Is the McKenzie River Fly Fishing Only?

The McKenzie River is a great destination for fly fishermen looking to catch steelhead, salmon and trout. The McKenzie River has been the mainstay of Oregon’s fly fishing community since the late 19th century, and it continues to draw in anglers from around the world.

The river is known for its variety of fish species, but it is most famous for its steelhead runs.

The McKenzie River has a wide range of water types ranging from slow moving pools to fast flowing riffles. Anglers can find different types of fish in each section, making it important to understand how to best approach the different areas. In general, anglers should focus on Targeting steelhead during their runs, which occur in the spring and fall.

Fly fishing on the McKenzie River requires patience and skill as the fish are often wary of lures or bait. Anglers should use light tackle with small flies or nymphs that resemble natural food sources found in the river. Many anglers also use streamers or wet flies when fishing for steelhead and other species.

In addition to fly fishing on the McKenzie River, there is also good opportunity for spin casting or baitcasting. Spin fishermen will find success using lures such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. Baitcasters should use live bait such as worms or shrimp.


The McKenzie River is an excellent destination for fly fishing and other types of angling. While fly fishing is certainly popular on this river, there are also good opportunities for spin fishers and baitcasters who are willing to put in the effort.

So while fly fishing may be the preferred method on many rivers, it is certainly not exclusively so at the McKenzie River – making it an ideal spot for all types of anglers.

Photo of author

Daniel Bennet