Guided Fly Fishing Trips in
Northern California and Southern Oregon
for Trout and Steelhead
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California Coast Steelhead

Steelheading in the Redwoods
  • Winter Steelheading on the California Coast
    Float Trips Many of the coastal rivers are large enough to float in a drift boat or raft.
  • Natural Beauty
    Spey Trips We also do walk/wade and raft-based spey-only trips on the coastal rivers.
  • Big Steelhead
    Large Wild Fish Most of the fish on the coastal rivers are wild, and the average size is around 8 pounds.
  • Swinging for Chrome
    Swinging for Chrome A winter steelhead on a two-hand rod is a worthy challenge.
  • Smith River
    Smith River The Smith River mainstem and forks bring opportunities for large winter steelhead.
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Season

The coastal rivers of Northern California have been held in high regard by discerning steelhead anglers for generations. Their relatively close proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area has not diminished the opportunity for a secluded steelhead angling experience, being that there are a multitude of rivers to explore and enjoy. Famous rivers include the Eel and its superb tributaries, the Mad, and others that shall remain unmentioned. These rivers come into shape at different times after rainfall, and each provide unique angling experiences. Most of them flow through the superb redwood forests that prevail along California’s stunning North Coast.

For decades, winter steelheading on the northern California coast has been the right of passage for the serious angler. When you are ready to take the next step in your angling evolution, the coastal rivers will not disappoint.

Guides Randy Hamann, Tyler Lee, and Drew Griffith represent Confluence Outfitters on these intriguing fisheries. Randy exclusively does spey trips, both walk/wade and raft-based, primarily in the Eel River drainage. Tyler is our go-to guy for drift boat trips and nymph/indicator techniques and is equally adept at guiding spey anglers on the coast. Drew solely does spey trips and he is available on the Smith River and Eel River drainages.

Gear Recommendations for the California Coast
Nymph/Indicator Techniques: Seven- and Eight-weight rods in 9, 9.5 and 10 foot lengths are ideal. We primarily use floating lines with nymphs and indicators. Leaders and tippet in 10-15# test. Heavy split shot (3/0 and 7). Large and XL size thingamabobbers. Large Glo Bugs and other egg patterns.
Spey Techniques: Seven- and Eight-weight rods matched with Skagit lines and heavy full-sink MOW tips. Maxima tippet in 10-15# test. Intruders, egg-sucking leeches, Hoh Bo Speys in large sizes.
Waders & Boots: We primarily use chest-high breathable waders on the coast, although neoprene waders come in handy when it's really cold. Spiked wading boots are not recommended.
Season
January through March. Much of the time these rivers are all too high or too low to fish. Occasionally we get extended periods when one or more fisheries are in good shape. It helps to be flexible in terms of your timing and your final destination.
Sample Itinerary
Meeting Time & Place: Your guide will suggest the best place to stay for your trip. We typically meet our clients at their hotel around 7:30am.
Vehicle Considerations: There is no shuttle service, so be prepared to use your vehicle to assist with our shuttle.
Wading difficulty: On nymph/indicator trips we typically spend most or all of our time fishing from the boat. On Spey Trips we wade all day and the wading is moderately difficult.
Length of the Day: Most trips begin around 7:30am and end around 5:30pm.
Lodging & Travel Info
For trips in the Eel River drainage, our clients usually stay in Fortuna, Redcrest, or Garberville. For Smith River trips, plan to stay in Hiouchi, Gasquet, or Crescent City.
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