattern down, wh...

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  • 1203 in stock

    Dolly Llama

    $2.49
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    Articulated version of the Conehead Double Bunny. Very highly recommended for Alaska Silvers, and Rainbows.

    $2.49
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  • 60 in stock

    Dolly Llama Crosscone

    $2.79
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    Articulated version of the Conehead Double Bunny. Very highly recommended for Alaska Silvers, and Rainbows. Now with a crosscone, which allow ey...

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  • 329 in stock

    Dolly Llama Gold Cone

    $2.79
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    Articulated version of the Conehead Double Bunny. Very highly recommended for Alaska Silvers, and Rainbows. Now, due to popular demand, with a g...

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  • 87 in stock

    Dolly Llama Tandem

    $2.79
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    Tandem version comes with two hooks. Articulated version of the Conehead Double Bunny. Very highly recommended for Alaska Silvers, and Rainbows.

    $2.79
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  • Out of stock

    Dolly Llama With Egg - Umpqua

    $5.50
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    An iconic pattern that was developed for fishing in AK. Now with an bead in front of it for extra attraction. A must have when chasing large trout,...

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    $5.50
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