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Tillamook Steelhead Fishing – Guided Fishing Trips

A limit of Wilson River steelhead.

Steelhead fishing on Tillamook rivers is only a few miles out of the saltwater, and these fish tend to pull like trucks which offers a real difference compared to many of the fish caught on inland waterways. Coastal steelhead are something else, and the Wilson River and Nestucca River are, without a doubt, some of the top winter steelhead rivers in the West.

A nice wilson river steelhead for this lady.

Drifting down the Wilson or Nestucca River is one of my favorite ways to spend a day guiding. Fishing from a drift boat or raft is a totally different experience than spending the day on a jet boat. As you quietly drift downstream with only the sound of the oars gliding through the water and nature around you, you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible scenery while you cast and drift this famous river. The drift boat and raft allow us to access shallower areas farther upriver, but when water conditions allow it, we can also fish from a jet boat below Sollie Smith Bridge.

A steelhead being landed on the Wilson River.

The strength of the winter steelhead fishery on the Wilson River lies in its huge native and hatchery broodstock steelhead runs. Many rivers have one or the other, but the Wilson has some of the largest of both. What this means for fishermen is not only the opportunity to take fish home for the grill, but also to receive the catch and release benefits of the thousands of native steelhead that return at the same time. 

The Nestucca River holds its water very well, and long after other rivers in the Tillamook area are too low for good fishing, the Nestucca continues to shine. The river is what a steelhead river should look and act like with plenty of habitat for a huge steelhead run production.

A nice chrome bright steelhead caught with guide, lance fisher on the Wilson River.

I use a couple different methods of fishing that allow us to cover lots of water in search of holding fish. Some days we’ll cover 14 miles of river. Covering water like this certainly helps us find fish, but also allows my customers to see some pretty amazing scenery. Side drifting and bobber dogging offers a “hands on” approach to steelhead fishing that has fishermen casting all day. I pace the current speed with the drift boat or raft, allowing for long drifts in potential holding water. Both techniques are fun, interactive and in the end, my clients really enjoy the “hands on” aspect of the fishing we do.

A beautiful steelhead caught on a pink worm.

Because of the close proximity of Tillamook to so many different rivers, we will sometimes fish two rivers in the same day.  Tillamook County has a plethora of rivers to choose from in addition to the Wilson and Nestucca, including the Kilchis, Trask, and  Nehalem. We work hard to make your fishing experience the best that it can be.

Feel free to contact me with more questions or to book your trip.