Siuslaw or Wilson river in March ?

Meuniere

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I was hoping to get some advice from someone who knows the Oregon coastal rivers better than I do (and I don't, very much). I'm looking at spending three or four days fishing on either the Wilson (around the Mills Bridge boat launch and further up) or the Siuslaw (general Mapleton vicinity), sometime likely in March, but could be earlier or a bit later. We are fishers of average ability, but we work at it! Any opinions/advice as to what makes sense for wading/shore fishing would be greatly appreciated, however one may construe that advice. Thank you!
 

dillon

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Since I live in Portland and nobody has responded I will relate what little I know. First of all, I have never even seen the Siuslaw. The Wilson is a go to river For many drift boat and bankie gear fishers. Because, It is close to major metropolitan areas and get a fair number of hatchery keeper steelhead. Most of them return to the lower river since that’s where they were planted as smolts. I have never actually fly fished the river. The Wilson feeds into Tillamook bay, as do four other streams with winter steelhead runs. They aren’t fished as heavily because there are fewer keepers available. There are also a couple other rivers fairly close to the Wilson. A guided trip might be worth it. I can suggest a few if you are interested. I’ve also heard the Royal Treatment fly shop has done tours of the rivers in the area.

I prefer to swing flies for Steelhead myself so I don’t fish the coast much as I like big rivers with broad runs. However, if you like hiking and dead drifting smaller streams the the upper Wilson and other rivers in the area would provide lots of fishing opportunity, but maybe not catching... March is when the late run Natives enter, as well as their hatchery broodstock progeny. Historically, by March, the gear guys have moved on to spring salmon. But, with the broodstock program I’m sure it gets fished more heavily and probably by fly fishers too. Hope that helps, a little...
 

Meuniere

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Hi, Dillon, many, many thanks. We've fished a bit on the Trask, nearby, and I am hoping (at least as far as the Wilson goes) to be able to catch the river when the gear guys have moved on. I can't stand crowds, so I know this will be a bit of a challenge. We would prefer streamer fishing, however we can pull it off, plus maybe skating some dries. We are as interested in coastal cutts, but I don't think there are a lot of them there in March. I'll check into possible guided options and see what is possible. Thanks again, this is really helpful.
 

dillon

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Hi, Dillon, many, many thanks. We've fished a bit on the Trask, nearby, and I am hoping (at least as far as the Wilson goes) to be able to catch the river when the gear guys have moved on. I can't stand crowds, so I know this will be a bit of a challenge. We would prefer streamer fishing, however we can pull it off, plus maybe skating some dries. We are as interested in coastal cutts, but I don't think there are a lot of them there in March. I'll check into possible guided options and see what is possible. Thanks again, this is really helpful.
I’m pretty sure the rivers are closed to trout fishing in March. Check the regs on that, to be sure. The water might be a bit cold for skating dries, but you never know. The Siuslaw might be worth exploring and a bit further south as well. I’ve always wanted to, but, but, so many rivers and so little time...
 

Meuniere

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Will do, don't know if that's what happens yet- I'm dependent (to some extent) on a few other folks. But I am really intrigued by this river, have been for awhile.
 

Meuniere

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Definitely Chetco, March 4 through 8. It'll be one-handed stuff throughout- the trip is as much to investigate the area as anything else, and if the weather isn't just pissing it, we'll hike up a bit toward the Kalmiopsis to see what the area/water looks like that far up. Wife and I are hopeful this could become an annual gig, it'll be a considerable learning curve for me, and totally unpredictable. That is to say, some things I learn quickly, other things take bloody forever, but I'm persistent.
 
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