Steelhead flies you gotta have....

g_smolt

Recreational User
#17
Throw something black, and if that doesn't work, throw something purple.

Throw it in the right place and present it properly, and you will find some players.

It might sound like a gross oversimplification, but I think folks spend WAY too much time overthinking steelhead fishing.

Presentation - 95%
Pattern - 5%
 

Porter

Active Member
#18
Black, Purple, Olive ESL's. One fly that has done well for me is a chartruese bead head, purple or black leech body w/ longish chartrues rubber legs....my known name for it is space creature, or that is what they called it many years ago...think it goes by something different now.
 
#19
I know nothing about eastside steelheading in winter. Gotta think that things are bloody cold and your best model is to look at great lake steelheading as your tactical equivalent. Seems like swinging is not very common for winter great lake steeleheading. Nymphing seems the name of the game and getting it down and right in their face.
 
#20
Throw something black, and if that doesn't work, throw something purple.

Throw it in the right place and present it properly, and you will find some players.

It might sound like a gross oversimplification, but I think folks spend WAY too much time overthinking steelhead fishing.

Presentation - 95%
Pattern - 5%
What he said
 

Citori

Piscatorial Engineer
#21
Something black, something purple, something orange, with or without some sparkly stuff...

Chad....hate to burst your bubble but....pick some flies that look good to you and fish them. If they give you confidence, you will catch steelhead. You just have to cover enough water to find a willing fish. The fish do hang a little lower in the water column in winter but that is about all you need to think about. Don't get hung up on THE fly. You will develope your own preferences as you go along. I tie pretty artsy/craftsy flies because I think the fish deserve it but I'd probably do just as well with a woolybugger.....
 

bennysbuddy

the sultan of swing
#22
but I never go fishing for summer runs without my box of Spade flies.(quote sg,)

I fish spades alot on the eastside with good results,But then I'm a old hasbeen lost in the era when the north fork of the stilly was the place to be!!!!
 
#23
Chad,

It doesn't matter what fly pattern you use for winter steelhead in eastern WA because there are no winter steelhead in eastern WA. Sorry. However, if you want to fish for summer steelhead that are still hanging out in eastern WA, then any of the patterns recommended so far will do, but I never go fishing for summer runs without my box of Spade flies.

Sg
Are you sure about the no winter steelies? I will agree about the summer run, even that most are probably. However, I've caught a few in the South Fork of the Clearwater that were in the upper teens, and were brighter than any fish I've caught. They were still white half way down. From the pics, I've had several suggest that those fish had probably only been in the system for about 2-3 weeks if that. Is it possible that they are just late summer runners...? I don't know. I have always been told that there are two runs over here.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#24
I8abug,

Sure, yes I'm sure. Doesn't matter when they arrived in the Clearwater. They are stream maturing steelhead, not river maturing, and they entered freshwater, meaning the mouth of the Columbia River, during the summer or very early fall, not the late fall or winter. All Snake River fish, even though some can be caught in any of the 12 months of the year, are indeed summer steelhead. And yes, there are two runs, A run and B run, but both are exclusively summer run steelhead.

Sg
 

David Loy

Senior Moment
#25
I also vote for the spade. Nothing fancy but it works. I'm also fond of GPs in orange and black. I carry the usual standbys (GB skunks, P Peril, etc) but these get the most play.
 
#26
I8abug,

Sure, yes I'm sure. Doesn't matter when they arrived in the Clearwater. They are stream maturing steelhead, not river maturing, and they entered freshwater, meaning the mouth of the Columbia River, during the summer or very early fall, not the late fall or winter. All Snake River fish, even though some can be caught in any of the 12 months of the year, are indeed summer steelhead. And yes, there are two runs, A run and B run, but both are exclusively summer run steelhead.

Sg
Ok, but what about those that were so bright? Even if it was, say a full three weeks, that's still February. Doesn't that constitute a winter run fish? I'm asking, cause I truely don't know. You seem to be the only one with the best explaination...but I still gotta ask, you know what I mean?

It was taken from a CLR camera meaning Real film. I'll scan it and show you. I'm not kidding, these fish were pretty bright.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#27
I8abug,

Yes, some fish are bright. So? Some steelhead are colored up as they leave saltwater and enter freshwater. Color on a salmon or steelhead is a secondary sexual characteristic and is a function of sexual maturity. And while correlated with, it is not a function of date of freshwater entry. Some steelhead never really color up sexually. I don't know why, but they will enter freshwater sexually mature, only days before spawning, almost like a chum salmon, make a short migration and spawn and be headed back downstream, while having changed color very little during the entire process.

There are no doubt some steelhead that won't enter the Clearwater until after the first of the new year, but they passed Bonneville Dam two months ago. They are summer steelhead. They have a long ways to migrate, and they take their time when the water is cold, which it has been for at least a month now.

Sg
 

inland

Active Member
#28
i8abug,

It is common knowlege there are no ocean maturing steelhead in the snake. Why not do some research instead of arguing? There is NOTHING you have seen up there that is bright. Less dark for sure. But not chrome bright, fresh from salt. Your only chance of seeing an actual BRIGHT fish is EARLY in the run. But NONE of them are even close to a chrome fish fresh from salt.

Either way it doesn't matter all of them are river maturing steelhead reguardless of when they show up in the CW.
 
#30
i8abug,

It is common knowlege there are no ocean maturing steelhead in the snake. Why not do some research instead of arguing? There is NOTHING you have seen up there that is bright. Less dark for sure. But not chrome bright, fresh from salt. Your only chance of seeing an actual BRIGHT fish is EARLY in the run. But NONE of them are even close to a chrome fish fresh from salt.

Either way it doesn't matter all of them are river maturing steelhead reguardless of when they show up in the CW.
Dude...chill. I was not arguing at all. Sg is probably one of the most knowledgeable guys here on the subject. I was asking a legit question, said nothing about chrome. The fish swam 400+ miles...I'm pretty sure that "chrome" was about 350 miles ago. :beathead:

Sg, thanks for the info. I truly never knew that fish may "delay", if you will, when it comes to changing color. We had caught a couple others that day, that were the color you would expect. If I ever get them scanned, I'll PM you a pic. Nothing like what you guys get over there for sure, but surprisingly "bright".

I like to call it, "Rez chrome". Short for Indian reservation chrome....or is that the term I use for Duct Tape? :hmmm: