Fly Fishing Guide Profile: Sam Sickles of Steelhead Outfitters in Oregon

Steelhead Outfitters

Sam Sickles is a Hood River based steelhead and trout guide in Oregon. Guiding on the Deschutes, Clackamas, and Sandy Rivers, Sickles expertly guides some of the Pacific Northwest’s mostly highly regarded waters. Sickles recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:

1. Why do you guide where you do?
I pretty much rearranged my life to be here in the Columbia River Gorge, there’s no place like it. In particular, the Deschutes River is an awesome venue with some of the best trout and summer steelhead fishing in the world. Add in a place you can camp out of a boat for a few days in a desert canyon … well you probably get it.

2. What is your favorite fish species?
I like salmon, steelhead and trout equally but I spent 95% of my time chasing steelhead. It never gets old.

3. What is your favorite thing about guiding?
Meeting people from all over the country and learning about where they’re from and what they do there. Teaching people how to cast a spey rod then watching them catch a steelhead on a fly – that’s a pretty cool feeling.

4. What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
That’s a tough one. I really enjoyed my first steelhead camp trip last August. The guys I was around were easy to please and had a really good time from start to finish. It didn’t hurt to have overcast weather for three days in August and some serious fish cooperation. Some of the best fishing I’ve ever seen.

5. What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
I blew up a customer’s rod casting it the other day, that was pretty funny, not really but we all acted like it was funny.


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6. If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and fish would you target?
I’d grab my wife and slide my driftboat in at Trout Creek on the Deschutes during the Salmon Fly hatch last day in May. Trout. I’d be late back to work since it’s a 25 mile float.

7. What are your favorite three flies?
Dry line steelheading,The Lady Caroline. To fish behind a sink tip a plain old marabou tube fly. Trout fishing the infamous possie bugger.

8. What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
My Simms boat bag – my life’s in that box.

9. Do you have any other passions?
Camping out with my wife and our dog Winston. I also like mountain biking when there’s time.

To check out more from Sam Sickles and Steelhead Outfitters, please click here.

Disclosure: Sam Sickles and Steelhead Outfitters is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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