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Old 11-27-2012, 05:40 PM
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Default Steelhead Patterns

For Christmas I am heading back to my old stomping grounds of Buffalo, NY. I just bought an 8wt fly rod to do some steelhead fishing while I am there. I am hoping you guys can help with some steelhead patterns that I can tie up before I go. Most of the material I have is all geared towards trout fishing...ie colors etc. Thanks in advance.

Ian
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Hi Ian,

While I don't fish the NY tribs, the basics should work in just about all of them.

Egg patterns--sucker spawn, glo bugs, krystal meth/spawn, nuke eggs, etc are pretty much a staple. I am generally fishing #14's, but size will range based on flow and color. 12's - 16's and on occasion, an 18.

Add to that the same nymphs you might use for trout and I'm convinced you can catch fish. Stones, Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails, Princes, Caddis, Copper Johns, etc. Again, sizes 12-18s depending on flow, color and fly.

Buggers- black, white, olive, brown
Egg Sucking leeches- black, purple

If you can tie something that represents an Emerald Shiner you will be well armed.

Some of the traditional Salmon Patterns will work too depending on the streams you're fishing.

Gator will hopefully chime in, these are his home rivers and he's been pretty successful this year. Hopefully you land a few fish while there and can post some shots in the Steelhead pics thread!

Good luck.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Ian, unfortunately I'm likely going to miss out on fishing with you in Buffalo, if I were there I'd be happy to try and put you on some fish!

As far as patterns go:
Chartreuse, chartreuse, and more chartreuse.
Sucker spawn tied on 12 and 14 hooks using trimmed estaz have worked best as far as nymphing goes. Don't hesitate to tie in orange, blue, white, and peach as well. Estaz is your friend, tied in both sucker spawn and as simple eggs.
Senyo's Wiggle-stone is a solid hybrid pattern in chartreuse but also in blue.
I often use double-bead stones as a heavyweight pattern on those tribs where I can fish tandems (all the Erie tribs and the lower Niagara). Golden stones have been very effective this year. Tie these with tungsten if you can afford to.
Moto's Minnows in sizes 4 and 6 tied in white. Don't hesitate to throw a wrap or two of chartreuse estaz between the body and the conehead. Hot-spots are muy bueno.

And as far as trout patterns, don't hesitate to try them for lake-runners, especially in low clear water. Black hare's ears with tungsten beads, frenchies in 10 and smaller tied with orange craft beads set between the thorax and a tungsten beadhead, even your favorite trout confidence flies (even in the size you use for trout). I caught one on a size 18 rabbit's foot emerger last year after casting unsuccessfully at a pod for over a half hour.

I'm just getting into tying and fishing bigger, uglier streamers and spey patterns. Will update you as that progresses. And don't hesitate to toss buggers. Even if I don't, they certainly work.

Welp, that's all I've got for now! Good luck, and I'll be looking for your contributions to the steelhead pics thread!
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Out here in the PNW we say that, Steelhead will eat your car keys, that is if you present them right.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatortransplant View Post
Ian, unfortunately I'm likely going to miss out on fishing with you in Buffalo, if I were there I'd be happy to try and put you on some fish!

As far as patterns go:
Chartreuse, chartreuse, and more chartreuse.
Sucker spawn tied on 12 and 14 hooks using trimmed estaz have worked best as far as nymphing goes. Don't hesitate to tie in orange, blue, white, and peach as well. Estaz is your friend, tied in both sucker spawn and as simple eggs.
Senyo's Wiggle-stone is a solid hybrid pattern in chartreuse but also in blue.
I often use double-bead stones as a heavyweight pattern on those tribs where I can fish tandems (all the Erie tribs and the lower Niagara). Golden stones have been very effective this year. Tie these with tungsten if you can afford to.
Moto's Minnows in sizes 4 and 6 tied in white. Don't hesitate to throw a wrap or two of chartreuse estaz between the body and the conehead. Hot-spots are muy bueno.

And as far as trout patterns, don't hesitate to try them for lake-runners, especially in low clear water. Black hare's ears with tungsten beads, frenchies in 10 and smaller tied with orange craft beads set between the thorax and a tungsten beadhead, even your favorite trout confidence flies (even in the size you use for trout). I caught one on a size 18 rabbit's foot emerger last year after casting unsuccessfully at a pod for over a half hour.

I'm just getting into tying and fishing bigger, uglier streamers and spey patterns. Will update you as that progresses. And don't hesitate to toss buggers. Even if I don't, they certainly work.

Welp, that's all I've got for now! Good luck, and I'll be looking for your contributions to the steelhead pics thread!
AJ-

Its a shame we are going to miss each other. I was really hoping to hook up with you while I was in town. I'll be there from the 21st thru the 26th or 27th. Maybe with a bit of luck you might still be in town. Thanks for the first hand info as to whats working this year. Its going to be my first attempt at Steelhead, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

I've got to be in Cleveland by the night of the 21st, my last day fishing in Buffalo will be the 20th. However, I can likely set you up with some people to fish with that know the area well.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Along with the above mentioned,dont forget goby and sculpin patterns, Ive caught more big fish on these than any others put together. Throw in a Clouser crawfish pattern in dark brown and you got it. Good luck and fish hard.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

I just recently tied several of Senyo's AI. I have yet to fish it any more than briefly (wasn't happy with my leader set-up for getting down) but it is a big hunk of meat. Check it out in the green goblin color scheme.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Very interesting to see the size (small) that you folks use. Don't think I've read that reference before. Here in the PNW I'm one of the few that uses flies down to 10 and 12's. Norm is far larger than that, even up to 2/0.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Steelhead Patterns

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
Very interesting to see the size (small) that you folks use. Don't think I've read that reference before. Here in the PNW I'm one of the few that uses flies down to 10 and 12's. Norm is far larger than that, even up to 2/0.
Fred, much of that is due to necessity based on low and clear conditions that seem to dominate the GL tribs I fish (Lake Erie). Even more so in recent years. If flows and water levels are in optimal conditions, I'll throw flies in the 12-14 range for nymphs and eggs. Buggers/streamers and such are in the 4-12ish range but it's good to have some larger ones in the box too. Especially since the streams can rise and become blown out within 2 hours, sometimes less. I've started to dabble tying tubes and more traditional salmon/steelie patterns this year, but haven't really got a handle on what sizes work just yet.

It's insane that we have to get down to 18's and 5x tippet but sometimes that's what it takes. Today, I couldn't even get that to work. The water is very low and they need a good dose of rain spread out over a few days. Hoping that there is such an event before they lock up with ice and become unfishable. Lake Erie's tribs are largely shale bottoms and tend to drain rapidly. Much different I'm sure than the streams you are blessed with in your neck of the woods.
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