Lewis River Winter Steelhead

Chrome winter steelhead on the Lewis River

Spring may be right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean that we’re done fishing for winter steelhead in Oregon and SW Washington. The Lewis River is only about 30 minutes out of Portland, making it a great option for anyone in the Portland Metro area. And if you are thinking about coming in from Oregon, don’t worry, we have the license thing all figured out for you!

Current Lewis River Conditions

This week’s conditions on the Lewis River are some of the best we’ve seen all season. Aside from water temps being a bit cooler, you might actually think it’s summertime on the Lewis. The water is low and clear, making it easier to see where the fish are laying. We’re side drifting and bobber dogging, depending on where in the river we’re fishing and which technique is working better on a given day. 

Right now we’re reeling in fresh chrome steelhead for the most part, averaging around 10-12 lbs. There was a 20+ lb fish caught just last week! While March tends to see mainly native steelhead in the river, there are still a few hatchery fish hanging around. Wild fish must be released, which means more fish stay in the river, giving us more opportunities to catch them 🙂 Overall, the Lewis River will continue to provide a rich winter steelhead experience with active fishing as we move into the warmer weather of springtime in the Pacific Northwest. 

Beautiful Winter Steelhead on the Lewis River

What Makes the Lewis River so Fishable?

Rain showers are usually part of springtime in our area. Luckily the Lewis River is unique when it comes to fishable conditions. It behaves a bit differently than other local rivers, especially when it comes to winter steelhead fishing. Where too much or too little rain can greatly impact fishing on some rivers, rain cycles don’t impact the Lewis River as much. Its source is on Mt. Adams, and there are 3 dams along the way that help prevent silt from making it to the lower river. So while rain may affect the water level and flow, the tailwater below Lake Merwin stays beautiful.

Both high and low water levels have their advantages when it comes to steelhead fishing on the Lewis River. Currently the river is low and slower, and it looks like we have some nice days of fishing coming up. If early spring rains come, the river level may rise and flow may increase, but no worries. The steelhead simply shift away from the faster currents, seeking the softer, slower water toward the banks. We know where they like to hide and will seek them out at the edges of the river. With consistent conditions, we’re able to get out fishing pretty much every day of the season, and expect to continue offering guided fishing trips through March and even into April. 

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to book a winter steelhead trip on the Lewis. We’re always happy to help.