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NEW WildCasts on NWWC

Adrienne Comeau talks steelhead flies on NW Wild Country
Checking in with our resident fly-tying diva, on the Thompson River, and how to respectfully handle fish for photos

A preview of the upcoming steelhead season on the Olympic Peninsula, and a primer on fishing the pink worm.

Shimano's newest steelhead reels reviewed, an introduction of Steelhead Nation, and a preview of 3 Rivers' annual steelhead seminar.

This 30-minute discussion with Awesome Adrienne was one of the best Q&As on steelhead flies you'll ever hear. GREAT stuff!

Squid for trophy steelhead: A NW Wild Country Pro-Cam exclusive!

The past few weeks have been all about trophy steelhead, and today we get squiddy. Herzog talks about a great bait alternative.

Bill Herzog sets you up for basic steelhead fly fishing on NW Wild Country

Is it time for you to take the next step out of the gear world into the world of the two-handed fly rod? General Zog runs you through it all: rods, reels, lines, leaders.

Nick Petosa check in for a Steelhead Nation Wildcast

Taking the day off from his guide duties on the Peninsula, Nicky P. of Petosa's Fishing gives us an update on the water conditions of the rivers around Forks.

Nighmare Jig

Steelhead Nation kicks off with a discussion about the Olympic Peninsula, which leads to Herzog's lure choices for BIG steelhead. We finish off with a chat with David Hawken of Hawken Fishing about the brand new Aerofloat.

Herzog talkes spoon fishing in this three-part podcast

This is graduate-level education here, courtesy of the Professor of the Steelhead Spoon. Herzog tackles the subject of spoons in this three-part podcast:.
-PART I & II- HOW BILL got started fishing spoons and why the BC Steel is the great steelhead spoon on the market.
-PART III - WHY YOU should be throwing spoons
for winter steelhead.

Duane Inglin's Fire Brine Pro-Cam

Bait thug Duane Inglin takes us through the basic steps of using Pautzke's new Fire Brine to cure eggs for steelhead.
RECORDED 12-31-2011

Bill Herzog shows you how to run a jig and worm combination for steelhead: Steelhead Nation

General Zog breaks out the Beau Mac jigs and Mad River Action Tail Steelhead Worms for a jig/worm Pro-Cam.
RECORDED 12-31-2011

David Johnson on Steelhead Nation with NW Wild Country
Mike Zavadlov of Mikey Z's Guide Service and David Johnson check into Steelhead Nation


Checking in with Mike Zavadlov of Mikey Z.'s Guide Service as the weekend's high water has pushed the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula out of shape. Following up with David Johnson as we scout out the Tillamook area steelhead streams.
RECORDED 12-31-2011

NW Wild Country podcasts

The Wild Country Crue gets a special showtime - 8 to 10 a.m. - for our Dec. 17 show! Catch 45 minutes of chatter on this round-table podcast.
RECORDED 12-17-2011

Kent Alger of 3 Rivers Marine on NW WildCountry

Checking in with Kent Alger of 3 Rivers Marine on North Sound steelhead rivers, and on the 3 Rivers Steelhead Derby.
RECORDED 12-17-2011

JD Love of JD Love Fly Fishing checks in to NW Wild Country

Our Olympic Peninsula fly-fishing guru runs through the reality of chasing steelhead in low, clear water.

RECORDED 12-10-2011

Mark Coleman of All Rivers Guide Service checks into Steelhead Nation on NW Wild Country

Do-it-all guide Mark Coleman of All Rivers Fishing serves up some advice on the coho-to-steelhead transition.

RECORDED 12-10-2011

NW Wild Country podcast for Dec. 10, 2011

The crew kicks off STEELHEAD NATION with a discussion about "parity" as it relates to cold-weather steelheading. Zog's tips!

RECORDED 12-10-2011

John Albrich on NW Wild Country podcast

The Clearwater Revival review with John Albrich of Reel Time Fishing. The latest on the Clearwater: still low and clear, but waiting for rain.

RECORDED 11-26-2011

Bob Kratzer of Anglers Guide Service pocast on NW Wild Country

Checking in with Bob Kratzer of Angler's Guide Service on the early steelhead bite on the Bogachiel River.

RECORDED 11-19-2011

NEW links on the NW Wild Country Video Wall
Legendary cane-rod builder Bob Clay and his family have lived and fished on the Skeena system for generations. This is their story.

Wayne Van Berger of the Fox Sports show The Joy of Fishing in a sweet little video on the Rogue River.

Izorline sponsors NW Wild Country "Steelhead Nation"

Pautzke Bait BorXofire

CCA logo
Coastal Conservation

Angler's Legacy
Angler's Legacy

Fish NW
Fish Northwest


Puget Sound Anglers
Puget Sound Anglers

Discover NW Fishing
NMTA Derby Series

CAST For Kids
CAST For Kids

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Northwest Bait & Scent and Graybill's Guide Scent, sponsors of NW Wild Country's Steelhead Nation

NW Wild Country podcast with author Sean M. GallagherSTEELHEAD NATION: "What It Was/What It Is + Sean M. Gallagher Q&A
POSTED Jan. 13, 2014 / 2:53 p.m.

- Steelhead Nation was all about perspective this past Saturday: how we assess the "evolution" of certain fishing techniques, and how one appreciates the sport of steelheading.

For those of us who have witnessed the living history of the sport, perspective is both a blessing and a curse. Anglers like my self and author Sean M. Gallagher have seen many, many of the very best days of our lives on some remote stream or another, happily pursuing the most magnificent fish that swims. And we've also seen many of those fish disappear like fevered dreams.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST AS STEELHEAD NATION gets some perspective on the lost art of drift fishing, and the quickly disappearing steelhead streams of the West.

Adrienne Comeau on the Dean River, LIVE Q&A with the NW Wild Country Crue!
Riding along with Ade as she enters Dreamland

UPDATED Oct. 1, 2
3 / 5:12 a.m.

- The joy in her voice is unmistakable: Honest and raw and genuine. And, frankly, because she's one of my very best friends in the world, it's one of the sweetest things I've ever heard.

Adrienne Comeau has fulfilled the No. 1 position on her steelhead-fishing bucket list, and she wants to talk about it. She's fresh back from a week on the legendary Dean River with her BFF April Vokey - fresh with images and words and excitement and reverence for one of the Pacific Northwest's most hallowed fisheries.

CHECK OUT THE PODCAST and ride along with Ade as she takes us on a journey to the Dean River (and provides a master's-level education about steelhead flies).

NW Wild Country Steelhead Nation, summer of 2013
Summer-runs are arriving; Summer Nation us upon us!

UPDATED Sept. 7, 2
3 / 10:27 a.m.

- There's a delightfully warped misery that goes along with winter steelhead. Suffering for the craft, I guess you'd call it. Summer-runs make up for it, though, bless their little two-tone-chrome hearts.

General Zog has said it many, many times: "If you want to catch a steelhead on a fly, don't do it in February. Do it in August."

Ditto in September, as B-runs dip into several Columbia-system rivers. And add to the above: "on a jig, on a spoon, on eggs, on shrimp, on a spinner, etc.," because now is the time, Steelhead Nation, to make up for those rainy, miserable, no-fish days of winter.

Summer Steelhead Nation is upon us.


Nick English tells the story of his 35-pound Kispiox River beast
The steelhead story of a lifetime, with Nick English
POSTED Jan. 3, 2
3 / 8:43 p.m.

- If you've followed STEELHEAD NATION over on the Wild Country Facebook page, you know that we've posted some pretty fantastic photos of ginormous fish as part of our "Steelhead of the Day" gallery.

None more ginormous than the 35-plus-pound pachyderm of a Kispiox River buck pictured above. This picture is part of the lore of steelheading in the Pacific Northwest: a guy who looks like Jesus holding a fish that looks like a miracle.

8NICK ENGLISH CHECKS IN WITH THE STORY OF "THE BEAST" as Herzog, Petosa and Bravo listen in.

Maxima, a sponsor of Steelhead Nation on NW Wild CountryNW Wild Country Pro Cam Field Trip: Basic necessities for bait curing

Nicky P.'s Wally World egg-curing journey begins

UPDATED Dec. 5, 2
2 / 9:12 p.m.

- So you want to be an egg-curing guru, you say? You've loaded up on Pautzke Fire Cure, you have some fresh fall Chinook eggs, and you're ready to make some magic?

But do you have all the proper equipment to begin your journey to guru-ness? Follow along in this Pro-Cam field trip video as Nicky P. takes you shopping for all the little things you'll need to simplify the egg-curing process.

8ALSO CHECK OUT PETOSA'S BLOG ABOUT RECHARGING FROZEN EGGS and how to turn so-so frozen eggs into fish-catching beauties.

