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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...for the life of me I can not catch a steelhead on a fly rod. Any recommendations on what to do or not to do? Also maybe locations that I should try on the east side of the state or northern idaho and montana?? Or should I head over to the sno or sky??

As with any fly fishing, presentation and ability to read and rationalize is key but I feel I can not do anything correct because I have yet to see even a strike. This is my second season and I have put in well over my 100 hundred hours that the steelhead gods told me I needed before I would catch my first one on a fly rod :ANGRY arrgghhh. I know you that we have a wealth of knowledge here and I would greatly appreciate even two cents on anything related to steelhead fishing, especially geographically close to Spokane??? Thanks for any input you may have.
 

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Here are all of the tasks you must perform in order to catch steelhead. These are the secrets all successful steelhead fishers come to know and you'll only get it here in www.washingtonflyfishing.com:

(1) Go fishing where steelhead are known to hang out. Fish every chance you can get.

(2) Read "how to" books. Trey Coombs has a good technique book (the thin one, not the thick one).

(3) Go fishing where steelhead are known to hang out. Fish a lot.

(4) Watch instructional videos (the Lanny Waller videos are good).

(5) Go fishing where steelhead are known to hang out. Yeah, the marriage may be rocky by this time, but so are the good steelhead rivers. Come to think of, boulder gardens are good for steelhead.

(6) After completing 1-5, spend the money and hire a reputable guide for a 1-on-1 day on a good river in the high season. Pay attention to what the guide tells you!

(7) Did I say go fishing where steelhead are known to hang out.

Cheers,

Michael

Remember, Son. Catch, Gloat, then Release.
 

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Knowing the Spokane area, where are you mainly fishing: Snake River, Grande Ronde, Deschutes??? I started this steelhead game in and around the Pendleton area and now I reside on the West side in Auburn. The advice given in the previous post is right-on, but it may pay to seek the help of a guide. A guide will allow you to confirm that you are looking at the water right and may put you into a fish to build your confidence.

Just remember, do not give up the first steely could come on the next cast.

Tight lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks a ton for the information. I just bought the book today and have started to read it. I REALLY appreciate the information and will take your words whole heartedly :THUMBSUP . Hopefully I will be posting a pic of my first steelhead this season. Thanks again.

~Patrick
 

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I haven't flyfished for steelhead for about 4 years now, but buried somewhere deep within the archives of washingtonflyfishing.com is a thread with a question from someone asking about the same as you now are. I'm a recovering steelehead junkie and now am committed to flyfishing the salt exclusively as part of my self-imposed therapy. With that in mind, here's what I had to add to that archived discussion. I believe it all still applies. If not, I'm sure someone will jump on the opportunity to post corrections. It was in response to an individual looking for the "one piece of advice" for steelheading success:
_____________________

There is no "one piece of advice." Here's 10 to get you started:

1. Every time you go to the river, go with the intent of working on a particular aspect of your technique. For example, you might want to start with working on a drag free drift. The more your technique becomes second nature, the more more successful you will become.

2. Approach each stream with stealth. Steelhead are trout...they are always on the alert for predators and will bolt at the slightest disturbance to their environment. Don't kid yourself that because they're big you can just march to the center of the river and start catching them. Carefully fish the near water first.

3. Approach each cast with the expectation of a hookup. What that means is you can't keep a running conversation going with your buddy or watch the eagle soaring overhead and expect that you'll catch fish. Conentrate on what you're doing!!! Devote your full attention to what your fly is doing. Mend the line, feed the line, do whatever is necessary for that drag free drift. Sometimes those takes are ever so subtle and you have to be in total control to know it.

4. Keep a record of what you did and how you did it. In other words, keep a journal and record the details of your trip. Don't bother with how many deer you saw, whether the barometer was falling or not, or whether your Uncle Bob slipped in the mud and landed on his butt. Record what you did, how you did it, what you can do to improve on it and what you need to work on during your next trip. Before your next outing, review your journal, identify those things that worked and those that didn't and use that as the starting point for things to work on during this next trip.

5. This may sound pretty elementary, but if there's no run going on, then there will probably be no fish available to catch. Increase your odds by fishing where the fish are.

