Steelhead Challenge


Sharp Steelie

Got a great idea for all those Steelie fly fishing fanatics out there - From day one have been honest,
the numbers are the truth. So here is the challenge:

Starting next summer - everyone who really wants to
catch more fish try this.

Find an area with some fish in it - whether it's just
a couple or more. Hopefully where you can actually
see/make out the fish - look for signs (jumping/tailing
flash etc.)

Start off with a "Steelhead pattern" lets say a green
butted skunk - try to put it near the fish and watch
what happens.

Next - try a size 6 or smaller sparse but natural
pattern that immitates either insects in the water
or a food source from the ocean and watch what
happens. Heck - use a size 6 or 8 hairs ear nymph!

Apply all techiques - nymphing/natural drift/swing etc.

You don't have to take my word for it when you find out
on your own - I already know what really works and
will always catch fish - just want to build some
confidence and faith.

Oh - try to fish right smack dab in the middle of
the afternoon - when you can see the fish the best.

Keep notes.

Just a couple notes/rules.

1. Ego's do not apply.
2. Nobody is better than anybody else.
3. Be Honest.
4. Have Fun!

Make this about having fun - share. Be willing to bet
some others will catch just as much and more than yours
truly. Can't wait to here some 10 plus fish days -
I believe anybody can do it! Oh - try the same thing
in the winter - you might just be suprised.

Happy Fishing


The dumb kid
your on clay, and ya know what, both of us should try it on some of the rivers i have mentioned to you in email. and regarding anohter issue you brought up ( at least i think it was you)

MAKE NOTE WHEN TALKING ABOUT LOCATIONS<<< i was rooting around the net and found a gear forum that went into detail places and locations talked about on this site, people from this site, and various other things. people who dont post or even flyfish are just using this site as a good source for locales. be very aware of this matter from now on guys, in genral most flyguys seem more concerned with conservation and protecting our rescources than gearies. not saying anything bad about gear fishermen, even i still have the ambauesseder in the closet, but i dont want to see people poaching a fly only with gear because they saw it mentioned here. i dont even know what im trying to say here, im gonna go look in my history for the site, hope i locate it again, ill get on the forum and tell them all that there is a massive run on some river that has never seen a metalhead. keep your eyes peeled!


Old Man

Just an Old Man
If I wanted to be in a contest I would join one of the fishing shows. All I ever do in the summer time is go out and have a good time fishing the High rivers ad streams and I stay away from the bigger river that way also. If I happen to catch something bigger that 20" so be it and if I don't who cares. Besides I didn't know that fishing was going to turn into things like that. Call me a prude but thats the way I feel about fishing.



Active Member
Seems like a good time of year to try small nymphs on many rivers (if the flows are low and clear). When winter and late spring and summer off-color flows are happening I wouldn't think small is the best choice, but ya never know. Fishing small/natural is popular for steelhead in other parts of the world and they do well. What do you use for leader/tippet when fishing small nymphs Sharp?

Be the ball Danny

I think most guys on this site realize that you can catch more steelhead, especially summer runs, on small natural presentations. I too have fished egg patterns or nymphs and had double digit fish days for hatchery summer runs. I think most steelhead fanatics fish a certain way for the challenge itself. I personally want to catch a steelhead on a dry, so this summer I am mostly going to skate dries. Some guys just like the rhythm of swinging traditional wets (cast, mend, step). It's not that anyone doesn't believe you, your techniques are pretty well utilized, it's just that some people like to employ techniques that aren't really associated with numbers of fish. I'm sure those that have never caught a steelhead and really want to hook into one will appreciate your challenge. One thing that I would add against your experiences is that I always do better in low light conditions for steelhead, and unlike you and Jim Teeny, I never have too much luck with fish that I spot. I just spot the water and the fish will be there.


The dumb kid
hey grey, your goal is the same as mine this summer, i am bound and determined to get some metal on a dry.... especially since i lost on on saturday by pure chance. stilly does very well fishing dries, if ya want to hook up and tag-team them, lmme knw


ps, want to catch a fish you can see? fish fortson hole in the mornings.... all i have to say to that one is omg. it can be freaky, but fun, but very challenging.

Sharp Steelie

Sorry Jim - it's not a contest. Simply put, in my
opinion a natural fly pattern that immitates a food
source will catch a lot more fish then a traditional
Steelhead pattern. I no longer carry a single
"Traditional Steelhead Pattern" in my fly box and
haven't for years. Just challenging those who want to -
to see what works better for them. If I had to choose
a Green butted skunk or a Hares ear nymph - for me it's
a very easy choice, I'll take the Hares ear nymph.:thumb


The dumb kid
clay, once you get the flies i sent you look at the little beadhead.. that exact fly got me 2 summers.... i woulda tied you a fresh one but im a little low on beads.
nice small brownish nymph.. this pattern is my standby anytime i need a fly, lakes or rivers. even accounted for THREE first-cast hookups. the particular one is not very sparse, but hey.. i tied it 4 years ago=)


Sharp Steelie

I stick with a 2x and if some salmon are around go with
a 1x (6 to 7ft with a sink tip line) The last 3 years
have not sight cast to a single fish - saw salmon.
Learned how Steelhead behave and react to flies in the
Astoria Oregon area streams - these were all winter
run fish. Some of the streams would run clear enough
in the winter to actually sight cast. Did a lot of
experimenting to fish that I could see and watched how
they would react to different types of patterns etc.
The first fish on a nymph was a winter run. The most
Steelhead that I personally ever caught in a single day
were actually winter runs on a Oregon coastal river.
Was using the passion fly that day. This was back in
the 80's. Been consistantly catching fish ever
since. By applying the things learned on winter runs,
it has been a double bonus on the summer runs simply
because they are more aggresive. Fly patterns are
important - If I want to have a multiple fish day and
had to choose between a Green Butted Skunk and a Hare's
ear nymph - I'll take the nymph, even in winter. Go
experiment and find out why.

happy fishing

Sharp Steelie

Had 3 fish hit a fly on top that I can remember - it's a complete adrenaline rush. The largest Steelhead that
I ever caught - smashed a fly on top (think may have
already posted that). Had a fish hit a Golden stone
dry on the Deschutes - had a 5 weight targeting red
sides and "suprise". My whole intention of posting
"the challenge" is to help some people catch their
first fish - or more fish. Personally - I'm always
experimenting and trying new things. Just figure now is
the time to focus on really helping some other's get
into fish.:thumb

Old Man

Just an Old Man
There's nothing better that catching steelhead on dries. I have landed two and have hooked many more. But they've all been on my little secret places. You'd be suprised how many fish are up in the smaller streams off of the big rivers. And with small dries,such as size 14 Humpies,16 red ant,



youngish old guy
You seem very competitive with fishing SS, I don't think I would enjoy a day on the river with you at all. Relax, breath, chiiilll. Laid back fishers unite!
Well after this past year of futile attempts at landing or even hooking up my first Steelie I'm taking Clay's advice and dumping thos big nasty things I've been carrying around. Perhaps I'll even snag a Cutt or two with the Hares Ear.

Thanks for the tip
Oh man you are so right on that ! I caught my First summer on a Dry. It was a bomber pattern. Took me by surprise and bout jumped out of my skin seeing that monster head coming out of the water. LOL and I am with you on the smaller streams and out of the way places. Alot more surprises come out those places! besides I don't go fishing to hook the monsters I go to have fun!
hmm I will have to try that red ant pattern sounds good!