Steelhead Nation V2 begins Dec. 1
Do not try to understand me, just accept me for who I am ...

POSTED Nov 28, 2012 / 6:54 a.m.

- Dear Friends, Family and Loved Ones:

I wish I could explain it all to you, why myself and so many of my crazy-ass little band of misfit buddies fall so far off the radar this time every year. No, we don't suffer from the dreaded holiday de
pression. No, we don't all go away on sabbatical to study Tibetan meditation. No, none of us have second jobs as secret agents.

A handful of you – Bill, Nick, Shanks, Ade, Squires, Martin, J.D., Ben, Choronzey, etc. – know the story. Hell, you're probably not even reading this letter. You're probably standing right next to me in 43-degree water. Er, can I borrow your leader roll, please?

For the rest of you, though (especially those of you living outside the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes), I'll do my best to explain.


NW Wild Country's "stealth rig" for summer steelhead STEELHEAD NATION: The "stealth rig" for low, low-water summer steelhead
UPDATED AUg. 25, 2
/ 10:12 a.m.

Bill Herzog on NW Wild Country - No rain in the late-August forecast for western Washington or Oregon for more than a week = it's not time to tie on the big stuff. Au contaire, it's time to dial down your setup for low, clear water and skittish summer steelhead.

Time to get stealthy, Steelhead Nation.

8CHECK OUT THE PRO-CAM VIDEO OF THE STEALTH RIG below on the Wild Country Steelhead Nation page.

STEELHEAD NATION: Defeating low-water woes courtesy of the stealth rig
UPDATED July 23, 2
2 / 10:42 a.m.

- For those of you who missed this on Comcast Sportsnet Northwest, here's the video of Herzog's "stealth steelhead rig" for low-water conditions of summer.

This rig - which utilizes a clear float, fluorocarbon leader material and a small Beau-Mac jig - will increase your hookups when fish are skittish in low water. It's always a great rig for small streams.

8CHECK OUT OUR OTHER PRO-CAM VIDEOS at the Comcast Sportsnet Northwest web page.

Adrienne Comeau's steelhead flies on NW Wild Country
Vancouver vise: borrowing art from Adrienne Comeau

UPDATED March 28, 2
2 / 2:42 p.m.

- *ring ring* "Hello, this is Adrienne".

"Hey Ade, it's Joel. What're you doing?"

"I'm fishing! I just released a beautiful little chromer!"

And so goes a day in the life of Adrienne Comeau, assistant manager at Michael & Young Fly Shop in Vancouver and one of my very favorite people in the entire fishing industry. In addition to being a badass speycaster, Ade has a painter's soul, spinning flies like little feathery works of art. With hooks. Oh, and the steelhead like 'em!

8TAKE A PEEK AT SOME OF ADRIENNE'S STEELHEAD FLIES and be sure to tune in this Saturday as we talk about General Zog's run across the border to join her on the Vedder!

State of NW Wild Country Steelhead Nation: Joseph Princen with a beautiful wild steelhead
STEELHEAD NATION: The search of trophy steelhead continues on NWWC

UPDATED March 3, 2
2 / 5:42 p.m.

- I dare you to try to find a more perfect example of Oncorhynchus mykiss than the fish above being gently hoisted by Steelhead Nation member Joseph Princen. Go ahead, I'll give you some time to search. Good luck with that.

XPrincen joined Herzog and I live on the air this Saturday for a chat about the three 20-plus-pounders he landed in a two-day float with other Nation regulars Kris Jellesed and Lael Paul Johnson, and longtime fellow steelhead hunters Austin McCleery and Ian Winder.

8CHECK OUT PRINCEN'S FISH ON THE WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK PAGE and join our Steelhead Nation testing crew for the new Aerofloat!

Young anglers like Jake Nelson are the future of Steelhead Nation - NW Wild Country blog exclusive
STEELHEAD NATION: Carrying forward the message and hope of a Nation

POSTED Feb, 19, 2
012 / 11:21 a.m.

- There’s no mistaking the look in his eyes as 15-year-old Jake Nelson begins to open the tackle tray that he’s brought to the Wild Country Lounge at the Washington Sportsmen’s Show in Puyallup. There is pride in those eyes. There is enthusiasm. There is an eagerness to share.

There is, in short, passion. Such passion that, quite honestly, it gives me goosebumps.

8CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE YOUNG MEMBERS OF THE NATION are carrying the hope of Steelhead Nation forward.

Ben See NW Wild Country blog: Freezing Fire Brined eggs
From Fire (Brine) to the freezer: tips and tricks

POSTED Feb. 17, 2012 / 8:50 p.m.

- The following is an excerpt from a recent "Ask A Mixologist" transcription at Pautzke.com.

Question: I was reading Ben See's report about Fire Brining single eggs. After they are cured how long do they last in a fridge or freezer? Thanks.

Ben See says: Brad, I believe I can give you some suggestions and results from my testing. Fire Brine is a great cure. It's quick and easy. I haven't found a way to mess up a batch of eggs during the curing stages. Meanwhile, I have discovered tricks to preserving eggs longer with the Fire Brine.

8CHECK OUT BEN SEE'S PROCESS FOR FREEZING AND STORING EGGS and pick up some variations that you might utilize with your own eggs.

Bill Herzog IS Spoonman - only on NW Wild Country
Feel the rhythm while you can, Spoonman ...

POSTED Feb. 17, 2012 / 8:30 a.m.

- The first time I heard Soundgarden's Spoonman, I knew it was written for me: "Feel the rhythm with your hands. Steal the rhythm while you can. Spoonman. Speak the rhythm on your own. Speak the rhythm on your own. Spoonman."

And so it has gone, for over 30 years. Feel the rhythm, baby.

"Why the spoon?" you ask? It would take me a week to explain. Start here, with my "Why Metal? 5 Reasons" blog. And then consider the fact that 182 of my 200-plus 20-pound steelhead have been caught on a spoon. Steal THAT rhythm, boys and girls

XTUNE IN TO STEELHEAD NATION FOR A SPOON-FISHING REVIVAL as Herzog and Shangle chat about the science of the spoon.

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature

J.D. Richey shows you how a float should look ...

POSTED Feb. 3, 2012 / 5:21 p.m.

- You hear the term "drag free drift" all the time, right? But do you really know what the fish is seeing when you're dropping a float and jig down on him?

Presto. Now you do. Courtesy of some slick filmwork and imagination, J.D. Richey of FishWithJD.com show you what the ol' float-and-jig combo looks like from the real fisheye view.

8SURF ON OVER TO FISHWITHJD.COM AND MARK IT AS A FAVORITE for great, entertaining info on all things fishy.

Andy Martin checks into Steelhead Nation with a Chetco River 20-plus-pounder: Listen in to NW Wild Country!
The big boys (and girls) come out to play in the Nation

POSTED Feb. 2, 2012 / 12:30 p.m.

- To borrow a phrase from the election-ad onslaught, it looks like southern Oregon/Northern California are "leading in the polls" to determine the best big-fish steelhead rivers in Steelhead Nation. Evidence from our Wild Country field crew this week: the "Twin Titans" - a 23-pounder and the above 21-pounder from Joey and Paul LeFebvre (grandson/grandpa) landed on the Chetco River.

And there are more on the way. Nicky P. is out of the studio for the next several weeks, fishing the boulder gardens of the Olympic Peninsula. Nicky P. trophy-fish photos inbound! And, prepare yourself for the mid-20s Smith River hawg I'll roll out on Facebook later today.

8COME ON OVER AND "LIKE" THE WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK PAGE to become part of the Steelhead Nation.

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature

FROM THE BAIT LAB: The latest from the Bait Lab: Fire Brined eggs!
UPDATED Feb. 2, 2012 / 11:51 a.m.

- In between the Puyallup and Portland shows where I'll be running the Pautzke Bait Lab, I thought it would be a good idea to remind those of you outside the area that there's a new cure in town: Fire Brine.

Pautzke's new all-in-one wet brine makes it easier thenever to create perfect eggs with this new ultra-simple process.

8HERE ARE SOME OTHER CURING TIPS to tide you over until you get your hands on some Fire Brine and check it out for yourself.

Bill "Spoonman" Herzog's 5 reasons why you should be throwing spoons for steelhead: STEELHEAD NATION on NW Wild Country
The General makes the case for metal madness ...

UPDATED Feb. 1, 2012 / 5:28 p.m.

Bill Herzog's NW Wild Country blog: 5 reason why you should be throwing spoons for steelhead - For over 30 years, I've waved the flag for steelheading's oldest technique. Yet spoons are still the ultimate angling enigma.

