Conventional wisdom suggests that the most effective tactic for tackling low and clear conditions (which seem to be common this year) is to downsize flies and focus on more drab/dark colors. The more I've thought about this, the more I've questioned that tactic... Normally I'm out with a fly rod, but I've caught a number of steelhead on swung spoons in low/clear water conditions...granted these were fish that were somewhat less pressured than those on many of our current rivers. The spoon is quite possibly one of the flashiest and most obnoxious tools available to the steelheader but it has always seemed to be quite effective for me in conditions where folks swinging flies would be electing to reduce their fly size and go to colors that aren't as loud. Indeed, I've caught steelhead on a spoon behind guys fishing small/drab flies in these very conditions. Thinking about this I've tried to develop some possible reasons why that happens: 1. The spoon is more likely to be attacked in relation to the swung fly: i.e. fish "investigate" the fly without the angler ever knowing, rather than aggressively attacking it. Perhaps this has something to do with the more erratic action of the spoon across all axes, versus the more linear movement of the fly? 2. The spoon attracts fish from farther away, these fish are likely to be more aggressive. It still "scares" away fish that are close, but the increased search range more than offsets this negative. Perhaps the massive search range that the spoon creates cannot be mimicked by any fly, meaning that the larger fly simply frightens the great majority of fish that ever see it? As it looks like we're going to be facing low/clear conditions for a great deal of the winter I'm hoping to get a little time to try and refine my thoughts on this. I used to think the conventional wisdom made sense from a logical standpoint, but in practice that hasn't always proven to be the case. Would love to hear anyone's theories about this or experiences.