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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Kincardine, Ontario
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Steelhead tips and tricks.

    Quote Originally Posted by flav View Post
    Smoke, since you're in Illinois I assume you're chasing steelhead in Michigan or Wisconsin. I grew up fishing for GL steelhead before I moved west, and believe me, there's a huge difference between the fisheries, the methods that work, and the fish themselves.
    I love nothing more than swinging for steelhead, but in the GL rivers it's a very low percentage game. The water is cold, the streams are small, and the fish are closer to spawning than their west coast relatives. I caught a couple on the swing in the midwest, but conditions had to be right, and they're not right very often. I caught most of my GL steelhead drifting egg flies (gasp) or nymphs.
    The main issue with steelhead anywhere is finding what kind of water they like to hold in. Watch where others hook fish if you can, once you figure that out you can find similar water and hopefully find a fish or two of your own. Like others have said, steelhead aren't picky about flies, but they can get picky about presentation, and where they like to hold.
    I've heard the same said by a guide I had last year swinging flies for GL steel who also guides on the Skeena. We were fishing a very deep run at 10'+, one with an intermediate head and extra super fast sinking polyleader, and the other with 10' of T11 and a weighted fly. We had some good success, but what he said struck me... He said if we were fishing in BC we would have only had an intermediate tip on and unweighted fly! That is all! AND he said we would have expected even more hookups. He made it sound like fishing out west was easy I don't mean to offend anyone fishing the west coast, that's just what I was told from someone that has a lot of experience both in the Great Lakes and out in BC.
    Last edited by huronfly; 11-07-2018 at 10:05 PM.
    Danny

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
    Posts
    1,001

    Default Re: Steelhead tips and tricks.

    I've never fished the Great Lakes region or BC. Only Oregon and Washington, east and west of the cascades. I started flyfishing west side rivers swinging a muddler minnow for summer runs on a floating line (no tip) and single hand rod. I can still envision my first encounter with a steelhead on that set up. It was a small stream and I saw the silver flash as the fish went for the fly near the surface. When it boiled I set as the fish turned the tippet snapped. Lesson learned, keep the rod down til line is pulling off the reel. Then I started fishing an eastside river with the same set up and started hooking more fish. A guide then told me that floating lines only worked on the east side, west of the cascades a sink tip must be used. Oh really... I don't care what anyone says swinging flies on or near the surface works in any steelhead rivers in any area given the correct water temperature, depth, light conditions and of course, the presence of a player...

    The runs here have been poor the last few years. Last year I hadn't hooked a fish in about a dozen sessions, either morning or evening. Then one fall week I had multiple hookups in three days of fishing.

    This year I hooked two nice fish one day after about 10 fishless sessions. Yes, the fishing is easy if you know what your doing and the fish are there. Otherwise, forget about it and...

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