Winter Steelhead Fishing by Scott Pence is one of the most comprehensive pieces of fishing literature to appear in print.
Although it is most certainly a regional text that covers North Coast Oregon rivers, this is a coastal Oregonian’s winter steelhead bible. The Nehalem, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask, Nestucca, Siletz and Alsea rivers are all covered in extensive detail.
Perhaps what sets this piece of text apart from other guide books and instructional texts is the color print and modern details, like the USGS Graphs for river levels with a window explaining when to fish after a rain event. Water clarity tendencies, peak times, local rules and guidelines, shuttle service providers, and bait shops to call for information are included on each river.
There is simply no better modern day field guide to the when, where, and why for all conditions for North Coast Oregonian rivers. You can find out more about the book and the author at Oregon Steelheading.
For drift boat anglers, every individual boat ramp is listed with the GPS coordinates, as well as notes that accompany multiple images of the turns from the road, the parking lots, and ramps. This is a great tool that will prepare an out-of-town angler who doesn’t know what to expect. If the boat ramp is muddy or not well-kept, you’ll know right away from the images and notes if you’re going to need 4WD to get the boat in and out, or if the launch is a little hairy for the trailering inexperienced.
Detailed maps display the navigational difficulty of each float by color. Rapids that are difficult to navigate get their own descriptive rundowns so you can decide whether or not you want to take the risks to do those floats. River mileage from one ramp to the next is also listed, so you can easily time out your drifts to fit your schedule. “The zone” and “Prime Level” are also listed for each individual drift so you can refer back to the USGS graphs to make decisions regarding where to float and when.
Beyond the specific details of the geography, water levels, and precautionary warnings about rapids and obstacles, basic information about the amounts of hatchery fish that are released (or that return) to those particular rivers are also explained in the text with specifics regarding scatter planting locations. Pence also includes regional conservation efforts, landmarks, and general comments on each system.