Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by cj6530, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. The others of course, say it best.

    Remember, that even though people who have stelheaded for 30 years will tell you how much better the fishing was back then, because there were more fish, doesn't mean that there are not fish now.

    There are fish in the steelhead rivers, less then before, but they are there.

    Salmo G says it best but i will reiterate. A well swung fly through holding water tells me one of three things. If a fish hits it, it tells me that a "hot" fish was there. If a fish doesn't hit it, tells me that a fish is there and is for some reason not "hot" (going to hit my fly) or more likely, the fish isn't there. then I move. The times to stop all apply of course as he mentioned.

    I am just beginning to seriously fish for steelhead this year after many years of dinking around. I am learning the ropes as you are, but the great thing about steelhead fishing is the river is a great teacher. Learning to read the river and find the spots that will fish well and hold steelhead is the most important and fun part.

    I know that since there are so few steelhead, the learning curve can be slow. Its hard to know what is good water unless you hook up in the water. Just keep fishing the water that swings well, and has a good seam in it, looks especially fishy, or feels especially fishy, and one day you will hook up.
    The experts say that catching steelhead is a function of how much time you spend on the water, when you are on the water, and how much water you cover when you are on the water. after all that fishing, your technique will devope and you will be presenting the fly with confidence.

    Also, it helps to go fishing expecting to find a fish behind every rock. Imagining a river full of fish will affect your level of conidence when presenting the fly. even if this is not the case, there are fish out there.

    Good luck

  2. I don't know how many 30+ inch rainbows you've gotten into but I've been fishing for them for at least 200 days and only stuck one... So I'll stand by my statement, noting that I don't have the money to fly out to Bristol in the peak of the lake run run (which are basically steelhead)...
  3. I have thousands of days of steelhead fishing behind me, as well as thousands...ok more than a thousand, less that 2000...of fish landed, 250-300 in AK, the rest in WA OR CA and BC.

    I am here to tell you that as soon as you think you have them figured out, they do something you haven't seen, or never thought the would do.

    I am also here to tell you that coastal Native steelhead have about as much in common with rainbow trout as bic lighters resemble nuclear reactors. Sure, they will do rainbow-ish stuff every now and then, but for cryin' out loud, they don't even SWIM in the same spots, much less react the same way to offerings.

    As for AK_P_M's comparison to lake-run rainbows, well...he's only a kid and doesn't really know shit. We have been apologizing for him for quite awhile now.

    The 3 things that I have found to be "the Immutable Laws of Steel" are
    1. Be in the right place at the right time
    2.Fish in the right place at the right time
    3.Learn to recognize "the right place, right time" phenomena

    After that, have some confidence in your selection and your skills and never give up.

  4. I would add;

    4. Be prepared for the right place and time when it happens because that is where the majority of new steelhead anglers make big mistakes. Dont hold the line against the cork (this is contrary to earlier advice but it is my personal opinion and holds no more weight than the previous post) if you are a new fly fisherman because quite a few of them completely forget to let go. I have only been guiding a year now and I can think of 5 or 6 times right off the top of my head when I had to actually yell (saying it softly didnt work a single time) at someone to "let go of the line" as the rod was more than doubled over and was at or near the point (past a couple times) of ripping out the hook or breaking the line.

    Just preset your drag enough to drive the hook in without holding the line until you have a few under your belt and don't panic.
  5. O.K. he's a kid. For that sake, his ignorance is nearly excused. You have a lot to learn guy. That fact that you think you already know does not bode well for a successful fishing future. Good luck. :eek:
  6. I'm just saying if you aren't catching fish and the guy upstream of you isn't catching fish, and the guy downstream isn't catching fish and you all are fishing the same way, try something different. Fish to steelhead with all the stealth and presentation as you would a big rainbow sipping dries. Just because they are kinda dumb and hit things that look nothing like anything they eat if you must follow the same fundamentals that apply to a successful trout fishermen to be a successful steelhead fisherman.

    Sorry there's a holier than thou attitude here... I catch a lot of fish and I enjoy it, I'm just trying to share whats been successful for me and my friends. (One of my buddies caught 36 steelhead in 3 days in california treating them like big trout)
  7. Nice try, but that isn't even close to what you said. If you see your error, just admit it; don't try to save your ass by reconstruing things.
  8. AK why dont you just say you should nymph for steelhead instead of beating around the bush and saying "treat them like big rainbow trout" 20 fish in 20 hours good for you. 36 fish in 3 days good for your friend. Saying:

    "Just because steelhead are KINDA DUMB and hit things that look nothing like anything they eat...."

    Refering to steelhead as KINDA DUMB??? shame on you. Kevin
  9. Except for the rank beginner, steelheaders know to concentrate on "holding water," which is a small percentage of most steelhead streams. However, holding water can still come in big chunks. On the Skagit, which I fish a lot, holding water can be several hundred yards long and wider than even a he-man spey caster can cover. And steelhead might be lying anywhere in that area. So it can take hours to properly cover.

