Anchored Ep. 198: Fishing for Steelhead with Mia and Marty Sheppard

Learn how to winter steelhead
Table of Contents

Anchored Podcast:

You may know of Mia and Marty Sheppard from Little Creek Outfitters in Oregon since they are well known as amazing steelhead guides throughout the Pacific Northwest. On this episode of Anchored, they share their story and discuss fishing out bad casts, whether to fish the colour red, how steelhead use their mouths to feel, and holding soft loops. You’ll be inspired by their partnership and their passion for the outdoors.

If you are ready to learn more about fishing for steelhead, don’t miss this interview with Mia and Marty Sheppard, and when you’re done listening, check out their online Intro to Winter Steelhead Masterclass on Anchored Outdoors. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:49] A bit about Mia and Marty’s background
  • [11:25] Mia fished commercially in Alaska
  • [17:02] How Mia and Marty met
  • [21:08] How Marty got started guiding
  • [34:48] Mia’s Spey casting career
  • [43:25] Their plans for the future
  • [55:33] Marty’s advice for fishing out bad casts
  • [1:00:31] Why plastic tubes are better than metal tubes
  • [1:03:11] Marty explains soft loops
  • [1:10:10] The relationship between the color of the fly and the weather conditions
  • [1:18:29] How understanding fish’s lateral line can help you fish
  • [1:6:28] How to pattern steelhead

Mia and Marty have always lived a life connected with the water

Marty grew up fishing on the banks of the Sandy River in Oregon and even caught his first steelhead at the age of 5. His dad was a terrific mentor teaching him river etiquette and giving him a refreshing perspective on fishing with others and managing various angler personalities. 

Mia grew up chasing trout in Tennessee and hiking the Smoky Mountains. She was an avid snowboarder and worked runs all over the Pacific Northwest which is where she met Marty. 

Mia always had a deep connection to the water but never considered guiding until Marty bought Little Creek Outfitters. With her background in the outdoors, from being a snowboard instructor to commercial fishing in Alaska to studying hydrology in college, guiding was a natural fit. 

How Spey casting landed Mia a championship and more fish

After the birth of their daughter, Mia found a new enthusiasm for fishing outside of guiding. After learning about the Spey-o-Rama spey casting tournament in San Francisco her competitive drive was piqued, so she began to practice casting with her daughter on her back. 

Enrolling in the tournament led her to improve her casting skills and she ended up placing 4th her first year competing. This impressive finish only motivated her to refine her skills further. With practice and Marty’s coaching, Mia won the tournament in only her second year of competing. She was thrilled to discover that with her improved casting skills she landed more fish.

Bad casts don’t catch fish–they scare fish

Marty is an advocate of better casting. He argues that a bad cast effectively turns the fish away since it sweeps through at unpredictable speeds and depths. 

Since anything in nature that eats does so with predictability, it is important to make casts predictable. When the steelhead can predict where the fly is going to land and the speed at which it will land, the chances of catching the fish improve. When the cast turns over and lands tight at the proper angle it calls the fish. Marty has seen that the most successful anglers in his boat are the most consistent casters.

Learn why steelhead prefer plastic tubes, how to hold a soft loop, and the relationship between the color of the fly and the water conditions by listening to this interview with expert steelhead guides, Mia and Marty Sheppard.

Connect with Mia and Marty Sheppard

Connect with Anchored

Picture of Anchored Outdoors

Anchored Outdoors

Anchored Outdoors is an ever-growing network of fly fishing experts who’ve been brought together by podcaster and fellow outdoorswoman, April Vokey.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related Stories

Clint Goyette, a seasoned competitor in the Canadian National Fly Fishing Championships, takes us through the step-by-step process of setting up your nymphing leader for optimal results.
In this episode of Anchored, we discuss Dayle’s background and teaching philosophy. We cover his journey from aspiring historian to fly fishing guide, his involvement in various physical activities, and his emphasis on perseverance and positivity in teaching.
In today’s article, we're tapping into the expertise of Kevin Feenstra to bring you a guide that breaks down the different types of baitfish and shows you how to match your streamers effectively.