Spoons can either make or break you. If there was ever a lure that is condition specific, it’s bent metal. Choose them at the right times and the tough becomes suddenly easy. On the flipside, you’ll often find that spoons on winter rivers are guaranteed skunkings

8CHECK OUT HERZOG'S 5 REASONS TO FISH SPOONS for steelhead, and some advice on when NOT to throw metal.

NW Wild Country's Steelhead Nation is going strong on Facebook
They say that it takes all kind to build a Nation ...

UPDATED Feb. 1, 2011 / 5:41 p.m.

- It didn't take long for us to understand that there are more citizens of Steelhead Nation than we originally thought possible. Thanks to recent hookups with Nation citizens in the Great Lakes, northern California and western Idaho, it's clear that the Nation stretches far and wide.

Please allow me to welcome you to the Northwest Wild Country Steelhead Nation, where all steelheaders are equal. Bait-flingers, flyrodders, side-drifters and plug-pullers - you're all welcome here.

8COME ON OVER AND "LIKE" THE WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK PAGE to become part of the Steelhead Nation.

Bob Kratzer's blog on how to cook shrimp for a better steelehead bait: Steelhead Nation
Kratzer's secrets for cooking up shrimp for steelhead

POSTED Jan. 25, 2012 / 9:21 p.m.

STEELHEAD NATION: Olympic Peninsula veteran guide Bob Kratzer explains how to cook prawns for a better steelhead bait - A few years back I was doing a steelhead fishing seminar in front of more than 200 people. I pulled out a bucket of cured prawns and a guy in the back stood up almost immediately commented on how strong their scent was. Soon, the room smelled like prawns. And, that potent smell that filled the room is equally as powerful underwater.

This is one of the reasons I always keep prawns on my boat when I'm steelhead fishing.

Over the years I've come up with a way to make prawns easy to cure, but also tough. I've used a few cures that are easy, meanwhile the one I am going to show you has become staple in for me. This cure process makes a tougher bait and brings out the smell of the prawn better than any I have come up with yet.

8READ UP ON HOW VETERAN GUIDE KRATZER PREPARS HIS PRAWNS to maxmize their scent and durability for steelhead.

Ben See from Steelhead Alley checks in for a Steelhead Nation chat about Great Lake curing/brining techniques for steelhead
Turning our West Coast egg sensibilities upside-down

POSTED Jan 21, 2012 / 8:30 p.m.

- Driving into the Wild Country studios every Saturday, Nicky P. and I have about 45 minutes to BS between Arlington and downtown Seattle. Sometimes we talk about she show, sometimes we talk about music. This Saturday, though, I could tell that Nick was jazzed up about Steelhead Nation, and our chat with Ben See of Steelhead Alley.

This is what I created Steelhead Nation for: so steelhead anglers from East to West could exchange ideas, techniques and philosophies that would make e-v-e-r-y citizen of the Nation a wiser, better steelheader. Check it out:

XLISTEN TO THE PODCAST AS BEN SEE EXPLAINS and how they do it back in the Great Lakes, with spawn sacks, centerpins and the most prolific hatchery runs in the Nation.

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature
Chasing some "Wilson River Chrome" ...
POSTED Jan. 21, 2012 / 9:50 p.m.

- Here's a really nice look at a day on Oregon's Wilson River, from Red West Outdoors in Portland. Watch for this kid in the future - good-looking production.

8WATCH RED WEST'S "NOT EVERY MAN LIVES" for another glimpse at steelheading on the Oregon coast.

Hawken Industries, sponsors of NW Wild Country "Steelhead Nation" NWWC PRO-CAM: Herzog's dirty-water jig-and-worm setup = deadly!
POSTED Jan. 10, 2012 / 11:11 a.m.

Herzog Blog Mug - All of you who were whining and crying last month over low water and lack of rain can bite me: 2012 came in with a hearty "how ya doin'?"of rain, rain and a little more rain.

Time to put the little pink jigs away and bring out something a little more, shall we say, n-o-t-i-c-e-a-b-l-e. I present to you the Beau Mac jig/Mad River Worm hotness, for dirty water and BIG steelhead.

8HERE'S THE BEAU MAC JIG I PREFER for this setup: 1/4 ounce with 1/0 hook.

8THESE ARE THE MAD RIVER WORMS I run with this setup (pick your favorite color).

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature NWWC PRO-CAM: Nicky P. ties up some basic steelhead bait: Yarnies!
POSTED Jan. 10, 2012 / 11:41 a.m.

Nick Petosa shows you how to tie a yarn ball on the NW Wild Country Pro-Cam - Sometimes you just want to go back to basics for steelhead, and it doesn't get more basic (or effective) than a good ol' yarn ball.

You can dream up your own color combinations and add a little flavah with a Mad River Egg, and it takes no time at all to crank out a bunch of yarnies. Here's how I do it.

8CHECK OUT MAD RIVER EGGS IN ANISE & SHRIMP SCENTS to add to your yarnies for a little extra flotation and kick.

Vision Hooks & Tackle, sponsors of NW Wild Country's "Steelhead Nation"Steelhead Nation - Submit your steelhead questions to the NWWC Facebook page!
Get the questions rolling over on the NWWC Facebook

POSTED Jan 7, 2012 / 9:50 p.m.

- Barely into our three-month swing through the states of Steelhead Nation, we're already hearing some KILLER questions/subjects from fellow steelheaders. It's time to start sharing some wisdom, folks.

Over the next several weeks, we'll be taking questions and serving up answers over on the Wild Country Facebook page. Feel free to join in, and use this page as a resource for all your steelheading needs.

8CHECK THIS WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK THREAD featuring some great questions from the Nation.

Submit photos to the NWWC Facebook page and see it on Comcast Sportsnet NW
We want to see your steelhead photos ... on TV!

POSTED Dec. 30, 2011 / 8:50 p.m.

- Now's your chance, citizens of Steelhead Nation.

Over the past several weeks, we've made the call to our fellow steelheaders for photos of their fish. Now, we're giving you the opportunity to see those photos in full, blazing HD TELEVISION!

8HEAD OVER TO THE NW WILD COUNTRY FACEBOOK PAGE and submit your photos. Every week between now and April, we'll feature the Steelhead Nation Photo Gallery of YOUR photos on Comcast Sportsnet NW.

NW Wild Country steelhead primerBill Herzog's Olympic Peninsula gallery, NW Wild Country "Welcome Back" steelhead
NWWC STEELHEAD REPORT: Looking back, looking forward ...

POSTED Dec. 1, 2011 / 10:11 a.m.

- In order to appreciate what's in front of you, you have to have an appreciation for what's behind you. Today, Dec. 1, marks the official turn of the calendar to steelhead season, V.2011-12. Yes, I know, Thanksgiving is the traditional opener, but, in the real world, we don't get serious about it until December.

Well, welcome back, my friends. Here's to a chrome-bright beginning to the season.

I thought y'all might appreciate a little glimpse back at the Wild Country steelhead season, so over the next couple of days, I'll post gallery links to some of our days on the river. At the very least, these pictures will remind you that our religion is alive and well here in the Pacific Northwest. Take a peek at:

8BILL HERZOG'S OLD-SCHOOL "OKIE-DOKE" on the Olympic Peninsula, where he used an old-school lure to rack up otherworldly numbers in 2010-11.

Bill Herzog's setup for fishing Okie drifters for steelhead
Step-by-step rigging for Herzog's new-school drift weight

UPDATED Dec. 1, 2011 / 7:50 a.m.

Herzog Blog Mug - Alright kiddies, time to go back to class. Who here remembers the drift-rig setup I used with such effectiveness with my old-school Okie drifters last steelhead season?

Hint hint: I stole the idea from the walleye guys. Take a peek at the components above.

XBILL HERZOG'S OKIE DRIFTER SETUP that racked up ridiculous numbers of steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature
NWWC VIDEO WALL FEATURE: Steelhead Dreams by Todd Moen Creative
POSTED Nov. 27, 2011 / 8:30 a.m.

- This piece of video eye candy from Todd Moen Creative in Sisters, Ore, a documentary style short film chronicling the life of Northern B.C. guide Hannah Belford and her mother.

A NW Wild Country Video Wall feature
NWWC VIDEO WALL FEATURE: November Eastside steelhead action!
POSTED Nov. 27, 2011 / 8:30 a.m.

- What with all the talk we've done lately about Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon steelhead, this video from Marty and Mia Sheppard of Little Creek Outfitters gives you a flavor of the action. A highlight reel from November with clients and friends.

8CHECK OUT HERZOG'S NEW GALLERY ON THE NWWC FACEBOOK PAGE and leave your comments about his latest steelhead sojourn to the 509.