    The usual cast, step down and repeat procedure is designed to cope with that challenge. A succession of casts to the same angle, separated by a short move downstream between each cast, presumably shows the fly to every fish within reach. Normally, we step down two-four steps between each cast. (That's sideways, carefully placed steps, which are shorter than a normal walking stride.) The idea is that each swing passes through the visual field of whatever steelhead are there. Obviously, the separation should be shorter in discolored water, and probably in cold, clear water, where a cold-numbed fish may see a fly six feet away, but won't feel like moving that far, even if it's the perfect fly swinging at a perfect pace.

    You can step down between casts, or you can do so while the fly is swinging, if the wading isn't difficult. This latter way lets the fly sink a bit deeper.

    If you're lucky enough to fish a slot that's known to hold steelhead, it makes sense to fish down more deliberately. Try to show your fly in every square foot of the slot or pocket.
  10. Great post Nooksack.:thumb:
  11. CJ
    I learned to steelhead fish from a friend who knows what he is doing. We fished together for two years, he put me on some GOOD water day after day swingig bunny leaches and maribous I DID not catch a fish for two years. Then one day I was fishing alone and then as my purple and black maribou was swinging through a conflence (sp) It happened I was so excited I thought it was an early king but no, it was a 10# summer steelhead I have since caught many a summer and winter steelhead. I dont care what any one says, dont take anyones advice too seriously accept your own. If there is 20 boats in front of you dont worry most people fishing in front of you dont have a clue what the f##k they are doing, Dont be discouraged. On another note, Dont Beleave fishing reports you read on the web they are 99% shit, go with your gut feeling, everyone else can sit at home and tie flies, screw them, If the river you fish is open there is probably steelhead to be had. I hope I dont come off being to abrasive in my first post I just think with all the information avaliable on the net people dont trust their gut instincs as much as they should.
  12. Think about it all fish are kinda dumb, steelhead are smarter than bass smarter than pinks and cutts dumber than browns and permit.

    I guess I pretty much only nymph fish for rainbows... I'm only offering suggestions treating every steelhead like its a very big rainbow is a pretty good idea worst that happens is it doesn't take and you try something else. Assuming you can find one. Maybe I'm offering a different perspective it doesn't mean you all have to jump up and say I'm dumb or don't know shit. I come from a completely different fishing background and culture than most of you but I'm sure that habits I observe in fish transcend political boundaries, and I'm trying to offer some of that perspective to you.

  13. OK, offer noted, but it's not necessary to shove it down our collective throats. Some will accept your ideas, some won't. It's obvious that you believe your own prespective, but that don't mean you will be right in everybody's eyes, and why should you care anyway? So get over it already, and go catch some of those big trout.

  14. Get off the man's back. He is a Red Sox fan for Christ's sake!

    Go Sox,
  15. Damn Straight! I became one this year, myself, in spite of myself.:beer2: Before noon = mochas
  16. United we stand!

    Go Sox,
  17. This was my first full year of winter steelheading.I probably went 20-25 times with no steelhead.I did LDR a silver in Dec. and caught 2 bulls last month.Would the incedental catch of other species indicate I was doing the right thing cause I had the same questions about the cast,swing,step method.Does hitting the same run top to bottom ever result in fish or are steelhead easy to put down.
  18. Much more difficult to putdown than trout. In fact, motor boats and bad casts that slap the water can actually wake steelhead up and get them aggressive by triggering them or getting them to change their lye. I've gone through runs 2, 3,4 times in one day, and hooked them on anyone one of those passes, including the last. Switching up profiles, colors, and tips, as well as slowing down and manipulating your swing can make the difference here, but it’s important you have pretty good confidence that they’re in that run you're obsessed with-- other wise move on.
  19. Mr. Kendrick,

    The Bulls are not indicative of you fishing the right water or the wrong water.
    The Skagit is open for a month more. Go to the Sauk bar. They'll be fishermen ther because it holds fish. Study what the water is like depth speed etc. and watch the fisherman and how they fish it.

    Go Sox,
  20. Don't rush yourself too.


    I would suggest paying attention to the way the fly feels while it is swinging as well.

    You will know when you fly is "low and slow".

    "Low and slow" isn't a feeling or a place, it is a sensation and I feel that sensation right before I hook most steelhead.

    It usually means your fly is swimming around in an underwater "bucket" and that is the place the steelhead hold.

    Note: you may not even be able to tell the difference between a "bucket" and the rest of the run with your eyes. You feel it.

    I usually concentrate on these types of holes on my homewaters because I know where the "buckets" are and they are invisible to most others anglers at first and may not get the attention they deserve.

    Note 2: I hate the word "bucket".

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