6. Learn what constitutes productive water. Here in the Pacific NorthWET, that means gravel bottom, flow about the speed of a brisk walk and depth somewhere between the knees and shoulders (Shaquille O'neal not withstanding.) Look for deep pools and watch how the currents flow to them. Try to place your fly along the seam and have it drift into that pool. Don't forget to fish the tailouts or the heads of pools, either. Look for structure in the river: boulders in midstream, deadfalls etc. To a Steelhead, this is Motel 6.

7. Try to keep your fly within about a foot or so of the bottom. If ever a fish kept their nose to the grindstone (so to speak) Steelhead do.

8. You don't need 100 different flys. You need to be able to fish one or two flys EFFECTIVELY!!!!! Go to your local flyshop and ask their recommendation for the top three or four Steelhead flys for your area. Pick one or two. Learn how to fish them and then fish them well.

9. Regardless of what fly you choose, you need to have confidence in it. Every time you cast you should be anticipating a hook up. If you don't connect, assume there was no fish there, don't blame the fly, take a step or two downstream and cast again. Again, fish the productive water.

10. There's no single piece of magic to steelheading. It takes a bit of basic understanding of their behavior, some focused concentration on your part, being critical of yourself, learning from mistakes you make and perserverence. Hang out at your local flyshop. Ask questions. Greet other steelheaders on the stream and, again, ask questions. Share what you've learned or what you know with others. Karma has a way of coming back to you when you do these things. Above all else, enjoy the time spent in the beauty of the nature that surrounds you whether you catch one or not. There's always tomorrow.
________________________________

The only thing I can add to this is that there are now far many more experienced and knowledgeable folks on washingtonflyfishing.com then there was way back then when I wrote that response. Listen to them.

Good fishing and be patient...your day will come.

Greg
 

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Step 1. Unless you have people lining up to drive you, feed you, and let you use their boat, it's cheaper and more cost effective to hire a guide. Talk ahead of time before you hire and make sure the guide will be in your back pocket all day teaching you and watching you..
 

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Step 1. Sell your fly reel for a baitcaster or centerpin reel
Use your fly rod
Step 2. Buy yarn and magic thread and craft beads
step 3. Get some floats
Step 4. Slay chromers as you side drift past every dumbass swinging flies
 

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OK...for the life of me I can not catch a steelhead on a fly rod. Any recommendations on what to do or not to do? Also maybe locations that I should try on the east side of the state or northern idaho and montana?? Or should I head over to the sno or sky??

As with any fly fishing, presentation and ability to read and rationalize is key but I feel I can not do anything correct because I have yet to see even a strike. This is my second season and I have put in well over my 100 hundred hours that the steelhead gods told me I needed before I would catch my first one on a fly rod :ANGRY arrgghhh. I know you that we have a wealth of knowledge here and I would greatly appreciate even two cents on anything related to steelhead fishing, especially geographically close to Spokane??? Thanks for any input you may have.
go to the deschutes if you cant catch steelhed there than you have the equivalent of aspergers or DanielOcean syndrome as we call it on the river
 

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If the guy has gone from the start of this thread in 2002 to now without a steelhead, then I think it's a lost cause.
Proof that steelhead do not exist. They are a myth perpetuated by tackle manufacturers and guides whose only purpose is to separate you from your money.
 

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Here is how to catch a steelhead on a fly. This method Guaranteed to get you at least one strike.

Get a rod, reel and line combination that you can cast 50 feet.
Learn to cast it 50 feet well
get some tiemco 700 hooks in sizes 4 and 6

with those hooks tie:

1 dozen skunks
1 dozen street walkers
1 dozen brads brats

buy some light wire salmon hooks

tie 2 dozen steelhead caddis in whatever color pleases you

Take a 2 week vacation, the last week of september and the first week of october

buy both Oregon and Washington licenses and drive to the Grand Ronde river

drive up and down the river between Bogan's Oasis and Troy Oregon

fish every riffle you can get into with your 50 foot cast quartered slightly downstream with the fly of your choice

fish every day for those two weeks, taking note of locations that receive lots of attention from other anglers and fish them when they are open..

you do this and you will at least get an opportunity or two to catch a steelhead on a fly rod.
 
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