Close up of steelhead fish.

The Oregon Coast is famous for its seafood. From meaty Dungeness crab to salty razor clams, we can satisfy the palate of any fish fanatic. Another local delicacy you may have heard about is Steelhead trout. This fish is delicious to eat and fun to catch. It’s even been called the “ultimate game fish”! So if you want to land a Steelhead for yourself, plan a trip to the Pacific Northwest and try Steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast. Here are some helpful tips for your trip.

Your Guide to Steelhead Fishing on the Oregon Coast

What Is Steelhead Trout?

With its silver skin and flaky pink flesh, Steelhead trout is often confused for salmon. However, Steelhead are actually rainbow trout found in the Pacific Ocean. These fish return to freshwater to spawn after two or three years at sea, and unlike salmon, they return several times – not just once. Steelhead trout is quite versatile and can be baked, broiled, grilled, poached, or smoked. It’s also less expensive than salmon, making it the perfect dinner alternative!

When & Where to Fish

There are two main runs of Steelhead trout in Oregon: one in the summer and one in winter. While both provide fantastic fishing opportunities, we recommend the latter. The northern Oregon Coast offers some of the best winter Steelhead fishing in North America, and the season starts around Thanksgiving. Steelhead fishing peaks mid-winter, when the rivers surrounding Tillamook Bay transform into an angler’s paradise. Some of our favorites fishing spots include:

  • Nestucca River
  • Nehalem River
  • Salmonberry River
  • Trask River
  • Wilson River

Looking for local guides? Contact Scott O’Donnell and Mike McCune of Speywater Guide Service. They offer Steelhead fly fishing and casting instruction on some of the Northwest’s best Steelhead rivers. Visit their website for details and check the fishing report before you head out.


To enjoy Steelhead fishing on the Oregon Coast, anglers must purchase a fishing license and a Combined Angling Tag (required for Steelhead, salmon, sturgeon and Pacific halibut). You can also get Hatchery Harvest Tags that authorize the harvest of additional hatchery fish.

Book Your Stay with Starfish Vacation Rentals

Gilkefeller living area
When it’s time to find lodging for your Oregon Coast fishing trip, look no further than our beautiful vacation homes. Our properties in Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Arch Cape, and Cannon Beach have everything you need for a great getaway. Plus, many of our rentals are close to the best fishing spots in the area, so you can head out on the water whenever your heart desires! Give us a call to make your reservations or check our availability and book online. We can’t wait to hear about what you catch on the Coast!
Want to learn more about the region’s best species? Read our Oregon Coast fishing blog.