1st day steelhead fishing...things I've learned


I hope she likes whitefish
So, I’ve been a long time trout fisherman, but have never tried my hand at big game. This last weekend a buddy and I were blessed with the opportunity to try our hand at it. Here’s some things us newbie steelheaders learned, take heed fellow newbies and laugh it up old timers :thumb::

1. Knotted leaders = lost fish. :(
2. You CAN get arm pump from fishing.
3. Nymphing is a great way to catch steelhead or salmon.
4. There is a HUGE difference between a hooked steelhead and a hooked king…don’t even have to see the fish to know the difference.
5. Trout fishing will never be the same.
6. A 6 wt rod is just fine for steelhead, but an 8 wt is better.
7. Listen to seasoned chrome chasers when they give you guidance on line, your mends will be more effective and you won’t get as tired at the end of the day. :eek:
8. Whatever pattern you choose, fish it with confidence and you’ll be successful.
9. The first fish you hook will make your cheeks hurt….from smiling too much. :D
10. When losing the biggest fish you've ever seen, you can be both happy and extremely sad all at the same time.
11. Did I mention trout fishing won’t be the same….

Thanks for all the information that's thrown around here. I've learned a lot.

(after 10 minutes of this, the bulldogging king took me to school)
At least you got a hook-up Luke. My first time was in Feb this year out on the Hoh and the only thing I learned was that I get a LOT more action trout fishing. Not one hook-up in 3 days...but of course I keep hearing...well that's steelheading. :beathead:

steve s

Active Member
I second the notion that you are lucky that you hooked up on your first time out, it took me years, let me repeat, years before I had my first hook up with a steelhead.
As far as the knowledge that you learned, I would say that nymphing is an effective way to catch steelhead and salmon depending on the water that you are fishing. And a six weight rod is just fine for summer steelheading but get ready to get yer arse handed to you if you hook a nice winter run fish on a six weight.

And yes, trout fishing will never be same until you tangle with some Alaska bows.

Welcome to the wonderful world of steelheading,


Jon Viebrock

Livin down by the river, eating gov'ment cheese...
I'll just assume that you tie flies. Start tying articulated patterns with a stinger hook (Owner is the prefered choice). I fished for two years before my first steelhead hookup, but then I lost the fish. Big long hooks can twist right out of the fishes' mouth. With an Owner stinger, the fish can't get any leverage against you, which lets you use the strength in the butt of your rod to beat the fish.

All patterns can be tied as articulated flies, you just have to use your imagination a little. The leeches are the easiest, spey flies are harder, but you'll get there.

Leave the six weight at home. Particularly as winter gets here. It's just not enough rod unless you're a genius at this. Winter steelhead arrive with chums and kings. You need more rod. Don't be afraid to go with an 8,9, or even 10.


still an authority on nothing
sounds good Luke. :thumb:
That's a lot to learn in one day!

Now, you're allowed one more fish before the long skunk begins. that's lesson twelve...
nice luke. I just went my 1st time (With fly gear) swinging flies at ringold.... all 3 lost...=(

but yes you 11 points are soo sooo soooo very true!

i think 3 hook ups for a newb was nice!

i can't wait for the kick and wenatchee!

pm me that BEUTIful spot!


The Dude Abides
I try and fish with people that are better than me...and then watch them do what they do....it will speak volumes about what you're doing right or wrong