03-18-2009, 05:08 PM
Re: how to know what flies to use
Hey sonic, welcome to the forum.
Getting some advice from a local fly shop is a great way to go. In addition to getting some of the hot patterns, ask about where and how to fish them. By "where" I mean what type of water--- pools, riffles, runs etc., and by “how” try and get them to show you how to rig them up with an indicator/split shot etc.
If you're fishing for steelhead, it's often a matter of getting in front of them at the right depth-- right along the bottom, and recognizing holding areas like edges where slow and fast water meet, where a gravel bar drops off into deeper water, slick areas below rocks in fast water, tailouts of pools, deep water stretches near the outside of bends.
Look for steelhead in areas that are 3-8 feet deep, current at walking speed, and/or with cobble or basketball sized rocks on the bottom that break up the speed of current right along the bottom layer of water.
we have a bunch of folks on the board that fish the same waters, so hopefully some more folks will chime in.
Egg flies and/or stonefly nymphs, with enough splitshot that you can feel it ticking along the bottom, with or without an indicator, are good to fish through runs on relatively short line in clear and low water. Pattern is probably a lot less important than getting it in the right depth in good holding areas.
Buggers, zonkers and other large patterns for high water, off colored water, deep pools, and slow stretches, and for fishing long casts with a sinktip swinging them through holding water. They will also be good as water warms up a bit, and edges into the forties degrees and fish become more active.
If you’re new to this, getting a guide for a day or ½ day to show you different techniques for nymphing and swinging streamers, rigging up nymphs with an indicator, and how to recognize holding water might be a very good investment. If you go this route, try and arrange this before hand as a teaching type of trip, as opposed to just catching.