steelhead

ChrisC

Active Member
#16
Definitely don't be discouraged. This has been a slow year relative to years past.

As far as people who sit on a run, it is a pet peeve of mine as I personally see it as poor etiquette (hogging the run) and poor ethics (effectively flossing if someone's hammering a spot that has fish but they aren't takers). And by not covering as much water as possible, those who hog a run are likely also lowering their catch rate.
 
#18
I feel your pain cj6530.
This is my first year seriously fishing for winter steelhead and I've spent 10 fishing days in total without a strike. I'm not about to quit but I have a question for the more experienced steelheaders on the board. Yesterday I was fishing a deep shaded hole underneath a steep bank with a gravel bar on the far side. From the bank I could actually see fish hanging on the bottom of the hole. Three of them at one particular time. I had a perfect casting spot from the gravel bar and I swung 8 different flies in front of them on a flourocarbon leader attached to a sink tip over the course of the day. Not a bite.
I was casting at 45 degrees to the bank and allowing the fly to drift over the hole then retrieving when it got straight downstream of me.
Are there some aspects of presentation that I'm overlooking here?
Any tips would be welcome!
 
#19
I feel your pain cj6530.
This is my first year seriously fishing for winter steelhead and I've spent 10 fishing days in total without a strike. I'm not about to quit but I have a question for the more experienced steelheaders on the board. Yesterday I was fishing a deep shaded hole underneath a steep bank with a gravel bar on the far side. From the bank I could actually see fish hanging on the bottom of the hole. Three of them at one particular time. I had a perfect casting spot from the gravel bar and I swung 8 different flies in front of them on a flourocarbon leader attached to a sink tip over the course of the day. Not a bite.
I was casting at 45 degrees to the bank and allowing the fly to drift over the hole then retrieving when it got straight downstream of me.
Are there some aspects of presentation that I'm overlooking here?
Any tips would be welcome!
were the flies down in the strike zone? alot of times i have fish move latterly more easily than if they will come up for a fly especially if they are holding in a deeper cut bank area or near trees or root wads.

Drift any egg patterns in front of their nose?
 
#20
and if you can see them... they can most likely see you... which greatly lowers your chances. In that situation i usually leave the hole for a while and fish some other runs, then sneak up for another couple shots if the fish are still there.
 
#22
I could see them from the bank then I walked up about 50 yards to cross the river then came back and fished them from the gravel bar 30 feet upstream. I gave them 5 casts then let the hole rest for a couple of hours before trying different flies, including egg patterns.
I guess it's possible I'm not getting down to them but I was using the fastest sinking tip in my multitip kit.
Would it make sense to add a split shot to the leader?
 

Snake

tryin' not to get too comfortable
#23
Look on the bright side. If catching steelies on a fly was easy, it wouldn't be as gratifying when you finally do get a tug.

Cover as much water as you can. Once you get a particular river section dialed (high-water lies, low-water lies, guide lies [and guides always lie]..), you might spend a little more time on it, but on the low-slope beginning-side of the learning curve, it might be better to cover a lot of water, and try different approaches, and learn what works.
 
#24
Well Im certainly no expert, but like has already been said, when you can see fish they can see you to. And from my experiences, especially with winter fish, when you see them in holes they are usually pretty tight mouthed. You and I and a dozen others could have probably cast every fly with every type of presentation all day long to those fish and more than likely they would not have bitten. Not saying they arent worth a few tries, hard to pass up when you KNOW there are fish there. But I think its better spending time covering more water and trying to find a biter. But that also brings up another good point as far as being stealthy. I make a point to always enter a run as sly as I can. Never walk to the top of the run close to the edge of the water, any fish laying in close will see you long before you see them and there goes what may have been the one biter you were looking for. Just take on Elmer Fudds rabbit hunting philosophy " Wees steelhead fishin' we have to be bery bery quiet/sneaky..." Kevin
 
#25
I guess it's possible I'm not getting down to them but I was using the fastest sinking tip in my multitip kit.
Would it make sense to add a split shot to the leader?
Were you occasionally ticking bottom? If not, then you weren't getting down enough. I'd try weighted flies before split shot, and move that 45 degree cast a bit upstream if it's still not down.
 
#26
This is my first season of steelhead fishing, and I have yet to even get a bite. I have been fishing the snoqualmie and the skykomish. My question is in regards to fishing a run. From advice from this board i have been actively fishing down runs taking a step every couple of casts. Is this correct.....
Cover water. Fish your way down a run then move on to the next. Focus on the stuff that allows a good presentation. Not all good holding water is good fly water.
 

Panhandle

Active Member
#27
Those fish aren't players.

If they aren't in the mood, it doesn't matter what you throw at them. Kind of like being turned down by your wife despite pleading and bargaining. :D

Move on and find some players.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#30
Codswallower,

In low clear water conditions, and especially if the water is also cold (< 40*F), steelhead become dour. They do hit, but they're not as aggressive as when the water is warmer and has a tinge of color to it. Since you saw those fish, they also saw you. Add up the conditions and you have Pans description: those fish aren't players. Give 'em a few casts and move on. Look for a player.

If you meet some clueless angler who wants to cast over fish, be sure to send him to that pool. He might even hook one if he keeps at it long enough, and he'll thank you forever for sending him there. It's a win:win no matter what.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.