Bill Herzog's Eastside steelhead gallery on NW Wild Country
There's a steelhead paradise on the Eastside

POSTED Nov. 26, 2011 /4:53 p.m.

- It's exactly 360 miles from Tacoma to the lower Grande Ronde River. And a damn good thing it's not 100 miles further, because I'd drive it.

A 20-fish steelhead day - most on flies! - will do that to a man. If you've listened to the show at all over the past few weeks, you know where I've been: Blazing a path on I-90 to the other side of the state, where MAGNIFICENT steelheading awaits. Don't believe me? Check out the pictures.

8CHECK OUT THE GALLERY ON THE NWWC FACEBOOK PAGE and leave your comments about my latest sojourn to the 509.

NW Wild Country steelhead primer
Mad River Manufacturing on NW Wild Country's Nick Petosa sports the Mad River look at NW Wild Country kicks off our 2011-12 Steelhead Preview
NWWC pops the cork on steelhead 2011-12

UPDATED Nov. 20, 2011 / 8:11 a.m.

- I look to my left and there's Nicky P. with a funky-ass methiolate-colored Rick James wig on his head.

No, wait, that's not a Rick James wig. It's a string of Mad River Action Tail worms, which Nick has decided would look good on his cranium.

I look to my right and Big D. is cooking gumbo in the studio. No, check that - it's not gumbo. It's just the latest batch of shrimp that our resident bait thug has cooked up with Pautzke Fire Brine.

The Wild Country studio looks like Buzz Ramsey's drift boat exploded here: rods, reels, line, plugs, spoons, jigs, boxes of Corkies, boxes of Slinky weights, and on and on.

And so begins Steelhead 2011-12:


XCLICK HERE TO HEAR A LIVE REPORT FROM BOB KRATZER ON on the Bogachiel River, where the early steelhead bite is EN FUEGO!

Bill Herzog's 29-pound steelhead on the Skeena system - listen in on NW Wild Country this Saturday!
First cast with a spoon on the Skeena system ...
UPDATED Sept. 20, 2011/ 4:30 p.m.

- Joel Blog MugIt had been several years since Herzog had seen this part of the Skeena River system, and he'd spent exactly Z-E-R-O days in Steelhead Valhalla this early in the year. What did he expect as he picked up the spoon rod for a quick cast into a big woody tangle on Day 1 of a five-day trip to his old stomping grounds?

The usual: 2/5-ounce 50/50 BC Steel, cast, wobble wobble ... how ya doin'? Hello, 43- x 22 1/2-inch Skeena steelhead.

Want to see more of Zog's trip to the Great White North? Go "LIKE" Northwest Wild Country on Facebook and check 'em out.

Duane Inglin of NW Wild Country offers some coon-shrimp rigging tips on the NWWC Pro Cam
NWWC PRO-CAM: Duane shares his recipe for brining coon shrimp with Nectar
POSTED Aug. 3, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

- Time to put together a shopping list for Duane "Bait Thug" Inglin's basic coon-shrimp recipe. No, no, no, not garlic, butter and white wine! Try Pautzke Nectar, rock salt and sugar. Check it out as Big D. shows you how to get the most out of your shrimp baits for salmon and steelhead

Bill Herzog ties a basic summer steelhead fly on the NW Wild Country Pro Cam
NWWC PRO-CAM: Herzog breaks out the vice for some steelhead ju-ju
POSTED July 22, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

- For all the 20-plus-pound steelhead he's caught on spoons, you'd think that a 10-pound summer buck would be a ho-hummer for Bill Herzog. Not the case, my friends! When that 10-pound buck eats a fly that Herzog tied himself, he might as well be a 25-pound Babine River brute. Check out one of Herzog's favorite steelhead flies in this July Pro-Cam.

The Zog Blog
Of Metal and Metalheads: Looking back at "The Rise and Fall ..."

UPDATED June 18, 2011 / 2:00 p.m.

Metalhead Blog Graphic ISo, I’m watching VH1’s “History Of Metal” last night. You all know me, if it’s metal, I’m all about it - be it music, spinners or spoons. Part Three of a four-parter, “The 80s” was featured, all about the mercuric rise of metal from fringe to mainstream.

First part of the show was about the early 80s, when metal was raucous, rebellious, loud, always with a message … and damned fun. The best of times. Bombastic. One continuous party. Like being blindfolded on a rollercoaster.

The second part of the program was the crash of the genre - how it became formulaic, how all bands started doing the same thing (power ballads). No more “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, no more “You Got Another Thing Comin’”, no more “we’ll never let up, hope it annoys you". It was no longer fun, no more individualism, no more message. Certainly a lack of soaring, chainsaw chords.

Everyone had to do the popular choice … right? Bland becomes boring, no more challenges, fade to black.

From rollercoaster to rowboat.   

Runnin’ with the devil, we ain’t.

Faust sold his soul for youth and love. Today, I would almost be willing to make that deal myself for a one-way ticket back to 1982, when music was music and fishing was real, when anthems and innovations were routine. Metal died because of hitting the “easy” button, and steelhead fishing as the greats knew it went the way of the Okie Drifter with the plague of side drifting.

8 CLICK HERE as Bill Herzog puts the pedal to The Metal in the latest ZOG BLOG.

NW Wild Country PM BriefingNW Wild Country opens the Bait Lab for a discussion about shrimp science
PAUTZKE BAIT LAB: Duane shares his shrimp secrets for recent STS article
POSTED June 7, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

- Fishing coon shrimp for salmon and steelhead isn’t a new technique. Pacific Northwest anglers have been employing the procedure for decades. Nonetheless, in the last few years the application has seen an influx in interest, likely a reflection of modern formulas that make brining the shrimp easier and more efficient than in the past.

Chris Shaffer and Duane Inglin on brining shrimp“There’s been many recipes out there, but most of them that have been written about are on a massive scale literally requiring a guy to brine a five-gallon bucket of shrimp and your everyday angler doesn’t need to brine that many shrimp,” says NWWC's resident bait thug Duane Inglin, who has a self-imposed degree in Mixology. “The recipe I use makes it easy for the average angler, whether one at guide’s level or a newbie, to add shrimp to their arsenal. I don’t want people to think that I’ve discovered something incredible here, because I haven’t, but I’ve refined some older formulas that work for me and I know they are going to work for others."

8CHECK OUT SHAFFER'S FULL FEATURE AND DUANE'S CURING INFO complete with a full array of color photos that didn't appear in the original story.

Duane shares the secret of the Rainbow Tiger Prawn
NWWC BAIT LAB: Duane shares the secrets of the "tiger prawn rainbow"
POSTED April 18, 2011 / 5:40 p.m.

Duane Inglin blog mugPUYALLUP, Wash. - Do not adjust your monitor. The colors you see above are real.

Those tiger prawns might look like they've been swimming in the collection pools at 3 Mile Island, but they've really been hanging out in the NW Wild Country Bait Lab, where our resident bait thug, Duane Inglin, has been building the Tiger Prawn Rainbow.

8CHECK OUT DUANE'S NEW BLOG ON COLORING UP YOUR BAITS for salmon and steelhead, and some tricky new presentations with the good ol' tiger prawn.

Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing with a big Clearwater River B-run steelhead
STEELHEAD REPORT: Clearwater B-runs "About 3 pounds heavier" this year
POSTED Nov. 5, 2010 / 6:49 p.m.

OROFINO, Idaho. - Consider yourself duly warned: If you fish the Clearwater River this season, leave the little pissant side-drifting tackle at home. You'll use it soon enough on the Cowlitz's two-salt cookie cutters.

Steelhead Report: Big B-runs in Idaho's Clearwater RiverThe Clearwater's gnarly B-runs, however, will tear you a new orifice.

That's the word from Toby Wyatt at Reel Time Fishing, who's been banging away at the Clearwater's Killer Bs all season. We've been passing along reports of DefCon 4 action on the lower river for about a month now, but the Clearwater has settled into a slightly more sedate pace in recent weeks. Sedate meaning you could whack 10 or 12 in a day, or 4 or 5.

Pretty good chance that two or three of those will run 15 pounds and up.

"They're about 3 pounds heavier on average this year," Wyatt reported Friday night. "Lots of 16-, 17- and 18-pounders. Some of 'em are just tearing us up."

nTUNE IN AT 6:10 A.M. TOMORROW AS WYATT CHECKS IN from the "B Hive" on the Clearwater River.

The NW Wild Country in-studio Pro Cam focuses on curing eggs with Pautzke Fire Cure
Step-by-step HD video on how to cure eggs

POSTED Oct. 14, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

SEATTLE - Forget the shaky, handheld Handi-Cam shots and shoddy audio snippets. From here on out, the online fish-tech seminar is going full High Definition, with studio-quality audio, courtesy of the new NW Wild Country "Pro Cam".

