best winter steelhead fly colors

I wanted to share a quick article I found on the best winter steelhead fly colors from Jay at the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.

To be honest, this is a little self serving because I could have just shared this on social and it’d disappear in the long run.

But, because I’m sharing it here, it will live and breath for years to come and remind me of Jay’s effort and thoughts.


Here’s the link to the article on the best colors:

Best Winter Steelhead Fly Colors

Jay breaks down the color combinations into three tiers and gives a few more tips during the discussion.


Here are the 3 tiers of Steelhead Colors:

Top Tier = black, blue, purple.

Middle Tier = pink, orange, red.

Bottom Tier = olive, chartreuse.


Noting among other things that black, blue and purple are the top tier or best colors to use for steelhead fishing for him especially in the Northwest.

Of course, this is just an opinion piece and much of the hard work with fly fishing is getting your fly in front of the fish and presented correctly.

But at the end of the day, when choosing colors for steelhead, you can’t go wrong with dark colors overall for winter steelhead.


Deneki outdoors also posted a short video on fly colors that you can check out here:

Selecting Steelhead Flies

Tom covers when to choose certain colors for different water and weather conditions.  For example, a darker fly is better when the stream has color or on cloudy days.  And larger flies work better for colder rivers.


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I'm Dave Stewart, a passionate fly-tying mentor, course teacher and writer. I want to take risks, meet interesting people, go hard, challenge myself and explore the world.