Fishing for steelhead in the sun....

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by JesseC, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 1,029
    WA
    Ratings: +320 / 0
    My first time out on the Hoh It was sunny, warm, windy and clear. I threw the biggest fly I had, which was a fly I actually tied for Pike, on a Saltwater hook no less. I threw it because it was the biggest baitfish pattern I had and I just felt like fishing something huge. It was long, tied with white and gray Icelandic Sheep hair, silver Chrystal flash and big red lead eyes and it had a red cross cut rabbit strip for a collar. Totally contrary to what anyone I know would throw for a Steelhead, but I had to. So I cast up from a pool and let the current drop my fly from a riffle into the pool (at the head), I wanted to get down deep....aaaaand, plunge it went, 1 one thousand, 2 etc etc and then I started stripping (my fly ;)), as I saw that sucker come up glistening in the sun, this friggin' steelhead ambushed it from below, boom! Fish on! I saw the whole thing. Sun of a gun was huge, started yelling at my buddy to get him over with the net, hassle, hustle, tussle tussle. Brought him in, released that sucker and off he was. I was freakin' out, hell my heart nearly stopped when I saw the ambush. Needless to say, we talked about it for years. Weather conditions never stop me from fishing, and my tactics depend more on what I feel like doing than adjusting to conditions. I throw weird junk out there just to see what will happen... I just can't help it. I fish whatever I feel like fishing, most of the time it's experimental. The way I see it is that fish are predators, If you can get them interested in your offering they will smack it, you just have to be where they are and that is the challenge. In this case I don't think that fish was able to resist the undulating action of the Icelandic sheep hair, that stuff rules! :D

    Anyhow, point being, sun or no sun, they need to eat and will if they are there and you bring it right.
    JesseC and plaegreid like this.
  2. Shad Active Member

    Posts: 90
    Elma, WA
    Ratings: +70 / 0
    There are some colors that are just plain good colors. Black, purple (any shade), royal blue, and red make my list. Those colors are highly visible in colored water and subtle in clear water, so in my mind, they solve both sides of the water conditions argument. Anytime there is a doubt, I default to one of those colors. Pink's usually good, too, but especially in clear water. That said, in colored water, I usually like to mix in chartreuse and/or bright orange for contrast and added visibility.

    I don't think this is an absolute, but I do think there's some credence to the idea that steelhead get increasingly "trouty" with more time in the river, and they start to favor more subtle colors and presentations. It seems like fresh fish will eat just about anything if given half a chance. Whatever you fish, it's probably wise not to think the reason for slow or dead action is your fly. There are so many factors we can't control at work when a fish decides whether or not to eat that you probably do well to use something you are confident in fishing until you have a good reason to do otherwise.
  3. Evan Virnoche Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    straight to the deep slots with a yarnie and bead
  4. plaegreid Saved by the buoyancy of citrus

    Posts: 605
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +733 / 0

    Trailed behind a squidro.
    NateTreat likes this.
  5. Evan Virnoche Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i don't feel its proper edicate to trail a bead and yarn with a squidro. A squidro is not a true purist dead drift pattern
    Alexander and Chawhee like this.
  6. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,567
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +322 / 0
    Norcal after sept 15th.. Bare wading with sandals and a cooler full of beer. It's 85-100 degrees every day..

    Copper is my go to color in the sun.
    Lex and Pat Lat like this.
  7. Jim Kerr Active Member

    Posts: 703
    Forks Wa
    Ratings: +145 / 0
    SOP,
    Red,yes but I would say....over ripe tomato.
    Jesse, In glacial water, small. Like a size 6, and sparse. In clear water I don't really care, just get where the boats aren't. (yes, there are such places).
    Shad, we should go spring catching soon, maybe a walk in.
    JesseC likes this.
  8. NateTreat Banned or Parked

    Posts: 60
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    Orange. Big and fluffy. It's never let me down in the summer. Just find somewhere where the fish haven't been trampled.
  9. Klickrolf Active Member

    Posts: 595
    Klickitat, Washington
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    Since it's no longer exclusively about winter fish I'll throw out a couple opinions. Sun and steelhead, or any scaled riverine inhabitant for that matter, don't like bright sun in their eyes...do you? Sun location and angle have a huge impact. If the sun is directly behind your fly the fish has to look into the bright. All flies are black in this instance and the fish don't really want to concentrate on it because it's in the bright spot. Once the sun moves over the top or to the side things change. If the fish isn't looking directly into the sun when you're swinging you'll have a much better chance at gaining attention to your fly, suppose it applies to beads and nymphs under a bobber too. I don't believe fly color has anything to do with catching fish in most situations.

    Orange and spawning fish change everything though.
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  10. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 408
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    Another vote for red.. or red and purple.
  11. jake-e-boy Banned or Parked

    Posts: 507
    Ratings: +226 / 0
    like so?


    edit: at about 1:13 you can see the fly
  12. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,138
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +500 / 1
    I can't wait to see all the red flies dangling from everyone's rods on the first sunny day of June. It'll be just like the prom dress hatch after skagit master 2 came out :)

    Here's a sunny day fly that worked out for me this year. The pic was a few moments after she jumped a chrome skagit hen midday out in the boils. White/orange barred rhea hackled 3 turns, couple turns of a soft orange marabou (not hot orange more shrimpy orange), with a white spun fox bump, and some mixed pearl Krystal flash and 2-3 pieces of mirrored Krinkle flash.

    This style of bug in general, really breathy and translucent, has some magic for me in the sun for winter fish. Scaled down and muted further works well for runoff summer runs. I fish black 90% of the time for summers regardless of sun or not and bat clean up with an oddball that's too hot for the web.

    I like fishing any chance I can get, the sun doesn't bother me.

    Attached Files:

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  13. jake-e-boy Banned or Parked

    Posts: 507
    Ratings: +226 / 0
    my box only has black in it... seems to work regardless of what the sun is or isn't doing
  14. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,987
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +756 / 0
    Well, I took all this advice on a four day fishing trip.... in the sun of course, and got skunked. Not just skunked, but skunked super hard.... like, in the face hard.

    First run of the trip, last cast of the run... WHAAAAMMOOPPPPP. "Oh excellent, this trip is going to be amazing". It was on maybe 30 seconds... enough to run upstream 20ft to absolve my questioning mind of a log hook-up.

    That was the last indication of a fish in the river for the next three days.

    Well, until we got back to the car.... and we got to see some absolutely pathetic scum sucking bastards pull a bright native fish out of a really "crummy" looking run.

    Yes, he was using a red fly.

    So, F U guys. Leave me alone too, i'm still working through some post skunking sanity issues. It took me a month of rocking in a corner to even post this.
    plaegreid and CLO like this.
  15. Darthmonkey Active Member

    Posts: 196
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +149 / 0

    Timmy, if you want I'll still buy you an ice cream cone even if you struck out in the 9th inning, lost the game and Becky likes Johnny now because he has a trophy and you don't. Losers can be winners too Timmy. Mommy and Daddy still love you. You're our little gimpy champ!