Unfortunately, many cold, winter fisheries are technical. Fish are all about motabolism and available food. Which can mean lethargic fish eating tiny morsels (exceptions can and do occure) I would never set out on a plan like this without hiring a guide for the first day. It will be money well spent, believe me! You will learn a lot in a short time. You can communicate with the guide before hand to prepare accordingly.
As far as the Steelhead suggestion, there are many good steelhead rivers in the PNW. All effected by weather and can be a **** shoot as such. Anything from the Eel in Nor Cal. all the way up to the olympic pen. If you want to seriously catch a monster winter PNW stellhead, call Scott Howell.
Home - Scott Howell Fly Fishing
He gets clients into more giant chromers than anyone Ive ever seen.