Steelhead question

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by pwoens, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    My old man has been going for 3 years now of solid steelhead fishing with absolutley nothing to show for it, except a ton of frustration. Im sure a few of you can relate so I put out this question to the veterans.

    How many of you run or have ran an indicator for steelhead with a weighted bug instead of a weighted line/sinking head? I was thinking it might be easier for an inexperienced steelheader to run an inidcator off a floating line to a weighted bug with or without split shot to increase the odds of catching a steelhead. This would eliminate the need for the "feel" that it takes to sense these subtle strikes.

    What do you think and what are your experiences? Thanks.

    ~Patrick ><>
     
  2. Now I am not experienced by any means, (4 hooked, 1 landed, all on dries, all in a one week period this summer) and I go every chance I get. I try to match the set-up to the situation. I run an indicator on small water (Tucannon, Pilchuck) and for water that wont produce the best swing, i.e. slow water, pockets with back eddies and narrow slots of good water. That is what I have done, and would love to hear some feedback from the "seasoned vetrans" also as to what they do to get the results that I dont get, yet.
     
  3. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    I have been fishing for steelhead for a number of years now and have been lucky enough to catch more then my share. Most of the steelhead I have hooked have slammed the fly. There was nothing subtle about it. This is one of the reasons I prefer to swing flies for steelhead. The violent strikes this method seems to elicit.

    I don't know what to say that might increase your dad's chances of hooking up. But, I really don't think his lack of hook ups is because of the method he is using.
     
  4. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    Hey Kerry,
    Interesting??? All of the steelhead I have caught have been hooked by "feel", like a hesitation in the line or the slightest bump possible?? All of my steelhead have been late summer runs or winter runs. I have never had a violent take? Even my buddy who runs average of 20 fish a day on the ronde with a baitcasting reel and a pink yarn setup goes by feel as those fish seldom take the fly aggressively??
    Are you fishing the majority of the time on the west side?? Maybe they take more aggressively over there being closer to the salt????? :dunno When I look back at my pre-steelhead times I know I was getting strikes but I didnt know thats what was going on until I actually figured the feel out. I was thinking the indicator might possibly help those that have yet to figure this part out??? I dont know so thats why I posted.
    ~Patrick ><>
     
  5. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    'Trick

    Take him out for summer runs on the 'Chutes or one of the other Columbia River rivers. It is rediculously easy if you hit it right. No need to jig for them. You can still catch 10 to 20 fish a day having the fish come to the fly.
     
  6. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Patrick,
    I spend most of my time over here on the west side but the 1st week of Oct. this year was spent on the Ronde. I had several multi fish days while there mostly swinging flies. And again I would say most of my hook ups were from fairly hard hits. Every once in awhile I would get one where I gotta ask myself is that a fish? Only to lift my rod to find a pissed off steelhead on the end but 95% of the time I knew when they hit right away.

    20 fish per day eh? That is pretty effective. I seen an old guy over there last year that was using a float and jig setup on a baitcaster. He was by far the most effective fisherman there. I watched him come through a hole behind me and get 4 or 5 steelhead where I only got 1. Didn't exactly give me more confidence in my methods if you know what I mean. Oh well. I still prefer to fly fish for steelhead.
     
  7. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    I hear ya on the prefference :thumb

    Ya, the kid is amazing!! He went to college down there so every extra day/weekend was spent on the Ronde for 4 years straight. By far the most knowledgeable I have ever met for that area.


    ~Patrick ><>
     
  8. Peter Pancho

    Peter Pancho Active Member

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    Sorry Patrick your father hasn't hooked into a Steelie in 3 yrs. It took me about 3 yrs to hook into a Steelie legitimately on the swing. Actually I've had only 2 SLAM a fly on the swing like a freight train, both those fish in late summer, all the other steelie takes were suttle or hesitant. I'm sure when the water is a little warmer Steelies are more likely to SLAM or even follow a fly.
    I made the mistake in the beginning by fishing areas blind and "not knowing" really what areas the fish may or are lying. Have you brought your dad to guarantee Steelie holes? Maybe a guided trip with DDickson will end that fishless streak.
    I'm sure that when your dad hooks in, that Steelie will wash all those fishless years away in a matter of seconds, it did for me! Patience does pay off...
    Good luck!

