Where do steelhead hold?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by kodiaksalmon, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

    Posts: 946
    Muskie country!
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    Yes, dumb question I know, but I ask because for what little steelhead fishing there is on the Kodiak road system, and thus what little knowledge I have about them, the talk and the printed info on them up there was that salmon would hold in pools, and steelhead held in runs and riffles. And in the late Anthony Route's book, Flyfishing Alaska he says just that. Down here, folks talk about them holding in pools. Does it have to do with water temp? Fishing the Lyre tonight, the water temp was 63 degrees. So warm I zipped off my pant legs and waded barefoot. Do they hold in pools to find cooler water?

    Which brings me to a water temp question, at what temps are they most active in?

    What about cutts?

    Thanks for humoring me.

    Jeff
  2. Jim Jones flytosser

    Posts: 575
    Woodinville, WA
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    I think the generally accepted answer for water temps is around 58/59 degrees is optimal. (If I am remembering right).

    Generally, when you are thinking about steelhead holding water you are probably more interested in deeper runs rather than pools. It has been my experience that steelhead don't generally like to hold in glassy pools. They like to have some cover, whether it's overhanging willows or broken water surface.

    Jim
  3. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,648
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Jeff, I'm no expert, but I think maybe any steelhead in low/warm water conditions might be holding in aerated water, such as pocket water in riffles, or any holding water in or below riffles or plunges, although in the coolness of the early morning they may be in deeper, slower runs and pools in smaller streams like the Lyre.
    I remember the one I caught there in the summer of '65 was from a corner hole under some overhanging trees a few bends below the falls.
    I myself was recently advised, when asking a similar question about summer-runs in the Sol Duc, to fish the deeper runs, seams, and tailouts of pools early, and then fish the aerated pocket water in the riffles after the sun hit the water.

    Cutthroat might be found in the deeper pools and deeper cutbank holes, often under low, overhanging trees and often hiding in woody stucture like rootwads and downed trees or around submerged logs. They might dash out of their cover and grab your fly, but the closer you put it right in there without getting snagged up, the better. Count on getting snagged and losing some flies.
    In some of the bigger pools, they might be found just above the tailout, where the water just begins to pick up speed as the bottom gets shallower, or near the more aerated water at the head end. But then again, they can be on the prowl or hiding anywhere in the pool. You probably won't find them in shallow riffles or pocket water out in the open.

    Its drizzling on the coast now...Woo Hoo! I'm going cutthroat fishing tomorrow!
    I just got word today of where some "bluebacks" are being caught. Double WooHoo! :D

    Jimbo
  4. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,208
    Eagle River, Alaska
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    John Shewy when he lectured at an AFF meeting decribed the perfect steelhead run as waist deep and walking speed. Think about where rainbows hold, little pockets along the bank ect behind rocks. Fish for kodiak steelhead like you fish for rainbows and you should do fine. Note that dollies like a bit slower water then rainbows. I like runs where I can fish Nymph/ indicator style and reach the bottom and not make too many mends to keep a dead drift. Good luck
  5. kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

    Posts: 946
    Muskie country!
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    I'm familiar with trout holding spots, and for the Kodiak steelhead that usually worked somewhat OK. But here, everything I've heard is that they hold in the pools, which is opposite of how I've fished for them for the past several years. And I'd guess that could be attributed to cooler water temps, and no (or at least fewer) salmon to contend with, like they have to contend with in AK.

    Jeff
  6. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,958
    Wenatchee, Washington
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    I think steelhead will hold in deep pools; I see gear guys fishing for them there. However, deep pools aren't conducive to flyfishing, so you don't see many flyfishermen in them. Although I usually look for 4-6 foot deep water that moves at walking speed, there are a couple of other considerations. I've found that the steelhead will hold in faster, more aerated water when the temps are up. Also, you're looking for places where steelhead can rest, thus the term "holding water." I've found fish in fast slots w/ very quiet shoulders. The fly swings through very fast until it hits the quiet water and then virtually dies. This isn't classic fly water, but it holds fish. I've also seen guys fish faster water that is very bouldery, again providing places to rest. The bottom line is that the steelhead need water that offers protection from predators and doesn't require them to exert too much energy.
  7. DLoop Creating memories one cast at a time

    Posts: 226
    Washington.
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    I can answer this

    Where do steelhead hold?

    In places where I am NOT fishing an any given day :(
  8. Skagit Angler I miss Ed's Sports

    Posts: 51
    North Puget Sound
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    British Columbia.
  9. Stephen Rice Senior Member

    Posts: 1,479
    Wasilla, Alaska
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    Well down here on the Washougal they will hold up in Deep Pools "only" because they can't get up stream. the area I am thinking about is too shallow for them to cross so they will hold up in Pools waiting for the water to rise so they can continue on there journey. I Don't suggest fishing for them there and like everybody says there are usually Bait Chukkers there. Just seems a little unsportsman like trying to snag a oxygen deprived Steelie ! :eek:
  10. kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

    Posts: 946
    Muskie country!
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    I was thinking about that as well. What the effects would be from pulling a fish out of deep water that's 55 degrees, into the water I'm standing in, which is 64. Might be a bit of a shock to 'em.

    Jeff
  11. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,895
    Cascadia
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    Where do steelhead hold?
    In our dreams, mostly.
  12. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
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    The waist deep and walking speed current rule is an awesome standard to start with. My experience is that where steelhead hold depends on if salmon are in the river. If they are, the steelhead push up into the faster water. You wouldn't believe some of the skinny/fast water that my brother and I pulled fish out of last year. If the salmon are gone and the fish are beginning to look for holding water for the winter then the deeper pools are certainly going to have fish in them. The waist deep, walking speed water is almost always a good bet except during the winter months so if you can find that water then you are fishing good water.
  13. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Dillon, Mt
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  14. kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

    Posts: 946
    Muskie country!
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    Not standing on this big slab in ankle deep water! :cool:

    Jeff

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