ISO Turkey Weekend Steelies


Every Thanksgiving I hear of folks heading to the rivers in attempt to catch some winter steelhead and I always thought that I should give it a try.

I do have a tradition of  headed to the rivers this day too, but usually in search of Chinook or ducks. I chose ducks this year. After a bone chilling day on the Columbia River near Boardman chasing ducks with my friend Brian in 16-degree weather, I was ready to find some warmer weather and maybe a few fish.

Tom VanderPlaat and Pat Abel had similar thoughts of chasing steelhead, but didn’t want to cross a snow-covered pass to find them, so we decided on heading north to the Cowlitz River.  And so Saturday morning found the three of us launching at Blue Creek just after sunrise.  We noticed that we were definitely not alone in our search of Thanksgiving steelhead and counted 14 jet sleds and 50-plus bank anglers all within the 1/2-mile stretch of the river at Blue Creek.

After rigging up we decided we didn’t need to make a long run before we started fishing. In fact, we simply pushed off from shore and deployed plugs and diver and bait just 30 feet off of the boat ramp.  Pat was the first to spot my rod bouncing wildly and soon I was fighting a HEFTY steelhead, 14.96 pound to be exact!

While we originally thought this was a late summer steelhead, it was later confirmed to be a winter steelhead by the fish checker.


We soon saw boat after boat hooking fish while side drifting and it didn’t take much convincing for us to switch over and start drifting Pautzke cured eggs and yarn balls.  But as luck would have it, just as we make our first pass, the bite dies.

“Dang, should have been here 10 minutes ago!”

We kept at it and finally Tom hooked into his first winter steelhead of the season.


Tom didn’t need any coaching fighting his fish, but I sure enjoyed giving it anyways!!!


It seems that every season brings new anticipation of upcoming seasons and we hardly have time to enjoy the current season before jumping into the next.  But I can safely say that I am thoroughly enjoying winter steelhead season, all two days of it!  Thanks Tom and Pat for great season so far!


2 Responses to “ISO Turkey Weekend Steelies”

  1. Cyber Monday Reads « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] Northwest Sportsman A Washington and Oregon Fishing and Hunting News Resource « ISO Turkey Weekend Steelies […]

  2. SW WA Fishing Report (11-29-10) « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] River – Boat anglers are catching coho and steelhead around the trout hatchery while bank anglers are catching coho around the salmon […]

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