Why Steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Muskypicker, May 8, 2011.

  1. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,303
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    Depending on when you are going to be there, Jeff Hickman would be an excellent choice. Although I've not fished with him in Oregon, I have fished with him in AK a few times. He is top notch. If I ever were to hire a guide in Oregon for steelhead, he'd be at the top of my list. You can contact him through Larimer's Outfitters.
  2. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    you really need to make some trips up north...those fish are little steelhead, some up to 8lbs and they will kick your ass...kamloops lake fishing produces big fish as well and though stillwater, they will take you deep in your backing..
  3. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    I don't understand your post. Are you saying Clearwater fish are small?
  4. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,612
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    If (when) you catch one, you will have the answer to your question.
  5. James Waggoner Active Member

    Posts: 776
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    To me it's the whole steelhead experience....the passion, the history, the flys, the rods, the tales, the legends, the water and of course the beautiful steelhead. Throw in a pair of hip waders, a sticky roe rag and a bait box and it's just meat harvesting...
  6. Gorgefly Member

    Posts: 465
    Washougal, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I agree with this. I like to swing flies for steel when I get the chance but the whole part of the game where the fly comes into play is just not nearly the same as fishing for trout. No matter how much you want to argue the reality is that the fly doesn't matter that much when it comes to fishing for steel and that is half of the fun for me. I guess it takes some of the mental game away from it for me. I like the feeling of knowing I fooled a trout with an imitation and that isn't usually the case with steelhead.
  7. Abomb Active Member

    Posts: 399
    In the skinny
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    He may not be, but I am!
  8. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    I started fly fishing at age 5, which is 53 years ago in Pennsylvania where I grew up. My father taught me how to fly fish. I caught a lot of trout, pickerel (a smallish pike), largemouth and smallmouth bass, shad, panfish of all sorts, and even carp on a fly in Pennsylvania. I moved to Montana at age 25 and spent 12 wonderful years in trout heaven. I fished many of its rivers, many of its spring creeks, some of its lakes, and many of its small mountain streams all with a fly in those 12 years. I caught very large northern pike (like up to 35lbs), monstrous carp in the Missouri River near Cascade and Great Falls, and so many trout in those 12 years that I honestly don't care if I catch another resident trout. If there are trout in the river, stream, or lake and you present something to them properly (meaning you have decent casting and presentation skills) that looks and behaves like the food they are used to seeing (or match a hatch correctly), catching a good number or trout is fairly easy. Steehead are not like this.

    Carp are also rather easy to catch if you use something that looks like a baitfish from the area they are in and present it to them so it looks and acts like a baitfish (without spooking them by lining them or splashing the water too hard). Carp will attach such a baitfish imitation and you can have a ball hooking and landing large carp (I've caught them on the Missouri up to 20 lbs) until your arm gets sore or you have had your fill of catching them. Steelhead are not like that.

    Northern Pike, Pickerel, Muskies are suckers for a properly presented baitfish of the proper size. Steelhead again aren't like that.

    Largemouth bass are likewise relatively easu to entice into striking a properly presented baitfish, surface popper, deer hair bug, or slider. Smallmouth bass (I used to fish for them on Pennsylvania's Susquahanna River mainstem and north branches) will readily take a properly presented baitfish, large nymph (small ones will take small nymphs, wets, and dries), or large mayfly, caddis, or stonefly imitation in addition to top water popping bugs. Steelhead are not like this.

    Steelhead are not hard to fish for, they are not easy to catch though. They will ignore every fly tossed at them for hours (that is when you can see them and know they are in the run you are fishing) and then for some unknown reason will turn on and take virtually any fly pattern that comes their way. Steelhead will be present in a run for a day or a few weeks, and then they will be gone and none will be in the run. A run will be devoid of fish, and then several will move into the run at the end of the day (if you are there then , you might very well hook several in that evening). Steelhead, unlike resident trout, aren't feeding in fresh water for nourishment, so matching the hatch is a waste of time. Steelhead take a fly (or lure or bait for that matter) for some unknown reason. On a good day, you can hook (and hopefully land) 3,4,....7, or more steelhead; but just as easily, you can go for weeks or months without so much as a grab. Steelhead presentation is deceptively hard. All you need to do is quarter a cast downstream and let it swing across the river. So simple anyone can do it. However, there are a lot of subtleties to the swing: you slow it down here, speed it up there, have it move more downstream than across, make it move more across stream than downstream, etc. But it is only fishing the swing says the trout fisherman. Steelhead will often be found in a lie in the river that requires a rather long cast )sometimes over 100') to reach it, so if a person can't cast an honest 60' with a single-hand rod or an honest 80' with a 2-handed rod, he will often go fishless because he can't reach the fish. And just as often, especially at first light, steelhead will be lying within a few feet of shore in water just deep enough to cover their dorsal fin.

    So why do I spend 98% of my fishing time chasing steelhead? Simple, I love being on the river and chasing a quarry that isn't feeding, that we have no real idea why it takes a fly, and that we often don't even know if it is present in the run being fished. But the rivers steelhead are found in are beautiful and since I don't care how many fish I catch (I got over that after a few years in Montana because I caught so many, as many as a dozen in a single hour), when I do hook a steelhead, it is a supreme pleasure to have him on the end of my line. Besides, as Salmo-g already said, if it was easy, everyone would fish for steelhead.
  9. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,612
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    I did not see this post earlier.

    This statement could not be more true. I quit trout fishing completely for 6 years after my first steelie.

    However that being said, over the past decade I have finally made the separation. Trout will never thrill me like a steelhead, but hiking along skinny water for a shot at a 30" brown gets me going. Anything less than mid 20+" isn't worth my time.

    Steelhead are the #$@*!
  10. Matthew LeBret Active Member

    Posts: 742
    clarkston, wa
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    I am a cutthroat kinda guy. As for the steelie summer runs I will drive past them any day to hike into some good trout water. To have my 7wt and hear the reel scream is a great feeling on a cold day. The main reason I steel fish is because I'm 15-20min away from the river and having my line on the water.
  11. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
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    You use a 7wt on 15 inch cutthroat and drive past 20 lb fish to do so? That's fucked up.
  12. Matthew LeBret Active Member

    Posts: 742
    clarkston, wa
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    :rofl::rofl: thats funny now that I look at my post. I use 7wt for the steelhead. All of my trout lines are 4wt. I do drive past the summer runs on the Clearwater to get to its tribs and fish for 15-20+cutts. Now that I am thinking about it doesn't make any scents but I will keep doing only because I love it.
  13. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
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    when you catch one you'll know