We're proud to lift the cover off our newest little Wild Country hotrod: studio HD video lessons! Faithful listerners and watchers of NWWC on Comcast Sportsnet Northwest (Channels 37, 170 and 337) may have noticed a few more tech-oriented, TV-friendly instructional segments on the show the past four weeks.

That was just a hint of things to come.

The accompanying video is from the Oct. 9 show, providing a detailed (but simple!), step-by-step video "how-to" on curing eggs using Pautzke's Fire Cure. Wild Country bait thug Duane Inglin takes you through the whole process, from butterflying the skeins to the end product.

Just a tiny peek of "Pro Cam" instruction to come.


Are you a member of The Society? FishWithJd.com asks
J.D. Richey asks: "Are you a member of 'The Society'?"
POSTED Oct. 31, 2010 / 8:50 a.m.

J.D. Richey blog graphicFROM FISHWITHJD.COM - Here's a bit of wisdom from our NorCal posse leader J.D. Richey:

There are a couple different varieties of steelhead anglers out there in the world: the casual fan and (in J.D.'s words), the "diabolically obsessed, over-the-top society of incurable lunatics."

To help you figure out which category you fall into, read over the following statements. If you can’t relate to many of them, you’re probably living a healthy, normal and productive life. On the other hand, if you can relate to most or all of these, welcome to the club, brother ...

8ARE YOU A MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY? CLICK HERE and find out if your particular psychosis puts you into Category B in the steelhead demographic chart.

Rylee Fee, Todd Ripley and crew make a Northern B.C. steelhead pilgrimage
Northern B.C. steelhead Mecca: "Everything is bigger"

POSTED Oct. 12, 2010 / 1:00 p.m.

David Johnson WildBlogSOMEWHERE IN THE BULKLEY VALLEY, B.C. - Jealousy is not a pretty emotion. That said, I'm one ugly S.O.B. right now.

The tinge of green on my face isn't Halloween makeup, but unabashed envy of Rylee Fee and RvrFshr's Todd Ripley, the two perpetuators of one of the coolest threads ever to appear on Piscatorial Pursuits.

"Northern BC is unlike any other place I've been," Fee writes. "I'd liken the place (to) Washington on a Texan strain of steroids. Everything is bigger, and in this case bigger is better, as well as more beautiful."

8SEE FOR YOURSELF ON THE PISCATORIAL PURSUITS THREAD and consider yourself warned: steelhead jealousy is an ugly thing.

Winter run steelhead arrive early on the Skagit River: report from Marblemount Hatchery
STEELHEAD REPORT: Attention steelhead: this party starts in DECEMBER
POSTED Sept. 28, 2010 / 5:35 p.m.

MARBLEMOUNT - So maybe Poor Richard's Almanack isn't quite as all-knowing this year as in previous years. It's not Poor Richard's fault. Mother Nature is being fickle.

As Northwest Sportsman editor Andy Walgamott said in his latest blog - "In this wacky weather year in the Northwest, where winter was spring, spring was late winter, and late summer was midfall ..." - there's nothing normal about the timing of ANY fish run this year. Just ask Marblemount Hatchery manager Steve Stout, who, apparently, is counting winter steelhead even as I write this.

8READ WALGAMOTT'S BLOG POST OVER AT NW SPORTSMAN about the early arrival of steelhead that look suspiciously like winter runs.

Craig Mostul on the Deschutes River
STEELHEAD REPORT: The NWWC Eastside pursuit visits the Deschutes
POSTED Sept. 25, 2010 / 3:30 p.m.

BIGGS - The photo above of Craig Mostul of Alumaweld says it all about Eastside steelhead: Wide-open country, not another soul in sight.

Well, maybe that photo doesn't say EVERYTHING you need to know about the fall metalhead fishery outside of the increasingly soggy (and crowded) Westside. There are the fish as well. Oh, Sweet Georgia Brown, are there ever the fish.

8CHECK OUT A GALLERY OF MOSTUL'S PHOTOS from a run up into the Deschutes, and stay tuned as Shangle, Herzog, Mikey Juice and Big D. get all over the Eastside steelhead fishery.

ONE SPOT LEFT: Lower Dean River steelhead, Aug. 1-6
One spot open on Dean River "deal of a lifetime"!

POSTED July 30, 2010 / 7:00 p.m.

LOWER DEAN RIVER, B.C. - Those of you who have heard Herzog's colorful description of being brutalized by Dean River steelhead, listen up: you have roughly 24 hours to react to the Dean River steelhead deal of a lifetime.

Go surf around April Vokey's Flygal Ventures site for the details. Trip ranges from $1,650 to $2,640. Trust me, kids, that's C-H-E-A-P. If you have next week off, get on it.

8CHECK OUT THE DETAILS OF APRIL'S DEAN RIVER HOOKUP and photos of the most beautiful steelhead in the world. And I won't even pretend to not be jealous.

Andy "Coho" Schneider and friends put on a Cowlitz River shrimp show
"Coho" conks Cowlitz chrome on coon shrimp
NEW July 8, 2010 / 10:30 a.m

Andy Schneider hits the Cowlitz RiverCHEHALIS, Wash. - After watching fireworks displays until almost midnight then tossing and turning as neighbors continued to set off  their homemade pyrotechnics ‘til the wee hours, I was actually waiting for my alarm to go off: I was meeting with some good friends and chasing some summer steelhead in Washington State.

As I rendezvoused with Pat, Kent and Tom in the pre-dawn darkness, it was evident that they were looking forward to fishing as well and we didn't waste any time getting gear transferred to the boat, and back onto the road, headed for the Cowlitz River.

8CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW ANDY "COHO" SCHNEIDER DID on the Cowlitz, and about how a mid-day technique switch paid off. 

NW Wild Country opens the Bait Lab for a discussion about shrimp science
NWWC BAIT LAB: Step into Duane's Domain: coon shrimp for summer steel
POSTED June 14, 2010 / 7:40 p.m.

Duane Inglin blog mugPUYALLUP, Wash. - A key point to remember when you're preparing baits for summer steelhead (or any fish, for that matter): You have to start with good bait to end up with good bait.

Be selective where you buy your shrimp. If you can't find them, then I would suggest:  Internet, Internet, Internet. Do your homework and you might be amazed what's out there for your education. Networking  on your fishing sites and boards is another useful tool.

8CLICK HERE FOR DUANE'S COON SHRIMP RECIPE and some detailed advice on curing/brining baits for summer steelhead in the NW Wild Country Bait Lab.

NW Wild Country P.M. Briefing, 4-28
Steelhead in Los Angeles County?
L.A.'s latest steelhead solution: "fish highways"

POSTED April 28, 2010 / 8:50 p.m.

MALIBU, Calif. - The words "steelhead" and "Malibu" don't often appear in the same Associated Press paragraph, so my web surfing came to a screeching halt when the following story by AP writer Noaki Schwartz came across the Wild Country desk on Monday: "Calif's costly trout recovery effort criticized".

Trout, in this case, are endangered Southern California steelhead, and the recovery effort in question is a California Department of Transportation proposal to build a 60-foot-wide, 102-foot-long "fish freeway" across a popular beach in Santa Monica Bay. The intent: To allow the passage of adult steelhead into streams in the Santa Monica Mountains.

A little digging reveals that our SoCal brothers have spent $16.7 million building fish ladders, and tens of millions of dollars in repairs and improvements to existing facilities are scheduled for the next few years.

8STEELHEAD FISHING IN THE URBAN SPRAWL OF LOS ANGELES is not a foreign subject to longtime followers of J.D. Richey and FishWithJD.com. If, for some reason, you haven't read this story before, prepare to be blown away, bro.


NW Wild Country A.M. Briefing for March 5, Bill Herzog's guide to trophy steelhead
Steelhead Nation goes on a vision quest for 20-pounders
POSTED March 5, 2010 / 9:00 a.m.

Bill Herzog's Guide to Trophy Steelhead, on NW Wild CountrySEATTLE - I'll never forget the first 20-pound steelhead I cradled in my hands. Bright, strong, and outlandishly beautiful.

That fish changed my life.

It sent me on a 25-year vision quest that would take me to the greatest steelhead fisheries on Planet Earth:

n It sent me to the Dean River, where I experienced steelhead transcendency with five 20-plus-pound fish in one glorious day (on a fly, no less!).

n It sent me repeatedly to the Babine River and its tributaries, a place where I someday hope my ashes are scattered.

n It sent me thousands of times to the Sol Duc, the Hoh, the Bogachiel, an area I am now more familiar with than my own back yard.

