Steelhead, Winter Steelhead
Destination Type
Independent Guide
Fishing Style
Spey, Wading
February - April
Why We Go
  • Swing flies on some of the best winter steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest
  • Connect with the brightest ocean-fresh steelhead one can encounter
  • Learn how to become a better steelhead angler and Spey caster
  • Float and fish multiple rivers as conditions dictate, all with strong runs of winter steelhead
  • Enjoy easy travel and terrific value

From January through April, the rivers surrounding the greater Tillamook Bay region on the Northern Oregon coast transform into some of the most productive and seductive winter steelhead rivers in North America. Structurally they are a "swing" fisherman’s paradise and the quarry is almost always sea bright, wild, and willing to chase a well swung fly.

To complement these rivers and the hearty handsome steelhead they sustain, we have tracked down two of the finest winter steelhead guides in the West, namely Scott O’Donnell and Chris O'Donnell (no relation). Not only do they know the intricacies and moods of their local systems, they are also among the most sought after spey casting instructors in the nation. Scott's credentials include a lifetime dedicated to chasing anadromous fish, designing the Rio Skagit lines, and recognition as the preferred demonstration caster for Sage Rods. For anyone interested in learning the art of spey casting stream side or simply fly fishing some of the finest winter steelhead water we have seen, this is a spectacular venue.

Fishing Program

There are a number of excellent rivers on the northern Oregon coast that offer heathly runs of winter steelhead. Scott and Chris fly fish all of these systems depending on flows, time of year and preferences. All are floated and all fly fishing is done while wading. Scott and Chris greatly prefer swinging flies with spey rods. Both Scott and Chris will provide a custom supply of flies for your use.

This is true winter steelhead fishing, and as such, challenging weather conditions with relatively low catch rates are the norm. Under good conditions, two “pulls” or takes per person per day would be considered very acceptable. On the bright side, the wild coastal steelhead in the region are typically very bright and often large. Additionally, the rivers are very well suited to the fly and a great pleasure to fish.

Scott O’Donnell is an exceptionally talented and experienced guide. He has spent more than 20 seasons guiding in Alaska and more than 15 years guiding winter steelhead in the Tillamook region. Scott is sponsored by Sage, has been a part of designing the Rio “Skagit” lines and MOW tips, and is one of the nation's top spey instructors.

Chris O'Donnell has spent over a decade guiding and mastering the intricacies of these waters, is a valuable resource on these hard charging steelhead and is a sought after spey casting instructor.

Anglers are expected to help with the shuttles so please have gas in the tank and expect to do a bit of driving each day.


Day trips- Anglers are requested to overnight in Manzanita, Oregon where meals and accommodations are independently arranged (not included). Please give us a call for lodging recommendations. A hearty lunch will be provided for you on the river.


Day 1: Arrive in Manzanita and check in to your independtly selected accommodations (not inlcuded).

Days 2 – 5: Four full days of guided fishing.

Day 6: Depart for home or points beyond.

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per boat

Day Trip: $650 per day for 1 or 2 anglers

Guiding, lunches, spey tackle (when requested), flies

Not Included: Round trip transportation, accommodations and meals off the river, gratuities, fishing licenses

Species: Winter steelhead

Season: February– April

Capacity: 2 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? This is a great trip for steelhead anglers that have some experience swinging flies with two handed rods, as well as for anglers that want to improve their skills, especially with sink tips. Anglers need to understand the weather conditions in winter can change quickly and cold and wet days can be fairly common. Also water conditions are variable making winter steelhead a bit risky.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip