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laszlo

Steelhead Related Matter

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This is the first year that I'm targetting Steelhead. So far I've been out 3 times and have landed or hooked a massive total of ZERO fish.

This is only driving my will to continue and making for a very rewarding first fish.

 

My question goes out to all the hardcore Steelheaders out there eg: Solopaddler, Dave M, Stonefly etc.

When you started, did it take a bit of time to get over the learning curve?

 

The reason I ask is that so many people say that Steelhead will bite just about anything.

So far I've being mostly using a float with a couple split shot weights and a small hook.

As for bait: Gulp Alive Pink Trout Worms, Roe, Worms, Pink Hair Jigs, Small Tubes and #1 Mepps Spinners.

 

I think the presentation is ok but maybe the timing is off???

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Your timing must be off...or your presentation. Cause steelies truly are braindead fish. Well probably not any dummer then any other fish...but I have caught lots over the years..so I'm telling you they can't be that smart :D

 

Keep at it, you will succeed.

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It's a learning curve!! Picking the right bait is the least important factor I think, the learning is in reading the water, the seams , the eddies and such and learning the best way to present your offering to the trouties. The actual bait used is not that important if your presentation is correct and your drifting in the right area of the pool. To become a good steelheader be patient, when you choose an area take the time to read the water your drifting, look or seams and such and where you may think the fish are lying and concentrate your efforts on these spots. The better you learn how to read the river, the more success you'll have. It may be true Steelhead are as dumb as any other fish but you do have to present the bait to them very precise somtimes in the areas there holding.

Edited by canadadude

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This is the first year that I'm targetting Steelhead. So far I've been out 3 times and have landed or hooked a massive total of ZERO fish.

This is only driving my will to continue and making for a very rewarding first fish.

 

My question goes out to all the hardcore Steelheaders out there eg: Solopaddler, Dave M, Stonefly etc.

When you started, did it take a bit of time to get over the learning curve?

 

The reason I ask is that so many people say that Steelhead will bite just about anything.

So far I've being mostly using a float with a couple split shot weights and a small hook.

As for bait: Gulp Alive Pink Trout Worms, Roe, Worms, Pink Hair Jigs, Small Tubes and #1 Mepps Spinners.

 

I think the presentation is ok but maybe the timing is off???

 

well, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

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Guest gbfisher

it's a 'first fish' deal. Once you get one it ends.... :D

Targetting what you want can be a challenge. Only way to fix it is to keep trying. ;)

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It's a learning curve!! Picking the right bait is the least important factor I think, the learning is in reading the water, the seams , the eddies and such and learning the best way to present your offering to the trouties. The actual bait used is not that important if your presentation is correct and your drifting in the right area of the pool. To become a good steelheader be patient, when you choose an area take the time to read the water your drifting, look or seams and such and where you may think the fish are lying and concentrate your efforts on these spots. The better you learn how to read the river, the more success you'll have. It may be true Steelhead are as dumb as any other fish but you do have to present the bait to them very precise somtimes in the areas there holding.

 

 

BINGO!

 

Fresh steelhead are not terribly difficult to hook if your presenting your bait in the right place in the right manner.

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I would suggest hooking up with a fellow fisherman that has fished steelies in the past. If that option is not available, while on the water observe fellow anglers around you. Try to observe their techniques and mimic the presentation. Your first fish will come, patience grasshopper.

 

Good fishing,

Tom

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It's a learning curve!! Picking the right bait is the least important factor I think, the learning is in reading the water, the seams , the eddies and such and learning the best way to present your offering to the trouties. The actual bait used is not that important if your presentation is correct and your drifting in the right area of the pool. To become a good steelheader be patient, when you choose an area take the time to read the water your drifting, look or seams and such and where you may think the fish are lying and concentrate your efforts on these spots. The better you learn how to read the river, the more success you'll have. It may be true Steelhead are as dumb as any other fish but you do have to present the bait to them very precise somtimes in the areas there holding.

 

I think reading the water may be the issue.

Fishing for resident bow's and brown's in smaller rivers and tribs I find easy.

The shallow water spilling into the deeper pools are so visable you can't go wrong.

