Book or other resource on summer steelheading?

#1
I've been wondering if anyone could suggest a good book or something similar on summer steelhead fishing.

It's something I definitely want to try and do a bit of, but I have to admit I'm a noob. I like getting me some booklearning though, so I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

Thanks.

Jason
 
#7
Awesome, thanks folks. I know I could have searched around Amazon and what not, but I wanted to get some real opinions from you folks. So, much appreciated.

I have Mr. Combs's book, but feel like it's a bit general sometimes. The one by Shewey and Maxwell looks pretty interesting.

McMillan's book is 94 bucks on Amazon!! Wow, must be a good one--shame it's out of print.

Again, thanks. I appreciate the ideas.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#8
Lani Waller's steelhead videos are now out in DVD in a set of four. That would be a good resource. McMillen's book is good. I should photocopy mine if Amato isn't going to issue another printing.

Actually you don't need a book. Fishing for summer steelhead is like fishing for trout, only different.

Sg
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#11
Awesomely correct as well. If you know how to fish for trout, you're just about set. Up size you gear to a 7 or 8 wt system. The "different" I mentioned is that steelhead are generally not feeding, so they seek different holding water than trout. And there are far fewer steelhead than there are trout. If you fish for summer steelhead they way you fish for trout, but do it where steelhead live, you're set. The hardest part about steelheading is finding one.

Sg
 
#12
Awesomely correct as well. If you know how to fish for trout, you're just about set. Up size you gear to a 7 or 8 wt system. The "different" I mentioned is that steelhead are generally not feeding, so they seek different holding water than trout. And there are far fewer steelhead than there are trout. If you fish for summer steelhead they way you fish for trout, but do it where steelhead live, you're set. The hardest part about steelheading is finding one.

Sg
Thanks Salmo. I've never really thought about it quite that way. If you're using the same tactics, but looking for different holds, how do you decide what to look for? What makes for good holding water for a summer steel? Are they just taking breaks as they move upriver, or is there more to it than that? As you said, they aren't feeding. So I suppose a feeding lane is not as important as cover to them. Is that something that can give me a clue to where to look?

I'm kind of just thinking out loud here. Thanks for the info and thoughts.

Jason
 
#13
Thanks Salmo. I've never really thought about it quite that way. If you're using the same tactics, but looking for different holds, how do you decide what to look for? What makes for good holding water for a summer steel? Are they just taking breaks as they move upriver, or is there more to it than that? As you said, they aren't feeding. So I suppose a feeding lane is not as important as cover to them. Is that something that can give me a clue to where to look?

I'm kind of just thinking out loud here. Thanks for the info and thoughts.

Jason
The answer to all your questions is "yes." Steelhead hold everywhere. I've caught them in just about every single type of water, from super fast rapids to slow, deep slogs. I'd say the majority of my fish have come from 3-4' of moderate to moderately slow moving water with some type of structure.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#14
Jason,

Given enough cover, a steelhead may hold in 1' of water, but you'll find most of them in 3-6' of water with some kind of cover, be it a disturbed water surface, rock, wood, or old car body. Unfortunately for me, summer runs will also often hold in deep pools 10 or more feet deep. I say unfortunately, because that is too deep and too tedious for me to try and fish effectively. I suppose a nymphing rig on a switch or Spey rod might fish those spots effectively, but I haven't tried.

What makes for good holding water for summer steelhead, and is there more to it than that? Yes to the latter, and good holding water has suitable depth, velocity, substrate, and cover. Suitable means in the sense of relative to the adjacent, or next best, water. Steelhead generally hold in the best spots, but not always. And what is best varies up and down and across the river. You're always searching for the best combination of holding water parameters, and then when you find it, there probably isn't a steelhead there anyway. Because there is lots more good holding water than there are steelhead. Consequently you hunt, covering as much suitable holding water per day as you can.

The concept is pretty much the same, summer and winter. The summer advantage is warmer water temperatures and greater steelhead activity which means they will move farther for a fly, both laterally and vertically in the water column.

See, I told ya'. It's the same as trout fishing, only different.

Sg
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#15
Jason,

Given enough cover, a steelhead may hold in 1' of water, but you'll find most of them in 3-6' of water with some kind of cover, be it a disturbed water surface, rock, wood, or old car body. Unfortunately for me, summer runs will also often hold in deep pools 10 or more feet deep. I say unfortunately, because that is too deep and too tedious for me to try and fish effectively. I suppose a nymphing rig on a switch or Spey rod might fish those spots effectively, but I haven't tried.

What makes for good holding water for summer steelhead, and is there more to it than that? Yes to the latter, and good holding water has suitable depth, velocity, substrate, and cover. Suitable means in the sense of relative to the adjacent, or next best, water. Steelhead generally hold in the best spots, but not always. And what is best varies up and down and across the river. You're always searching for the best combination of holding water parameters, and then when you find it, there probably isn't a steelhead there anyway. Because there is lots more good holding water than there are steelhead. Consequently you hunt, covering as much suitable holding water per day as you can.

The concept is pretty much the same, summer and winter. The summer advantage is warmer water temperatures and greater steelhead activity which means they will move farther for a fly, both laterally and vertically in the water column.

See, I told ya'. It's the same as trout fishing, only different.

Sg

I grew up on the Washougal river and it's prized summer steelhead. It was very common to catch fish out of 6" - 2 feet of water.. There is nothing like sight fishing with a skater... You are watching the fish 20 feet away then suddenly it just disappears and before your mind registers what is happening there is a mouth sticking out of the water near your fly. At any rate it was cool fishing that no longer exists.. not on the Washougal anyway... point being there is a shallow game to be had but look for it on small rivers with little pressure...