Re: stealhead questions
Mike has given you some good stuff. Once you identify where you intend to fish you will have to go there and learn about the river. How much fishing pressure there is, how do the people fish (cautious stalking or devil may care thrashing with the rods & lines) where the fish travel, where they hold, and how many can you locate.
Observation and the locating of fish goes a lot farther than casting blindly because rumor has it there are steelhead there. I believe that one of the biggest factors in these fish being hard to cast would be those devil may care thrashers who are conditioning the fish. Once they associate fly lines and flies with danger the game becomes a lot harder.
I made at least half a dozen trips to some steelhead rivers before I had things figured out. Observations and learning about a river, those will be the key to success whether you fish steelhead, trout, or salmon. I spend a lot of time watching and a little time casting. I'm not the greatest caster but I do manage to catch fish.