There is a hearty corps of Oregon fishermen who endure the worst that Mother Nature dishes out because the thrill of catching a prized winter steelhead is so strong. A fishing trip on the Sandy River with longtime guide Jack Glass starts with a boat ride that is fast and certain.

As we sped upriver from Jack’s river front home – not far from Lewis and Clark State Park boat ramp that’s located a stone’s throw upstream from its confluence with the mighty Columbia River – Jack told me that he had been prowling the Sandy River since a boy.

Steelhead are ocean-going rainbow trout that can reach twenty pounds or more! Anglers prize them for strength, stamina and endurance – there’s simply no finer fish on hook and line.Many devotees call them the “Street fighters” of the anadromous fish world because they often travel the furthest and endure the harshest environmental conditions in order to reach their spawning areas that are located high in the watershed.

The Sandy River offers good bank access for anglers too. That’s especially true at parklands like Dabney State Recreation Area and Oxbow Regional Park – and even further upriver. Jack insisted that boaters should practice good sportsmanship and allow bank fishermen plenty of elbowroom.

The best of the winter steelhead season is yet to come; up to four thousand hatchery steelhead and 2,000 wild steelhead return to the Sandy River. The run peaks in late February and early March and it continues into early May.

The Sandy River, like the nearby Clackamas River, are urban streams that seem a million miles away from city noise and hubbub. Yet, each stream is just thirty minutes from downtown Portland.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network. Before you embark on your own fishing adventure, be sure to get a fishing license.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.


In this Grant’s Getaway

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  1. What’s Going on in Oregon this January? | Travel Oregon Blog says…

    [...] slopes while learning a new snow sport on one of Oregon’s picturesque mountains, try your hand at fishing for steelhead or recuperate from the holiday hustle with a day at the [...]

    Written on January 13th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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