To the Great Lakes. To Northern California. To Oregon. Up and down the coast of British Columbia. Places where I spent thousands upon thousands of hours learning the habits and behaviors of big, big B-I-G steelhead, and how to catch them. My vision quest has connected me with over 220 20-pound fish, for every one of which I'm extremely, sincerely, eternally grateful.

It's now time for me to pay it forward.

Herzog Blog MugHelping you along on YOUR vision quest: Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing over two decades of big-fish knowledge here on NWWC.com, and on the air on Saturday mornings. I'll open the pages of my personal steelhead encyclopedia to Steelhead Nation and let you thumb through the information therein. I will, hopefully, help you along on YOUR personal vision quest for the steelhead of a lifetime.

It all starts tomorrow on Northwest Wild Country. Please, tune in, take notes, call in, ask questions.


nCATCH IT STREAMING ONLINE at www.950kjr.com!


Hunting trophy March steelhead on the Oregon North Coast with David JohnsonNW Wild Country A.M. Briefing, 3-3
SHOW PREVIEW: Put on your hunting clothes, kids, it's trophy-hunting time
POSTED March 3, 2010 / 1:50 p.m.

Buzz Column MugTILLAMOOK - While the rest of the Pacific Northwest fishing world is laser-beam focused on spring Chinook, Wild Country blogger David Johnson has been quietly pulling on the oars on the rivers of the North Coast. How's he doing?

Look at the picture above. That's one of DJ's clients, with a fish caught last week.

You tell me how he's doing.

The Wild Country Steelhead Nation starts its road trip to TrophyTown this Saturday, with check-ins from DJ, and the start of Bill Herzog's "Trophy Tips for The 20". As in 20-pounders, from the man who's caught more of 'em than any 10 of us combined.


nCATCH IT STREAMING ONLINE at www.950kjr.com!


NWWC A.M. Briefing Team Pautzke tackles Lake Erie during snowstorm
NW Wild Country A.M. Briefing 2-25, Talking Turkey with Len Brandt of the NWTF
Pautzke boys tackle snowy Lake Erie steelhead
POSTED Feb. 25, 2010 / 10:45 a.m.

Buzz Column MugCLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland rocks!

And snows. And freezes. But that doesn't slow down Team Pautzke! Bill "Swanny" Swann took a little Pacific Northwest steelhead mojo to the Great Lakes this week, along with Pautzke general manager Chris Shaffer.

8THE GUYS AT STEELHEADQUARTERS.COM chronicled the whole thing.

A NW Wild Country Blog ExclusiveBill Herzog Zog Blog on NW Wild Country, Spey fishing the Hoh River
Herzog, J.D. Love and their "Days of Spey" on the Hoh River
POSTED Feb. 18, 2010 / 9:45 a.m.

Herzog Blog MugFORKS - With blanket closures of Puget Sound streams, the long-rodders of Puget Sound are forced to leave behind the perfect swing bars of the Sauk, Skagit and Skykomish. Tough to find spey-friendly water after you cut that list of all-star rivers out.

Consequently, the Hoh had become, by proxy, the darling of the winter fly-rodder. For good reason: The classic long-scalloped bars, the wide runs that marry the aggressive native steelhead with the standard wet fly swing. At least we have the few rivers on the OP left. Like the Skagit of 15 years ago, the Hoh is now the destination of all fur and feather clan from southern BC, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and even northern California.

But know this: we are loving this place to death.

8CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF ZOG'S HOH SPEY DAZE BLOG and how he's benefitted by having his "personal J.D. Love" as a Spey-fishing mentor.

Pautzke BorXoFire Crash Test Steelhead Report
STEELHEAD REPORT/CRASH TEST: Lightin' 'up up with Pautzke BorXOFire
POSTED Dec. 30, 2009 / 6:10 a.m.

Andy Martin Wild Rivers Fishing blog mugBROOKINGS, Ore. - Talking with guide friends from Northern California to Washington State around Christmas, I heard lots of stories about good early-season steelhead fishing. All of the steelhead had one thing in common - they were caught with salmon and steelhead eggs cured with Pautzke BorxOFire and Fire Cure.

There are several quality commercial cures on the market, but many top guides are finding success right now with the hot new BorxOFire and the already-proven Fire Cure.

8CLICK HERE TO CHIME IN ON MARTIN'S THREAD on iFish about BorXOFire's early-season success.

NWWC Video Wall of Fame
Val Perry's classic "Fishing the West", Part 2 of 3

POSTED Dec. 12, 2009 / 5:10 p.m.

SMITH RIVER, Calif. - Funny how timing works out.

I was sitting at the desk this afternoon, doing some work on the January issue of California Sportsman magazine. To be specific, I was poring over some information about California's Smith River.

Lo and behold, look at what appears in my Inbox: A note from Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, and a link to this cool old episode of "Fishing the West" featuring longtime Northwest Wild Country guest Val Perry.

If you've never fished the Smith, you should. In the meantime, enjoy part 2 of the three-part video from Val's first FTW appearance.


More Methow graphic
STEELHEAD REPORT: Methow metal beat goes on, ba da dum de dum dum!
POSTED Nov. 14, 2009 / 9:10 a.m.

CARLTON, Wash. - Last time we heard from John Whitlatch of Reel Adventures, he was watching this 90-plus-pound Chinookasarus swim back into the waters of the Kenai River. Whitlatch checked in late this week with a quick report from the Methow River, where he'd been fishing with longtime F.O.W. (Friend of the Wild) Ray Gombiski.

How did they do? How about 50-plus fish on center-pins?

More photos to follow.


FEATURE: Time to fly the friendly Sky for summer steelhead, Chinook
NEW June 22, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.

Blackmouth Report Graphic
SULTAN, Wash. - The whisper of a hot summer steelhead bite hits the small town of Sultan, Washington like a Grateful Dead concert.

On off weeks, the hottest thing in town is the Frisbee-sized cinnamon roll at the Sultan Bakery. But 24 hours later - after the chatter of a hot steelhead and summer Chinook bite hits the internet chat forums - the gravel launch under the Sultan River Bridge blossoms withglowing red trailer lights and aluminum sleds as the Sky above the town of Monroe turns into the biggest side-drifting party in western Washington.

This particular section of the Snohomish River’s biggest tributary isn’t a fishery for solitude-seekers. Everyone from Tacoma to Bellingham is well aware that the Skykomish has produced a 2,000- to 3,500-fish steelhead harvest most years since the 1980s. Add a relatively new two-hatchery-Chinook limit to the mix and you have exactly what you’d expect from a productive salmon & steelhead fishery within an hour’s drive of 3 million people.

8CLICK HERE to read Andy Martin's feature on his favorite southern Oregon steelhead creek. You still have a shot at a trophy!

FEATURE: Martin details winter-run fishing on Oregon's Chetco River
NEW March 23, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.

Blackmouth Report GraphicBROOKINGS, Ore. - Some anglers come to Oregon’s Chetco River in hopes of catching one of the storied 20-plus-pound steelhead it produces each winter. Others are attracted by its healthy run of hatchery fish, making it one of the best bets in the state at a multiple-steelhead day.

8CLICK HERE to read Andy Martin's feature on his favorite southern Oregon steelhead creek. You still have a shot at a trophy!

STEELHEAD REPORT: Buzz & the boyz smokin' 'em on the Wilson River
NEW March 9, 2009 / 3:30 p.m

Buzz Ramsey Wilson River steelheadTILLAMOOK, Ore. - We've been keeping a long-distance secret for Wild Country blogger David Johnson since around Christmas: steelhead fishing on certain Tillamook Bay streams has been solid bordering on sensational this season.

As Johnson wrote in his "Second Mouse Gets the Cheese" Blog a couple of weeks ago, the secret is out: traffic on the Wilson River has gone from mellow to mind-numbing on the weekend.

However, there appears to be enough fish to go around, as longtime Wild Country friend Buzz Ramsey is only too willing to point out.The photo above is the second to hit my "INBOX" today, courtesy of Mr. Ramsey. Buzz owns a cabin on the Wilson, and I suspect that he's making a morning drift, whacking 3-4 steelhead, and gleefully sending photos out on his lunch break.

Blackmouth Report GraphicTrophy time: While I haven't heard of or seen photographic evidence of any ginormous natives on the Wilson this year, it generally kicks out a fair share of trophy-sized fish in March.

The tides are favorable this month, too: I wouldn't be at all surprised if Buzz's next lunch-break e-memo said something like "Pretty good fishing today ... caught a 20-pounder ... wish you were here!"


Peak steelhead on Mid Columbia

Steelhead bite approaching peak on mid Columbia River

NEW Feb. 17, 2009 / 2:00 p.m.

