It’s All Home Water: Steelhead Green

Steve Duda  /  2 Min Read  /  Fly Fishing

Photo Essay: Waiting for the Wild on Oregon’s North Coast

The waiting game. After another mighty Spey cast, Jeff Hickman swings his fly across the river, hoping to intercept a wild steelhead. Photo: Jeremy Koreski

Editor’s Note: For a closer look at how Jeff Hickman works to protect the future of Oregon wild steelhead, check out our accompanying feature story, It’s All Home Water: Oregon Steelhead.

Fishing for wild winter steelhead along Oregon’s northern coastal rivers is far from a casual outing. The weather is wildly unpredictable, the water levels and clarity fluctuate from hour to hour, the two-handed casting technique requires timing, dexterity and a non-intuitive, wrist-arm-shoulder-brain meld. More than anything, the steelhead — powerful, unpredictable wild animals with deep reservoirs of evolutionary guile — are at a fraction of their historical numbers.

Beatdown or not, it’s always scenic. Even on a grey day overset with cheerless clouds, greens ranging from moss to pine to laurel mingle together and punctuate to the striking vein of jade that runs down the center of the small valley. That glowing spine—the center of everything to a coastal steelheader— is known as steelhead green.

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