    Peter ><>

    "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of Men" Matthew 4:19
     
  9. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    Definately fishing holes that contain steelhead. I typically pull fish out of the same holes. Just two weekends ago, side by side and I landed two steelhead, so its not a matter of being in fishless holes??

    On another note, I need a few days and I will get back to you on the other issue ;)

    ~Patrick ><>
     
  10. Crump

    Crump Member

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    Come this December I will have completed my first year of officially chasing steelhead with the fly. I have tried almost all methods, swinging flies, dead-drifted, I've indicatored and even used dries. I, by no means am an expert at any one of them, but I think I have done above average. I have had fish take swinging flies that have hit so hard I thought they were going to pop the tippet and had takes so soft, I didn't realize they are on until my line was screaming up stream. So I understand what you are saying about the soft takes. The fish that I have taken with indicator and nymph have been ones that I have swung through first, they just wouldn't move that much for the fly, because of pressure, or whatever reason, they just wouldn't. Once a well presented double nymph rig was used, they would almost always take, the takes were similar to fish on the swing, some hard, violent takes, and others soft and slow.

    Next time you are in a run you know there are fish, set dad up with a stonefly and egg dropper, under an indicator. He should get a hookup, once he has gotten a few with this method, get him one on the swing, and he will see which one is better. I still throw nymphs, but always as a second option.

    How does the weekend after Thanksgiving sound for hitting that spot we talked about? We can get him into a fish there for sure.

    crump
     
  11. Mike Colagrossi

    Mike Colagrossi Whammo!

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    Do you mean using a glo bug under a strike indicator and fishing it through a deep seam??

    Bob L, I will let you take that one :) lol

    Mike
     
  12. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    This is from another old man. I have sometimes the same results as your dad does. It took me a while to catch my first one. It wasn't a monster(21") by any means but it was still a steelhead. But you just keep plugging away and I'm sure that his time will come. I seem to catch mine in the summer time and on dries. I have yet to catch a winter fish but I keep going out there trying.

    And now I'm into the bigger,longer style stick. A 14' St Croix and now I'm using a 13' 8/9 CnD custom. My luck has to change sometime soon. Maybe I should wash the shark repellant off my waders. LOL

    Jim
     
  13. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    >My old man has been going for 3 years now of solid
    >steelhead fishing with absolutley nothing to show for
    >>How many of you run or have ran an indicator for
    >steelhead with a weighted bug instead of a weighted
    >line/sinking head?
    >~Patrick ><>

    Hey Patrick

    until winter try a size 4 or 2 beadhead Kaufmann Stone at the end of a 12 foot leader. You really don't need an indicator with a bug like that and typical steelhead size lines (7 through 9). Just mend to try achieve a dead drift. You don't have to be that precise.

    Winter is tougher, but a lead eye marabou "clouser" in the right colors fished the same way works too.

    As long as you strive for a dead drift (you don't have to achieve it, just keep the bug ticking bottom), and the fly line is in the same position it would be for bottom bouncing trout nymphs, no indicator is needed, and you stand a great chance of hooking up AND seeing the line twitch, halt, or move upstream rapidly!
    :thumb
     
  14. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    When you're swinging flies, it is depth of your fly and speed of the swing that are the crucial elements to productive steelheading. It's much easier to type that on the keyboard than it is to achieve it on the water.
    You will probably speed up your dad's learning curve by setting him up with an "indicator" and nymph rig. You don't really learn anything by not catching fish and this technique will help hook up with some fish. Glo bugs or heavy bugger or egg sucking leaches will do the trick. Make sure his flyline is not dragging the indicator downstream and that his fly of choice is just bouncing along and not hanging up too much.
    After a fish or two he will learn a bit more about exactly where those fish were hanging out and should be more productive with the swing.
    I prefer swinging flies but will do the indicator thing only in water that I know I can't fish effectively with tips.

