Winter steelhead on a fly??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by sandspanker, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. sandspanker Member

    Posts: 314
    Camas
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Well I bought a 9wt single hand rod,mid arbor reel a few years ago. Then got frustrated by not catching anything. Went to jig fishing and started catching steelhead. (bobber jigs not snagging jigs) I tie jigs and enjoy it very much so. But am wanting to break the cherry on my fly rod. What are some good things to do. I have a river in mind come xmas time. Took a buddy there last year and he caught his frist and 2nd in a hr of each other on jigs. So please shed some light for me and help me break the cherry!!!!!!!! LOL
  2. Dustin Bise Active Member

    Posts: 3,089
    509
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    tie some Egg Sucking Leaches and drift them under a thingamabobber same way as u would with gear. get a natural drift within the strike zone and it might be ur lucky day.
  3. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,400
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,357 / 9
    ? Fish the jigs ?
  4. Kelly Michelsen Active Member

    Posts: 163
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    Don't overthink it...a natural dead drift with a nymph setup...or the swing method, and you don't have to necessarialy use large nymph patterns...ask the local guides...I don't usally use anything larger than a size 10 most of the time 12 to 14 buggy looking Bh pheasant tail
    or Bh lightningbug,Goodluck and tightlines!
    Flyfisher121
  5. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Sandspanker, if you are fishing for winter steelhead (not summer steelhead during the winter months) than I would avoid using tiny little nymphs like others have suggested. Often times the rivers are up in the winter and can be a little off color.

    Also since you are asking about flyfishing I am assuming you are talking about swinging for them and not trying to adapt your jig technique to a fly rod? I could be wrong here.

    Generally early in the season when the water is the coldest I uses the brightest flies. Pink, Purple, Blue. Rabbit strip leeches with dumbbell eyes are relatively easy to tie and wont cause your heart to break if you loose them on a snag. If I were you I would buy some T-14 and make some tips with it. A 12 ft. tip and an 8 foot tip should swing most any of the water you are encountering. If your fly-line came with other tips, keep them too to fish some of the softer inside pockets. Later in the season I tend to go a little smaller (but still at least 2 inches long) and use more drab colors. Black, Olive, Dark purple. Swinging for winter steelhead will not be as effective as your gear rod was for them. If you get one good grab in a day that is a success. Good luck. Feel free to PM if you have questions.
  6. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    Ryan has given you some solid advice. The two routes most people take are 1) swing flies for steelhead as ryan has described, or 2) use their flyrods to jig fish with pink worms, eggs/corkies and other types of gear typically associated with spinning rods. It is all up to your personal preference which route you go, although if you already have the gear fishing dialed with your gear rod, I don't really see the point in doing it with a flyrod, so I would vote for route number 1.
  7. sandspanker Member

    Posts: 314
    Camas
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    this is what I'm looking for. Thanks. bobber jig fishing in my mind isn't fly fishing. Just because you have a fly rod in your hand doesn't mean you are fly fishing. !!!!! Thanks again Ryan.

    Please keep them coming
  8. Don Freeman Freeman

    Posts: 1,253
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +206 / 0
    If you really want to catch one, hire Jim Kerr and thumb your nose at the learning curve.
  9. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
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    Doesn't mean it's not fun
  10. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
    Washington
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    Tie your jigs without or very lightly weighted and swing those.

    BTW what are snagging jigs?
  11. sandspanker Member

    Posts: 314
    Camas
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  12. sandspanker Member

    Posts: 314
    Camas
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Very true I love bobber fishing. And don't plan on stopping my bait,spinner,jig,plug fishing for steelhead. But I have this fly rod that keeps catching my eye when I go fishing that I would like to try again. Who knows maybe do it more then a little once I start having success with it. Plus there is a good river near me that has a good fly only section. :)
  13. stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

    Posts: 1,567
    Carlsbad, CA
    Ratings: +297 / 0
    I went two years w/o catching a winter steelhead on the fly when I was starting out. Then I started using heavier sink tips, bigger flies, and started getting success. While it might not be the most effective way to winter fish, it sure is the most exciting.
    I do, however, think its an extremely effective way to take summer fish, and I have outfished gear heads many times in the summer. That ALWAYS makes me smile. I remember fishing Reiter in '98. The water was LOOOOOOOW and the fish were stacked up. No gear heads had any luck, and I tied on a size 8 maroon emu bugger,dry line with a ten foot leader, 4 fish. A guy below me actually started tossing rocks up into where I was fishing to scare fish down to him. Keep at it! If you keep going back to your gear, you won't get the experience you need to winter fish effectively on your fly. The elbow jerking, wrist twisting slam you get on the swing is so amazing, especially compared to just watching a bobber drop below the surface.
  14. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,948
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    I don't know how big, fast, or deep the river you have an eye on is, but we used to manage winter steelheading with 8-10 weight rods. A 10-15 foot, fast sinking tip line was standard equipment. Occasionally we used a floating line with longer leader for shallower water; but one way or another, the fly had to be presented near the bottom.

    Then spey rods were rediscovered, and winter steelheading got more interesting and productive; also a lot more complicated and expensive. You should spend at least a winter or two fishing with your 9-weight single hand rod. In the meanwhile, pay attention to any spey fishers you meet on the river. Ask them questions - not too many.
  15. Jake Bannon nymphs for steelhead....

    Posts: 667
    puget sound
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I was in your same position a few years ago sandspanker. Wasnt happy with success rates with my fly rod even though I did actually get a few, so went back to float and jig and then caught many fish. Then that started not doing anything for me so....I went out and bought a centerpin and have been stoked since. :thumb:
  16. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,476
    Your City ,State
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    Sandspanker,

    If you already know you can catch steelhead on jigs and bobbers, it's only going to be worth your while to fly fish for them if you decide that you don't really "need" to catch a steelhead. If you really are past that, then you can be on your way. You already know everything you need to except perhaps making a good wet fly swing presentation. Read up on it; several books describe it, and there was a really good thread on this site a year or two ago that covered the topic better than I've ever read anywhere else. Learn to make that presentation, low and slow, and edit the holding water you choose to fish to that which is well suited to the method. Good luck.

    Sg
  17. Mark Moore Just a Member

    Posts: 734
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Ratings: +66 / 0
    Best advise, Quit Now and put the money in your 401k....wait, never mind, just go fish.