from Portland Examiner
The end of the fall Salmon runs along the southern Oregon Coast brings the beginning of the winter steelhead migration. Owing to their energetic fight and tendency towards acrobatics, winter steelhead are a favorite game fish in Oregon. The steelhead fishing season is currently in full swing on the lower Rogue River, as well as on other smaller systems in the region such as the Chetco, Elk, and Sixes rivers. Each of these rivers supports productive winter runs while offering a unique angling experience. Plug fishing and side drifting are the techniques of choice for catching winter steelhead.
Steelhead are the ocean going sub-species of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Like salmon, steelhead are anadromous, meaning that they spend one to three years feeding in the open ocean before returning to their natal streams to spawn. In contrast to salmon, steelhead do not necessarily die after spawning and are capable of returning to their native stream to reproduce multiple times. Nevertheless, as a result of the high metabolic cost of spawning, most fish do not survive to spawn again.
The majority of southern Oregon steelhead weigh between 7-18 pounds depending on their duration in the ocean. Good ocean conditions have resulted in excellent returns of winter steelhead this year along the southern Oregon Coast leading to productive fishing. Excellent fishing generally lasts into late March. Numerous guides in the area offer daily drift boat fishing trips on all of the navigable rivers. Be sure to be up to date on the current fishing regulations before heading out to test your luck.