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - The Pacific Northwest has officially caught Springeritis. But while the majority of westside Washington and Oregon anglers will be thoroughly boondoggled by the spell of upriver Chinook for the next 45 days, a dedicated squadron of plug-pullers and bait-drifters will quietly rack up some of the best steelhead numbers of the year in the mid-Columbia and lower Snake rivers.

Northwest Wild Country hooked up with veteran Tri-Cities guide Bruce Hewitt for a Q&A about the fishery.

X CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast.

David Johnson Unplugged

Patrolling Oregon's north coast with guide David Johnson

NEW Feb. 8, 2009 / 12:30 p.m.

TILLAMOOK., Ore. - What happens in a Tillamook guide's mind in the Twilight Zone of early February, before he starts guiding for Columbia River spring Chinook?.

8CLICK HERE as David Johnson goes Unplugged

FISH WIRE FEATURE: Welcome Tri-Cities to the Hatchery Hawgs lineup!
NEW Feb. 3, 2009 / 10:50 a.m

Hatchery Hawgs 7TRI-CITIES, Wash. - I was wondering when the Tri-Cities crowd would introduce themselves to the Hatchery Hawgs lineup.

For the past two months, I've been seeing reports out of Tri-Cities of steady action on mid-teener steelhead. For those of you who aren't familiar with the wintertime drill on this part of the Columbia, it has two requirements: lots of insulation, and a well-stocked plug box.

Hawg #7: This 18-pound racing-striped Hawg followed orders perfectly above McNary Dam, going after a pink Mag Wart trolled 100 feet behind the boat in chilly 36-degree water. Pendleton angler Joel Gilliland put the wood to him, and, voila, Hawg #7!

Contest ahoy: Been scrambling the past two days, but I'll get details posted today (for real!) about the Hatchery Hawgs Contest.

Wanna qualify? Send me your Hawg photos: joel@nwwildcountry.com


FISH WIRE FEATURE: Nooch takes the lead in Hatchery Hawgs contest
NEW Jan. 31, 2009 / 9:50 a.m

Hatchery Hawgs 6CHEHALIS, Wash. - A pattern is starting to develop here.

Nooch, Mook, Nooch, Mook.

Say that three times as fast as you can ... and then check out the lastest Wynoochee River entry into the Hatchery Hawgs lineup.

Six entries into this adventure, and Tillamook-area streams and Nooch have accounted for four Hawgs. I have one more Nooch pig scheduled to hit the page on Tuesday, and possibly another for Friday.

Unless the Orofino and Tillamook crowds start to play catch-up, the Nooch is going to run away with the Hawg crown, and I'll have no other choice but to rename this thing "Black Creek Hawgs"!

Hawg #6: The latest Hawg fell into my lap courtesy of the dudes at 3 Rivers Marine in Woodinville. That's Ian Winder, with the fifth steelhead of his fledgling career.

The photo is straight out of the Candian fly-fishing mags, with the fish-on-its-side pose. It's a little deceptive, too: the fish runs 39 inches, and is easily a Hawg qualifier.

FISH WIRE FEATURE: Oregon North Coast checks in with another Hawg
NEW Jan. 29, 2009 / 4:30 p.m

Hatchery Hawgs 5TILLAMOOK, Ore. - Need more proof that Oregon's brood stock steelhead program is a success?

Here ya go.

The big steelie at left is the second North Coast brood stock fish to be logged into our Hatchery Hawgs feature in the past 5 days, making it an even 40 percent so far.

I'm just sayin'.

This photo comes courtesy of guide Chris Nordling, who put client Loren Litke onto a fish who's taped-out particulars (39-plus length, 21-plus girth) put it well over 20 pounds on four different weight estimators.

The Big 5: I've gotten some requests for side-by-side comparisons of the Hawgs to date. Ask and ye shall receive: click on the thumbnails for full-size Hawg viewing.

Hatchery Hawgs 4 Hatchery Hawgs 3 Hatchery Hawgs 2 Hatchery Hawgs

FISH WIRE FEATURE: Rico representin' in Hatchery Hawgs race
NEW Jan. 28, 2009 / 9:45 a.m

Hatchery Hawgs 4ELMA, Wash. - It was only a matter of time before Eli Rico joined the battle.

So, last week, I laid down a challenge to Washington steelheaders to show their colors in the Hatchery Hawgs challenge.

I pointed out in no uncertain terms that our Oregon neighbors were handily making us all look like a bunch of clowns, thanks to photos of hatchery giants caught on the Wilson, Coquille, etc.

Here's Rico's volley: a big Bubba of a hatchery hawg caught Tuesday in the Chehalis River Basin. This fish is 18 to 19 pounds-ish, and definitely a qualifier.

The battle continues: So as we approach the end of January, the 8Hatchery Hawgs score is Washington 2, Oregon 2. Check back here tomorrow morning, though, and you'll likely see the Beaver State Boyz re-take the lead, thanks to Glenn Hall of Hawg Quest. I hear rumors of more big fish coming out of the Wynoochee this week, but, so far, NO PROOF.

Send those photos in, boys and girls: joel@nwwildcountry.com!

STEELHEAD REPORT: Johnson files Tillamook-area steelhead report
NEW Jan. 25, 2009 / 1:30 p.m

Tillamook streamsTILLAMOOK, Ore. - After the high water we had through December and early January, the rivers finally cleared, leaving a nice shot of steelhead for Oregon anglers. Fishing was fun on my local rivers, but with the melting snow pack keeping flows up, the fish soon became spread out. 

The biters also got picked off pretty good with 40 to 50 boats on the water per day.

Broodstock: One highlight of the season is the number of big broodstock hatchery fish that are present.  I had one guide buddy get one that was 20+ and on the same day I netted a 22-pounder for another boat who didn’t have a big enough net.

Currently the rivers are dropping into their lower levels and clearing. 

Steelhead Report GraphicPerfect!

Low and clear rivers are my specialty. The longer they are low the better as far as I’m concerned.  The fish start to slow down and stack up and the pressure drops off.

I have more consistent and have had more double digit days under these conditions than any other.

It’s still early in the run for our broodstock fish and I look forward to several more great months to come.


STEELHEAD REPORT: Oregon takes the lead in 2009 hatchery hawg race
NEW Jan. 22, 2009 / 8:15 p.m

Hatchery Hawgs 3MYRTLE POINT, Ore. - I've heard it said that we Evergreen Staters are a little "over the top" in our worship of steelhead.

Maybe so, but our metal-maniac brothers and sisters over on the other side of the Columbia River are ringing in with some impressive weights late in the 2008-09 hatchery-steelhead season.

The latest member of our 8Hatchery Hawgs gallery comes to us from southern Oregon's Coquille River, courtesy of Travis Howard of TH Custom Rods.

That's Howard's son Tanner and wife Dondi, and a brute of a clipped fish that Tanner wrestled out of the Coquille ... actually, it's one of a COUPLE of 15-plus-pounders that the Howard clan handled in one day. To you western Washington dudes, the Coquille is probably foreign territory, but, suffice it to say that they have pretty strong hatchery genes down south.

STEELHEAD REPORT: Beaver State checks in with broodstock bruiser
NEW Jan. 22, 2009 / 9:30 p.m

Hatchery Hawgs 2TILLAMOOK, Ore. - As waters throughout Washington and Oregon continue to fall back into shape following our recent floods, many of us have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the late hatchery fish being netted in Beaver and Evergreen State rivers.

For instance: the newest entry in our "Hatchery Hawgs" race - the beautiful buck pictured at left (photo courtesy of David Johnson) - came from Oregon's North Coast. To be more precise, that's a broodstock buck pulled out of the Wilson River.

Good luck finding a better-looking steelhead, native or broodstock.

Hatchery HawgsHawg hunting: "Transition" steelheading - when wild fish begin to replace hatchery fish - isn't rocket science. Matter of fact, most full-time steelhead guides don't fish any differently this time of year than they did in late November, when the 7-pound hatchery brats started to show up.

Free drifting is still the all-around best technique, simply because it allows you to cover more water than you will with plugs or pink worms.

"Most of our big fish come on drifted or side-drifted gear," says Wild Country blogger and Tillamook-area hotshot David Johnson. "I'd say that the best way to get into a hog is to fish a river known to hold big fish, and fish it during this (January/February) time frame."

More hawgs to come later this week!


FISH WIRE: 30-plus-pound B.C. steelhead, 8-weight flyrod ...
NEW Jan. 9, 2009 / 11:00 a.m

Kitimat River monster

SEATTLE, Wash. - Every now and then I stumble across a photo of a fish that just makes me go "Wow ..."

Tell the truth: when you opened this page and saw the photo of the ginormous, beautiful Kalum River steelhead above, you said the same thing, didn't you?