    Dave
    :thumb
    P.S. If he would prefer to fish tips then I would make sure he's fishing with heavy enough tips to get the fly on the bottom. I think most people who have a tough time flyfishing for steelhead aren't getting their fly deep enough (and slow).
     
  15. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    Insert fishing- vs -snagging debate here.
     
  16. Philster

    Philster Active Member

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    >Insert fishing- vs -snagging debate here.

    Troutman, if you are referring to my post, I can see where you got me wrong as I left out the words "floating fly line" I would never fish, or advocate a 12 foot leader on a sinktip.:eek
     
  17. Joe

    Joe Member

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    I much prefer to fish with a floating line and a fly on or close to the surface, but I think most rivers are now too cold for that to be effective. The Deschutes might be an exception.

    Once the water cools down I think that you have to get the fly down. One way to do this is to use a sink tip with a short leader, but I find it much more fun to use a long leader and a weighted fly.

    Depending on the type of water, you can use an indicator or not.

    In order not to miss subtle takes, I use very sharp #8 light wire hooks. In most cases the fish will hook themselves.

    Joe
     
  18. worldanglr

    worldanglr Member

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    Boy this is a touchy one.

    I moved to Washington a year and a half ago, and up until that point had never steelhead fished. I went fishing about four times for summer runs, swinging, and didn't see any sign of a fish. I was then fortunate enough to meet a few anglers that fish indicators for steelhead and regularly catch 50 fish a season, so naturally I picked there brains and learned there techniques.

    There is no question that fishing under an indicator is a more effective way to fish for steelhead (most of the time), at least from what I've seen. The only reason for this is that when you're indicator fishing, you're fishing for holding fish in a run, whereas when you're swinging, you're usually fishing the tail-out of the pool, and the only steelhead likely to be holding there are either moving, or fresh fish that have just come into the hole. It's a numbers game. The more steelhead that see your fly, the better your odds.

    I chose to learn to intricacies of indicator fishing because, plain and simple, I wanted to catch fish. I can count the number of times I've been steelhead fishing this year on both hands, yet I've landed around 16 of them, all under an indicator, although some using pheasant tails, prince nymphs, and kaufmann's stones. Not bragging, just numbers, I don't do anything that anyone else can't do, and I'd be happy to show you everything I know. I honestly don't believe that the pattern matters as much as putting your fly in front of the fish. If you want to see the statistics for yourself, feel free to go to my web page and read through the last years worth of fishing logs on there.

    Now that I have a general idea of how steelhead work and where they lie, I'm slowly trying to learn the art of swinging. Watch Leland Miyawaki fish a double hander for steelhead on the Snoqualmie, a man who catches twenty something steelies a year, and you'll quickly learn that there is an art to swinging. The guys who go years without catching there first steelhead generally are swinging wrong, they walk down to the river, cast across the pool, swing, and step. Watch some of the spey masters and swinging masters, and you'll learn that in order to catch steelhead on the swing, you have to do more than just step and swing.

    I personally don't perscribe to anything traditional just because it's traditional, I fish for carp and throw indicators on a spey rod. Personally, it's just not my gig, not to say there is anything wrong with it, quite a few of the guys that I hang out with and fish are very traditional. Swinging is like the graduation school of steelhead fishing, to me it's the next level. If you have the persistance to learn how to catch steelhead CONSISTENTLY without ever having caught a steelhead in your life, you're a better man than I. Frankly, I just like to catch fish.

    worldanglr
    http://www.worldanglr.com/
    http://www.patagonia-expedition.org/

    "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau
     
  19. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    Fishing vs, snagging is for people that can't catch steelhead. Everyone I know who can catch the steelhead, isn't so uptight about percieved technique differences. Nobody wants to snag/floss a fish. The question is- can you convince a steelhead to bite? If not, shut up and keep trying. Or just go gear and eggs and quit crying.

    Edit: My bad- I missed the point. Sorry for the thread drift. Was responding to snagging not the topic.
     
  20. Joe

    Joe Member

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    Nailknot,

    I don't know what caused your comments about fishing v. snagging. Please explain.

    Joe
     

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