 

It's when the water is generally moving at the same speed in slightly deeper water (5 to 10 feet) that my problem begins.

So far I've targetted bends and slight changes in water movement. Just need more time to figure it out.

Edited by laszlo

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Wait are you using a baitcaster?

 

Kidding aside. Check out an article by Gord Ellis in OOD last year, gives a bit of a breakdown on reading water and different types of holding area.

 

Look for water that moves about walking speed. Places where fast water meets slow water are good bets.

 

When you pick a place to fish. Make a mental grid of the area and start at the top of the run close to your feet and make successive casts out from there. After you have fished across the river from one position move down a few steps, the dirtier the water the smaller changes in position you should make.

 

One thing that took me a while was getting enough weight under my float. Don't be shy.

 

 

When I was a kid and started out bottom bouncing I fished with my dad and didn't catch a fish the whole first spring. He put on a clinic right beside me. One day it just seems to come together. Keep at it.

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I think reading the water may be the issue.

Fishing for resident bow's and brown's in smaller rivers and tribs I find easy.

The shallow water spilling into the deeper pools are so visable you can't go wrong.

 

It's when the water is generally moving at the same speed in slightly deeper water (5 to 10 feet) that my problem begins.

So far I've targetted bends and slight changes in water movement. Just need more time to figure it out.

 

2 other holding spots to add to the list would be mid water obstructions in a faster area , they will often tuck up close to a rock out of the main current and my favourite is often the tailout section of a larger deep pool where the water starts to become shallower and the current speed quickens rather than the head of the pool where the water speeds in, that is the more common holding place of resident fish.

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Timing is important, but also fishing where there are actually fish is a good start too. Higher concentrations of fish can be found away from the GTA ;)

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timing and presentation

If the bait looks edible and you put it in their face, guess what? Do that by being in the bottom foot or so of water.

 

and when they are being real finicky, then use something slightly different than everyone else is. It may only be a change in colour or size thta gets you onto them.

 

now I'm not Solopaddler, Dave M or Stonefly :)

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Timing is important, but also fishing where there are actually fish is a good start too. Higher concentrations of fish can be found away from the GTA ;)

 

My self made rule:

 

Must drive a 'minimum' of 45 minutes away from the GTA 9 out of 10 times I fish.

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Guest ThisPlaceSucks
When I was a kid and started out bottom bouncing I fished with my dad and didn't catch a fish the whole first spring. He put on a clinic right beside me. One day it just seems to come together. Keep at it.

 

 

i can remember days back in the 90's where we would spend 3 or more days on the water for each fish...

improper floats, cheap split shot, and monstrous hooks..i shudder to think.

 

 

so my advice lazlo would be to make sure you are using the right gear. quality floats, proper steelhead shot, and nice and small hooks...

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I still love bottom bouncing for steelies, thats the way I learned how to fish steelhead it sure is becoming a lost art now but it can be a real effective technique but it takes time to master the feel. Braided lines have simplified the technique somewhat you get some strange looks from the float dudes when your cracking steelies without a float hahahaha

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I agree with the others that say the choice of bait is NOT the most important aspect most of the time. The key is figuring out where the fish are holding and presenting whatever bait into the strike zone.

 

I'm about 2 years ahead of you in the learning curve and I used to think I was always using the wrong baits or leaders or whatever. But in time I when I learned how to manipulate split shots, or spinners to get my bait into the strike zone and I started to do better. And figuring out where the fish are takes time as well. Once you start to catch fish consider the details of the area such as water depth, colour, flow, current breaks etc. Fish don't move around completely random, so try to figure out what attracted the fish to that area. Then you'll start to put together a pattern of where the fish likely are.

 

A piece of advice from someone who was in your shoes not too long ago; At first I tried to fish every river that had steelies running and it was far too much for me to learn. Pick a river or 2 and focus on them. Learn where the fish are in those rivers under different conditions and then you can apply that to new tribs.

 

I'm certainly not an expert at all but I know how you feel, I used to get frustrated with steelie fishing and not catching anything. I'm far from an expert but I've been able to steadily increase the number of fish I get into. It can be a challenge but if you're willing to work at it you'll get it.

