After a somewhat disappointing return of summer steelhead in 2013, this year is looking and fishing much better on the Willamette valley’s summer steelhead streams. Fish numbers over Willamette Falls are already much better than last year, with more fish on their way.
The fish have been responding well to swung flies. I have been fishing fairly small pink/purple and black/blue leeches with good success on various sink tips ranging from Type III to T-11 depending on the depth and flow of each spot. That being said, I am sure that floating lines and traditional patterns would work as well, particularly in the shallow and shaded spots.
We are blessed with a long summer steelhead season in the Eugene area. Our fish start to show up early, and will inhabit the riffles, runs, pools, and tailouts of the McKenzie and Willamette throughout the summer and fall.
Better than anywhere else I swing flies for summer steelhead, the fish in our area streams respond well to the swung fly even in bright sunlight! Shaded conditions are always nice, but the sun is by no means a deal-breaker. On the last couple of outings I have seen a number of steelhead taken while swinging flies in bright, sunny conditions.
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