Clearwater Steelhead Hosted Trip

above: Guide Whitney Gould preparing to release a wild Steelhead caught by Terry Armstrong.

This fall Headhunters will be hosting two different Steelhead fly fishing trips to Idaho’s legendary Clearwater River with guides Tracy Allen, Whitney Gould and Zack Williams. Clearwater Steelhead are among the largest summer run fish in the lower 48, and that is the ultimate goal. But along the way you will receive some incredible on-water spey casting instruction from some of the best in the region. We are touting this as a Steelhead Spey School and Guided Fishing Trip. Rest assured, you’ll be fishing the entire time. No grass casting, demonstrations or power-point presentations. Tracy, Whitney and Zach are full time fishing guides and they will be working there butts off to get you into fish.

If you’re looking to improve your casting technique you’ll have 3 excellent instructors, all of whom bring different casting styles and teaching techniques to the conversation. And as Clearwater guides, they fish and work in a “big ballpark”. Even at low autumn flows, the Clearwater can force you find every inch of distance in your spey cast, and this threesome can help you find those extra feet. Expect instruction to revolve around long casts and floating lines using Scandi and mid-belly techniques.

As for the fishing, the Clearwater is known for many things, but being easy isn’t one of them. It’s a difficult and demanding place to catch fish, and any encounter with a Steelhead is typically considered a success. But the fish are there, and they can run large. Many consider the Clearwater to be one of the birthplaces of floating line Steelhead angling, using techniques and flies based on classic Atlantic Salmon fishing. If you like fishing for Steelhead on or near the surface, you’ll love the Clearwater.

Accommodations are clean, simple and affordable. Because of this we are booking this as a “single-occupancy” trip. Each guest will have his or her own room, and you do not need to find a second to go with you. Most anglers will probably schedule a day or 3 after the trip, and continue exploring the Clearwater on their own. You can also cross the border into Washington and be casting on the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers in an hour or less.

above: Sara Roholt waiting for a pull in the Glide.


We threw together a small trip last year to try this out. Mark and Ben hosted three anglers for three days with Tracy and Whitney. Fishing was tough, and we knew that going in. As many of you probably know, the upper Columbia Steelhead run was less than grim last year. While fishing was super tough, a few fish were encountered including the very nice fish, pictured above, caught by one of our favorite customers Terry Armstrong of Great Falls.

I’ve had a chance to debrief a couple of the guests, and despite the tough fishing, they thought the instruction, commeraderie and venue were more than worth it. Attendee Jim Brandley – who does a fair bit of two-handed fishing around here – said he learned and improved substantially in 3 days. He was also impressed with how hard these guides work (well after dark) and stated he needed a rest after day 3. Too much fishing. What?!


Day 1: Meet at the hotel in Lewiston, ID at 6-10pm.

You will be responsible for transportation to our meeting spot, a modest “steelhead-bum” hotel in Lewiston, ID. We will be hosting a cocktail/meet & greet evening while waiting for everyone to arrive. If you arrive in Lewiston early enough you could get out and do a little fishing beforehand. Make sure and have your fishing license all arranged, rod strung and gear prepped for the following morning.

Day 2: Guides will pick us up at hotel early am. Fish all day, and the guides will provide lunch. We will likely eat dinner as a group (unless you get ditched for bad behavior), but you will be responsible for meals.

Day 3: Repeat

Day 4: Final day of fishing. After fishing, dinner will be hosted by Headhunters at a local eatery. Hopefully we will be telling stories and celebrating a successful fishing trip. We will be getting off the water too late for anyone to drive or fly home.

Day 5: Early morning swing on your own, or with part of the crew? Then fly or drive back to the real world.


WHERE: Lewiston, Idaho  |  Google Map  |  Lewiston-New Perce County Regional Airport (LWS) (also: Pulllman-Moscow Regional Airport PUW – 45 min., Spokane International Airport GEG – 2 hrs.) If you fly into Lewiston, Id, we can transport you to the hotel.


  • Trip 1: September 11-15 (fishing 12,13,14)
  • Trip 2: October 2-6 (fishing 3,4,5)

GROUP SIZE:  6 anglers – This is sold as a single occupancy trip. Each guest will have his or her own room.

PRICE: $1225

Booking/Cancellation policy: 50% required upon booking. Balance due 30 days prior to trip. Call the shop for more details.


  • 4 nights lodging/3 days fishing
  • Guides
  • Lodging (single occupancy!)
  • First evening meet and greet, cocktails, appetizers
  • Daily transportation
  • Final night celebratory dinner
  • Special Gift from Headhunters (hint: you’ll need them on this trip and you tie them on)


  • Idaho Fishing License and Steelhead Card.
  • Waders and Rain jacket.
  • Water resistant gear bag for boat.
  • Rod, reel, line, terminal tackle and flies.


Wading staff and/or cleats or cleated boots! This is pretty much a “must-have”…

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  • Terry Armstrong
    February 6, 2017 4:30 pm

    I booked a spot on the October trip and am really looking forward to getting back to the clearwater. I had an incredible time with you guys last year and expect this year to be even better. I am so glad you guys decided to do this again. I was with Whitney all three days and was vary impressed with her as a guide. I think she was more concerned with me getting into fish than I was. She definitely busted her tail to make it happen. She is one tough lady. Can’t agree more with the need for a staff and I will definitely bring cleated boots this year. I would also strongly recommend dressing in layers as it can go from damn cold in the morning to tee shirt weather in the afternoon and back to cold in the evening when the sun is obscured by clouds and/or canyon walls. Also I recommend a good supply of scotch and cigars but that’s just the way I roll. I have done several DIY trips to the clearwater before going on last years trip, but this was by far my favorite trip, because of the great group that I was with. As I once read every fisherman’s dream is a big fish with witnesses. I can’t think of a better way to go for someone who is considering giving the clearwater a try. Wish This would have been an option for me when I first started fishing the clearwater.

  • Terry Armstrong
    February 6, 2017 4:32 pm

    Oh and thanks for the kind words. You guys are the best.

  • Scotch and cigars are great but you gotta have snacks. Better yet, share the boat with Snackman for smoked salmon, pringles, beef jerky in an array of assortments, cheese, crackers, and I think we even had gummy bears. It’s all needed to sustain the fun during the full day of fishing…….dawn to dusk!

  • Regrettably, Washington, Idaho and Oregon are anticipating the worst run on record and in fact, contemplating shutting down the season if the early season Bonneville counts don’t improve.

    Don’t shoot the messenger….

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