I had the pleasure of sitting down with Adrian Cortes to dig into dry line steelhead with a focus on winter steelhead.  Adrian is one of the leaders in dry and wet fly fishing without a sinking line.

We find out how to “get down” to the fish without a sinking line during the most challenging time to catch steelhead.  Tons of tips and resources that will help you avoid the bottom dredging this winter.


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Show Notes with Adrian Cortes

01:50 – I had Richard Harrington on the podcast in episode 159.

09:10 – We talk about Todd Hirano and the dedication to skating flies.

21:04 – Bill McMillan was a big influence for Adrian and Todd Hirano.  We talk about the connection to the old school without all of the tech advances.

30:10 – Lee Spencer on the North Umpqua cuts off the hook just like Harry Lemire.

35:20 – The Winter’s Hope, by Bill McMillan was tied specifically to sink on a dry line.

winters hope
photo via: https://fishingwithjay.wordpress.com/tag/steelhead-flies/

36:50 – The 3/0 Partridge Code M and the Blue Heron Hooks plus the Alec Jackson hooks have some weight.  But the code M is the best to use for weight.

39:40 – I noted Big Red who helped me back in the day.

54:15 – The Sumo Rod Rack is the goto transporter to protect the bamboo sticks.


55:20 – A farlows perfect reel to balance out the bamboo rod.

59:40 – Adrian noted John Gierach who was on the podcast in episode 47,

1:00:45 – Silver Ardea is a classic pattern that is not married and allows it to sink better.

silver ardea
photo via: http://flyanglersonline.com/features/oldflies/part330.php

1:03:00 – Sid Glasso’s Orange Heron

1:04:05 – Adrian’s Fly board of retired flies and their stories.

steelhead flies

1:05:00 – Harry Limire’s Greased Liner is Adrian’s number one dry fly patter of all time.

1:23:10 – Jin Woo Lee is a great tier in hand who has some great tying in hand videos on youtube.


You can find Adrian on Instagram at Adrian Cortes Steelhead here.


2 Top Flies:  Harry Lemire’s Greased Liner and Roderick Haeg Brown’s Steelhead Bee



Tips for dry line winter steelhead fishing

  1. Focus on the arm pit and the slower water
  2. Use Fixed wing to sink the fly (vs. Married wings)
  3. Use the Partridge Code M to help get your fly down
  4. Cold and Clear is not good for dry line in winter
  5. Look for a push of water and fish just after drops



Resources Noted in the Show

Dry Line Steelhead by Bill McMillan

dry line steelhead


Videos Noted in the Show

Bill McMillan’s Winter’s Hope Tube Style


Jin Woo Lee’s Tying in Hand


“They’re not that bright of fish, you just have to put it in front of them.”

-Adrian Cortez

dry line steelhead
photo via: http://oregonflyfishingblog.com/2013/01/07/adrian-cortes-fly-tying-demo-january-26th/

Conclusion with Adrian Cortes

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Adrian Cortes to discuss one of the most challenging forms of steelhead fly fishing.  We dig into the how’s and why’s of dry line steelhead fishing in the winter.