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A few years ago this guy took me out steelheading. I wasn't too sure of it and he was going to show me the method for bottom bouncing. He jumped in the river and picked what I was looking at as the best spot.

There was a spot where the fast was meeting alongside the slow water. He was casting out near there but not quite to the spot.

I was above and couldn't get to it while he was there. I told him a few times...Johnny, you gotta get further out to there..there is a fish out there. He just wouldn't do it. He finally gave up and moved off. I stepped in and said, here, he is right in there, and casted to it, I missed by a few feet and took another shot. this one went where I wanted, drifting right into the eddy I had picked out.....BAM fish on.... I just knew there was a fish sitting in there but you gotta get right on top of em.

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getting bait to the bottom is a key........float fishing.....check out how the pros do their split shot......deep pools I like to bulk shot it, just about the 16inches of leader and micro swivel with about 5 grams of weight.....fishing bigger rivers.....

 

fishing faster water at the tail and end of pools....I like to start heavy on top and reduce size and spacing down to the micro swivel.......uses as much weight as the bobber allows...big rivers typically 6gram pikers and 10grams or so........lots of weight.....get it close to bottom.......hook up bottom a few times and adjust the depth of the float so it's just above bottom not hooking up.......i like slip floats with rubbers stoppers for them....

 

check out centrepinfishing.com or some site like that and maybe buy a Raven float fishing guide for 10$..........

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havind the bait float a few inches off can sometimes be the thing that can make a ad day...if you aren't catching anything but you know there are fish in that certain pool raise or lower the float

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As others have said, timing is probably the #1 element to consider. Knowing specific characteristics of certain rivers will give you an advantage. How fast do they clear after rain is probably key. (Some G-Bay tribs you have less then a day of opportunity as they shoot right up to closed water. Slower larger systems and they seem to hold a bit longer pending water conditions.)

 

Then reading water and figuring out what the pattern is: Fast, deep slow pools, pocket water, head or tail, on the seam or right down the gut . Finally and generally less important, but of signifcance, is lure/bait: Colour, size, speed. Under heavy pressured water and when the fish have been in the system for a while...bait then becomes absolutely key. Get a fresh run in and tear a button off your shirt and tie that on...and you'll get em as well.

 

Keep at it and eventually you'll just hit it right one day and you'll nail the snot out of them. After that the confidence level shoots right up and you'll have better results on subsequent trips.

 

Should also mention that streamflow reports are your best friends...and speaking of best friends, having good contacts that live by your favourite rivers that you can call for a first hand report. Takes a while to build up that reference list...but boy is it worth it.

 

Cheers

Edited by waterrunner

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Then theres the days that your trailing your fishing buddies float.......almost bumpin his float in the drift cuz his rods bent all morning long and you cant touch a thing. Ya check his shot pattern......ok, ya check his float depth, ok, ya check his leader diameter, ok........ya check how he finished the head on his fly lol............all matches. But ya just cant buy a fish.

 

Sometimes its all about being in the zone mentally and you can throw all the posts youve read here out the window. Ya might as well go home that day LOL.

 

Ive been on both sides of the fence, had days where i cant go wrong fishing the same drifts as my friend who isnt moving a single fish.

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Timing is key, so is confidence in your bait.

 

I've been learning new water this fall with almost nothing to show for it, I decided to tackle a bigger system then I'm used to and quite frankly I'm useless at it. But with time I'll learn how the new water fishes and start catching. Two days ago I hooked nothing on roe all day (go figure) and then busted out the white jig at the end of the day and took a HUGE chinny (40") and a nice little steelie right at the end of the day.

 

Just keep givin er, youll get em

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One thing I know for sure is that you will never stop learning. I like to try alot of different things everythime i

go out including different roe, sizes, colour and even cures. Switching it us is key when you know there are fish but you arent getting hits. Reading the water and knowing where to go and when is probably the most important. Once you get your first fish you will learn something new everytime, I personal take mental notes of all the different things I try and what works and what the conditions were etc. I think confidence in setting your hook and not being afraid of a snag will give you an edge. Also,...sometimes the Fish just dont bite...lol. Remember if you can see them, chances are they can see you. ;)

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