Winter Steelhead Helpful Hints
A watercolor of Hal Smith's Steelhead
successful with winter steelhead is NOT dressing like you just stepped out of an Orvis
flyshop; it is NOT wading to the tops of your waders and casting 100 feet; it is NOT
having a magic fly; and it is NOT an overdose of Irish luck.
When does the bus come into Town?
Steelhead are interested in taking the fly in two zones. on the surface or on the bottom. Mid water fishing is generally a waste of time FLYLINES NOT FLIES CATCH FISH. I want to be standing in the softest water I think steelhead will lay for that water condition, and cast into the deepest heaviest currents I think the steelhead will comfortably hold. For example, at low lighting and dirty water conditions, I will concentrate on fishing the soft waters in close to shore. For bright water and heavier fishing pressure, I will fish out in the deeper currents. For flys, I prefer stiff patterns such as Skunks and General Practitioners in streamy flows and marabou speys in soft water conditions.
Bright fly bright day, dark fly dark day works. The best tie in the world will not out fish a piece of yarn if the presentation is not right. I do not have the time or space to tell you how I teach presentation but suffice it to say I want a fly close to the river bottom ( for winter fish) and moving slowly across. I can generally get an angler up and fishing effectively in a days fishing. (For those water conditions).
OTHER HELPFUL HINTS
Use good abrasive resistant leader material. The Duncan loop knot is far superior to any of the clinch knots.
You will feel a lot more bites with your rod tip pointing down your flyline. Set your disc drag stiff and don't fish with the flyline between your finger(s) and the cork handle. Let the fish pull the line directly from the reel. Anglers fail me, good reels do not. Leave your non disc drag reels at home.
Here is a note; when you are fishing a pool on a low or moderate height, imagine the water level up a couple feet and see if prominent rocks are found up the bank. If this shoreline maintains a moderate cobbly slope, you have a high water lie. Trust me on this one, I make a living catching fish when the shops are telling everyone the river is "out".
Thats about It for now, if I can answer any questions, just give me an E-mail or phone call. I will try to keep you updated on the fishing as we get farther into year.
If you have any questions or need information just E-mail a note or call me at (360)435-6499 .