Steelhead Report GraphicThe photo above was taken on the Kalum River, a tributary of the legendary Skeena River in northern British Columbia. The dude holding the fish is Antti Pirinen, from Finland. The fish: well over 30 pounds, caught on a fly and an 8-weight, single-handed rod.

Yes, you read that right: Pirinen successfully hooked, fought and defeated one of the biggest steelhead you'll ever see on a single-handed 8-weight.

"Regarding the Monster Steelhead," Pirinen says (he's allowed to use capital letters for this fish, by the way), "I'll share the story with you. You might think it's f***ing weird, but this is how it went."

8CLICK HERE to read Pirinen's story

STEELHEAD REPORT: Idaho's Clearwater Ground Zero for hot steelhead
NEW Jan. 16, 2009 / 3:30 p.m.

Steelhead Report GraphicOROFINO, Wash. - I don't care what you're fishing for, 35 fish a day is a damn good day. When the species in question is steelhead ... well, 35 is a damn good month.

You call bulls*it if you want, but this is what I'm hearing from Idaho's Clearwater River: 15 to 35 fish a day for fully-armed guide boats.

"I have a buddy who swore they caught 35 fish the other day," Mike Kelly of Fish Reaper Guide Service reported on Friday. "I have another buddy who caught 18 that same day. Sounds to me like the Clearwater is loaded with fish."

That report was echoed by Kip at The Guide Shop in Orofino: "The river's finally levelling out, and there's a bunch of fish in the river."

Giddyup, Orofino Maniacs.

Podcast Alert!: Check back here on Sunday for a podcast of our conversation with Kelly and the crew at The Guide Shop.


STEELHEAD REPORT: Finding fish in the pre-Christmas deep freeze
NEW Dec. 10, 2008 / 4:00 p.m.

Steelhead Report GraphicARLINGTON, Wash. - With daytime highs in the low 20s throughout Washington this week, you might as well toss a Corky and yarn down the frozen-food aisle at your local Safeway.

As Wild Country co-host and steelhead savant Bill Herzog advised this week, pick your time and place if you want to convince a frozen metalhead to bite this week. And if you just HAVE to go fishing this week, here's what you'll find on some of our favorite steelhead streams:

nKalama River: This week's deep freeze has locked everything up tight in the Kalama drainage, so you can expect low, clear water conditions throughout the weekend. Head straight for the Canyon: fish rocketed up the Kalama on the last series of rains, and they'll be hunkered down in the chilly water from the Red Barn upstream. Fish black/red or chartreuse/white jigs and spinners. Call Prichard's Western Anglers (360-673-4690) for water-condition updates.

nBogachiel River: Sleep in, eat a hearty breakfast, fill the propane bottle and bring your plug box. The Bogie is dropping, with 5 feet of visiblity, and it's loaded with hatchery steelhead from about a quarter mile above the hatchery down to the Wilson's launch ... and none of 'em will be willing to bite a thing until past noon.

"With this cold weather plugs are going to be the best and the afternoons until dark will be the best time of day as the water will warm just a little bit," says Bob Kratzer of Angler's Guide Service. "Best plugs have been X-4 FlatFish in silver, TJ special, flame red, Dr. Death, green weenie or flounder. Both shrimp and prawns have also had good success when stretched out behind a diver with a small pink corkie in front of it."

nSkykomish River: Four feet of visibility, running at around 2,300 cfs, and hit-and-miss above the Sultan for steelhead. Still some bright(is) chums around above the Wallace, steelhead is hit-and-miss for side-drifters and bankies floating jigs & bait. Hit up Eli Rico of Hot Shot Guide Service or Jim Stahl of J & J Guide Service for guided trips on the Sky.

nCowlitz River: A little-known reality of a West Coast cold snap: more water gets dumped through the dams on the Cowlitz as Tacoma Power generates power to keep your cousing warm in California. Consequently, the Cowlitz is running at 6,750 cfs as I write this. If it warms up a few degrees, look for those flows to ratchet back to around 5,200. There are fish here, too: side-drift, fish floats & jigs/eggs or plunk sand shrimp. Give Don Glaser at Barrier Dam Campground a call for the straight scoop on water conditions.


STEELHEAD REPORT: Churned-up Cowlitz "getting greener" for steelhead
NEW Nov. 28, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Steelhead Report GraphicSALKUM, Wash. - Steelhead fishing on the Cowlitz River had ground to a halt last week, thanks to massive sediment releases from Mayfield and Mossyrock dams. And while visibility below Barrier Dam is still minimal, it looks like the water is shaping up better for weekend plunkers and plug-pullers.

"The lakes (Mayfield and Riffe) are solid mud," Don Glaser at Barrier Dam Campground reported on Nov. 28. "We had mud dumping into both Riffe and Mayfield."

All Rivers GS CowlitzMud in, mud out: with an ever-increasing amount of sediment in both reservoirs, the only choice for dam managers has been to release water from both Mayfield and Mossyrock dams, which has pushed a plume of brown good right down the Cowlitz's gullet.

Visibility, consequently, has been poor to non-existent.

"I fished it (early Thansgiving week) and wish I hadn't," said guide Bill "Swanny" Swann. "There was zero visibility, and we didn't catch hardly anything. That thing was dirty, dirty.

Visibility hadn't improved significantly by Black Friday (Glaser reported it at 6 to 8 inches), but there are signs that the river might be steelhead green again within a week.

"In the last three days, I've seen a difference in color," Glaser says. "I can see a little bit of glacier green on top of the Cowlitz, and Riffe has some green streaks on top."

In the meantime: Plunkers and plug-pullers will do the best while the Cowlitz is stull mucky. Glaser reports that fresh steelhead and coho are being caught from Barrier Dam and Blue Creek by bank anglers plunking sand shrimp on short leaders (18 to 24 inches) and boaters backtrolling plugs close to the bank.


FISH WIRE FLASH: They're heeeeeeeeeeeeeere ...
NEW Nov. 23, 2008 / 4:40 p.m.

Swanny steelheadARLINGTON, Wash. - I wrote in the November issue of Northwest Sportsman that the traditional Thanksgiving kickoff to winter steelhead season had become a thing of the past. It has, for the most part, thanks to brood stock hatchery projects and truncated runs that fade into December more often than they get cranking in November.

I also wrote that you'd be insane to ignore early-arriving steelhead in the Skykomish, Cowlitz, Snoqualmie and Chehalis system.

Heads up, people: they're heeeeeeeeeere.

Mark my words, the winter 2008-09 is going to be one of the best in recent memory. Early fish have been arriving in the Cowlitz for nearly three weeks, we're already seeing reports on fishing forums of steelhead at Reiter Ponds, guys like Bill "Swanny" Swann (above) are whispering about good numbers of early fish in the Chehalis system, the Calawah is - in the words of Wild Country co-host Bill Herzog "stuffed with fish" - and the Snoqualmie is starting to percolate.

Steelhead Report GraphicNow, if we can luck into some cooperative weather (i.e. good water conditions), it'll be game-on for Thanksgiving weekend.

Check back on Wednesday as I file our first Steelhead Report of the season. This will be a regular mid-week anchorpoint here at NWWC.com, with the latest info on metalhead fisheries throughout the West.

See you on Wednesday.


FISH WIRE: Brace yourself for October, November to remember on Snake
Oct. 13, 2008 / 9:00 p.m.

Snake River 22-pounder CLARKSTON, Wash. - Brace yourself for the hottest 60 days of steelhead fishing on Planet Earth.

As I write this, a gigantic biomass of Onchyrancus mykiss is flooding over the dams of the Snake River system, on a collision course with an eager angling public humming with excitement from Clarkston to the bowels of Hells Canyon.

Army Corps of Engineers fish passage counts for Little Goose and Lower Granite dams - the two dams just below the Lewiston/Clarkston nexus on the middle Snake - reveal figures that'll give any self-respecting steelhead angler a chubbie: 151,080 hatchery metalheads over Little Goose, 144,916 more over Lower Granite.

Those figures are both about 25 percent higher than the 10-year average, and among the highest early-October counts in years.

Translation: the Snake River between Lewiston/Clarkston and Heller Bar is about to go off the chain. Mark my words: the next two months will see some of the best steelhead fishing the Snake River has ever seen, and that's saying something for a fishery that routinely produces several thousand blushy-cheeked sea-run rainbows every year in October and November.

Steelhead Report GraphicAbout the only thing holding this bite back right now is water temperature. As Mike Kelly of Fish Reaper Guide Service told us on the air last Saturday, water flows pouring past Heller Bar will be just about perfect until early December, and one more slight dip in those water temps will turn the Snake into Ground Zero for North American steelhead.

More on this later this week on the Fish Wire.


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