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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 02-24-2009, 07:38 AM
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Default Winter Steelhead

I live in the Great Lakes region of steelhead country and needed some help. Our creeks are wide open right now. The problem is is that there are fish, but they ARE NOT BITING. What do you do (flies and tactis) to catch these cold water bruisers?
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

Hello morphius, if I'd tried my usual dark patterns(purple, black, dark green, dark blue etc.) and pink patterns, plus my red/black patterns and my yellow patterns I think I'd be forced to try big dry flies.

Can you see the steelhead? If you can, dry a big orange stimulator...a #4 perhaps, and try dropping it about 8 or 10 feet above the fish and try to get as dead a drift as you can. If that doesn't work, you might want to go to your nearest fly shop or get in touch with a fly fishing club/organization in your area.

You might also be surprised that your state fish and game office if you have one near, may have answers. Oh and you might look around online for a local and more specific bulletin board and you might get offers to meet and try for steelies with someone near you that knows more. Hope some of this helps !

Cheers,

MontanaMoose
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

Not sure of where you are in the Great lakes region, I hail from West MI. At this point most of our rivers are way too high to wade & I have not taken my Hyde out either. Most times, but not all, they are just sitting
in deep pockets & are not motivated yet. If you can I have a suggestion
for you : Get, or tie some BIG flies. If you have a rod that will handle them try casting BIG flies. When something of size comes into their territory steelhead many times view this as an intrusion on their turf. I have been tying for years & the more I read the more I'm convinced this works. Many of my steelhead/salmon flies are in that BIG category. Just hold on. Most of the strikes I've received throwing these flies are "Slammer" strikes.
( Just a FYI : I'm talking about 4-6 inch flies made with marabou, rabbit strips, flash, etc.)

Try this it may work for you, it has for me,

Tie One On
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

Hi morphius,

I have to give you credit for sticking it out and still trying for your first Steelhead. You should be proud that you have not given up. I know you got a new rod and reel and have all of that worked out. I think the big fly tip is good.

Since you can see the fish you need to make sure that your fly is getting down to their depth. If the water is real shallow they are even more alert to what is going on around them. Try and find fish in wanter that is two or three feet deep at least. You need to be sneaky because if you can see them more than likely they can see you if you are not careful. Are you using Polaroid glasses? They will make the fish easier to see so you can observe what they are doing. You need to get the fly right on their nose. You may have to use a weighted fly. Make sure that you are not lining the fish. Get into a position so the fly swings right past their nose. If you are finding lots of fish then pick one and practice your drift. Don't worry if it doesn't bite. Just keep trying to get you fly to the fish. Once you have things work out as to your angle to the fish and your fly is deep enough and is hitting them on the nose. Now move to another hole and try on fresh fish. Try to get it right on your first cast.

I know you have hooked up with one big fish and hopefully you will land the next one. The important thing is to be calm and be very observant of everything you are doing. After your next hook up, hopefully you land it, sit down and think about what you did to get your hook up. If you lose the fish remember what you did wrong. In some instances you don't do anything wrong and the fish just gets loose.

Frank
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

I been catching them in Southeast Wisconsin.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

Morph,

The big fly idea will work, tye something with lots of bulk and add some noise makers to it.

If you are fishing low clear water, go smaller on the flys, and add length to your tippet. Go with natural colors; olives, browns, blacks for nymphs, muted egg colors...

Good Luck, drop me a PM if you have questions.

Dan
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Winter Steelhead

I would try some pistol petes. Some may consider it cheating, but they seem to work pretty good in Illinois.
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