1000 casts my A$$!!!

#17
the water i fish is productive for other fish (salmon, trout) so i would assume it would be for steelies. in my area it's just a numbers game really with the returns we get
 
#19
The best fishermen I know for steelhead or otherwise are humble people that are willing to admit there is always more to learn and willing to let the river teach them as well as anyone they meet along the way. Steelhead are a long journey, fish without ego and learn from success and failure equally. My motto anyways. It's not easy especially without guidance but the lessons learned become more valuable IMO because you start to piece together the "why" which above all else is probably most important. Someone can take you to the box, give you the right fly and sink tip and tell you where to cast and you may catch the fish... But without arriving there yourself you'll never understand "why."

All of this from a guy who doesn't know shit Btw.
 

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
#21
The new wife was just telling me, "you must be getting the hang of this fishing for steelhead, because you catch something just about every time you go now".

I'm going to have to start bringing home some hatchery fish though or she'll start thinking I have a girlfriend that likes to meet me at 5:00 am on Saturday mornings.
 
#23
There is one other point to add to this discussion, confidence. Its a weird mojo thing many threads talk about, but confidence is really key.

I just went on my last hurrah fishing trip before moving to MN. I found a nice run and was swinging with confidence and focus. Ironically I was thinking " there's got to be a fish in this run" when BAM fish on. It couldn't have been seconds between thinking it and fish on. It was a hot summer fish that charged way into my backing. It renewed in my mind why we chase these fish with fly rods with such low probability of success. 1000 casts...yeah right. I will do 1000 casts in a day and I don't expect to catch a fish on every trip.

The other thing with success is learning to read water and what is productive water. I find myself fishing productive water with more focus and a lot more carefully. I still explore new water but begin to recognize when I think my fly is not being presented well and move on. So a high percentage of my 1000 casts are in high quality water

Another good point is try fishing with a skater on a floating line to learn about presentation and how your fly will behave. I think most people don't pay enough attention when casting sink tips.

Joe
 
#24
is there any good reads on productive water, focusing on steelhead? i've got to believe they hold in the same fishy water other fish do.... i don't really expect to catch everytime or 1000 casts just kind of started the thread for some good advice and to stir the pot :D
 
#25
Good reads? Not in my opinion. Tons of books talk about it. None do it well enough. Heck I remember laughing to myself as one spey fishing pundit describes that you can find steelhead in the riffle heads of runs, the heart of the runs, and in the tailouts. Geeze, he described the repeating anatomy of the entire river. I suspect most writers have fished so long, those things that have become intuitive or obvious are not obvious to beginners and it never gets translated. To say you can find steelhead in 3-6 ft of walking speed water is not very detailed, huh.

The common refrain on this site is you got to do your time, and I agree with this. You say that they" hold in the same fishy water as other fish". That is only part of the puzzle. You must also consider what type of water you can present a fly well. There are places gear guys can fish well that fly guys can't.

Dec Hogan's book does an OK job. Probably the best this egghead has read, and I have read most. Look at pictures, videos and tv shows showing folks catching steelhead and pay particular attention to the characteristics of the water. Once you begin catching fish, you begin to recognize water that is worth focusing on. As you get more experience, you find subtle differences that you pay attention to even more. Its this journey of learning that most folks think is the fun part and why the refrain of doing your time. If you can afford it, hire a guide to shorten the learning curve.

Joe
 

Joepa

Joe from PA
#26
Good reads? Not in my opinion. Tons of books talk about it. None do it well enough. Heck I remember laughing to myself as one spey fishing pundit describes that you can find steelhead in the riffle heads of runs, the heart of the runs, and in the tailouts. Geeze, he described the repeating anatomy of the entire river. I suspect most writers have fished so long, those things that have become intuitive or obvious are not obvious to beginners and it never gets translated. To say you can find steelhead in 3-6 ft of walking speed water is not very detailed, huh.

The common refrain on this site is you got to do your time, and I agree with this. You say that they" hold in the same fishy water as other fish". That is only part of the puzzle. You must also consider what type of water you can present a fly well. There are places gear guys can fish well that fly guys can't.

Dec Hogan's book does an OK job. Probably the best this egghead has read, and I have read most. Look at pictures, videos and tv shows showing folks catching steelhead and pay particular attention to the characteristics of the water. Once you begin catching fish, you begin to recognize water that is worth focusing on. As you get more experience, you find subtle differences that you pay attention to even more. Its this journey of learning that most folks think is the fun part and why the refrain of doing your time. If you can afford it, hire a guide to shorten the learning curve.

Joe
Joe and I have compared notes on this subject for years and “productive water” comes down to many things. After obvious considerations like river flows, run timing, netting schedules, and fishing pressure, I tend to focus on the ability to effectively present a fly (water depth, water speed, current, river structure, sunlight conditions, bank conditions, wind, etc) and river substrate / morphology (mud, sand, gravel, rock, river layout, etc). Some places that are obvious natural holding/resting spots can’t be fished very effectively. Other spots are less obvious and less “fishy”, but offer the ability to perfectly present a fly with little effort, so if there is a fish there, you have a great shot at getting a grab. There is usually a run or 2 like that in rivers I fish. One thing I have learned to do is “oar test” the water when floating over a run for the first time to check depth and bottom structure. That’s a nice benefit of having a boat. Sometimes a run that is sandy or muddy close to shore has some nice rocky structure in it and vice versa. Often I have found that water that looks good from the shore is much deeper than I thought. Finally, a word of caution about your new spey rod. It’s easy to bomb out casts into water that can’t be fished well. I know I was guilty of that when I first picked up a 2-hander and still occasionally do it. Spey lines are bigger too, so more, fatter line in the water potentially introduces more line related issues (drag, line proceeding the fly, loss of feeling connection to the fly, etc). In some respects, it’s easier to learn “productive water” with the limitations imposed by a single hander.
 
#27
Dec Hogan's book A Passion For Steelhead, has some pretty good illustrations regarding holding water. Also, the chapter about holding water in Bill Herzog's Color Guide to Steelhead Drift Fishing is a pretty good read. As others have hinted, there is really no substitute for spending time on the water. If you stick with it, success will lead to more success. Eventually, you will find yourself becoming more confident about your presentation and the water you are fishing. These things take time. Anyhow, that is my 2 cents.
 

Dan Cuomo

Active Member
#28
John Larison's book "The Complete Steelheader is, in my opinion, quite a good read. He's a very good writer of both fiction and non-fiction.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#30
Dan,

That's an interesting mention, John Larison's book. I only recently came across it. An editor knowledgeable about steelhead could have helped him. He presents several "facts" that are just technically wrong. He does seem to know how to fish tho, so the book offers readers more good than harm.

Sg