Re: Moving to the NW E/SE of Portland this year
Speaking of the winter steelhead run, the fish haven't shown up yet. The broad runs of the lower Sandy and Clackamas fish well with a spey rod because a large fly and sink tip line can be cast far enough to cover them well (60-100 ft.). That is hard to do with a single hand rod. Before the spey rod became popular here single handers were used. However, most were casting Teeney lines with 30ft. 450 grain tips in deep holding pools. It was hard to cast them any distance to swing the broad runs. A few fished with floating lines and heavy irons and long leaders to gain some depth. A single had rod might be best suited to the upper Sandy for dead drifting flies. The upper Clackamas is closed for winter steelhead.
Trout fishing is much the same on the Clackamas. Historically, both rivers were stocked with catchable rainbows. This has thankfully stopped in almost all oregon rivers. The upper Sandy and Clackamas and their tributaries are now managed for wild fish. Most of them don't grow over about ten inches. One should check the regs before fishing these watersheds as I believe some areas are closed to angling. The Central and Eastern Oregon streams are indeed more fertile than the west slope rivers. If, you like hiking and catching small trout the upper Clackamas watershed might be just your cup of tea.
I belong to the Oregon Fishing Club, which manages about 20 private stillwaters within a 90 min. drive of Portland. They keep them stocked with some nice fish and their are good chironimid hatches. They can also fish well with streamers. For about $400 a year this takes care of my local trout fishing in the spring and fall. I also like to spend time trout fishing in Idaho and Montana in the summer. About 10-12 hours of driving gets me to some great fishing...