Fishing with Rod Discussion Forum

Fishing in British Columbia => General Discussion => Topic started by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 11:20:26 AM

Title: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 11:20:26 AM
Ya I know this subject has been posted and discussed many times in the past. But since we are in an interactive forum and we are about to start the winter steelhead season, why not having some interactive discussions to help out the new steelheaders? The seasoned steelhead rods on this forum can help out the newbies to help them along. I will start with a few pointers:

1) If you are new to steelheading and you are a meat fisherman, just STOP.
2) You will have too many skunked trips to justify your expense vs the meat.
3) Unlike salmon fishing, you shouldn't camp post in one spot all day. Move around and hunt them. It is more fun that way.
4) Stay away from gong show spots. There isn't enough steelhead there to justify 50 rods in one location.
5) No 10' leader and a betty please. LOL. It is time to learn short floating. Rodney has written the instructions for short floating. Read it.
6) Learn to read water and adapt your strategies based on river conditions.

OK. I know I can add a lot more but I will let other top rods add more of their insights. Questions are welcome and please be kind to the newbies. We can talk about the strategies, etiquette, bait & lures, how to read water, etc., etc.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: sbc hris on December 19, 2017, 11:48:36 AM
The basics of successful steelheading are really quite simple as long as you can make effective and accurate drifts. Cover lots of water. Like lots. Donít waste time in one spot unless you know there are fish there, and even at that, if you canít get them to take, donít get stubborn about it. Move on and find active biters. Just pick a presentation that youíre confident in, and start covering water! Fish everything from shallow to deep, fast to slow, and eventually youíll start seeing a pattern to where youíre hooking fish and where they like to hold. Donít get lazy about adjusting your depth!!!! This is more important than whatís on the end of your line IMO. Being that youíll be fishing everything from 1 to 10+ feet deep, youíll have to be adjusting your depth often, sometimes almost every cast depending on the lay of the river. And steelhead will very often come back and bite again after theyíve been hooked once. Sometimes they need 20 mins or so to cool down depending how long they were hooked for, so if you think youíre the only one around, wander off for a bit and fish elsewhere, then come back for another shot at the fish. Keep in mind they often go sit somewhere other than where you originally hooked them, so be thorough. Now, on the other hand, if you think that someone else might pop in and nail that fish while youíre gone, then itís best to just re-bait, change your presentation, or take a quick breather then attempt to hook it again. Donít waste all day doing it though, and if thereís already othere people working the same piece of water, remember to practice rotational angling. If you canít coax it back after a few mins, move on and give the others around you a shot at it. You can learn from observing them too, to see if they hook up, and what they may have done differently than you.
Have fun and be safe everyone!  :)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: wildmanyeah on December 19, 2017, 12:19:51 PM
its not all about the Chillwack/Vedder River, Their are a few other places around the Lower Mainland to target Steelhead like Chehalis River (in the canyon pools) or Nicomen Slough.

Chillwack/Vedder River is probably the most productive
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 12:29:44 PM
I agree the need to adjust for water depth and change up your presentation, especially for very fishy spots. Let me tell you true stories years ago.

Story1: I was fishing between Train Bridge and Bergman one morning w/o success. Then in late morning I saw a fish roll at a deeper fishy spot in lower river that I casted before. Since it was a small spot, I decide to test out different water level and tried everything in my arsenal, roe, shrimp, pink worm, spinners, etc. Only after about 20 minutes of trying and at a certain depth adjustment that I finally had a take down. A fierce battle followed with a large steelie. Wow what a reward, a 16 lbs hatchery buck. It made me wonder how often we missed fish by rushing too fast. I think if you fish a pocket water in the highly oxygenated rapids, you probably will get it to bite within a few cast, perhaps even the first cast. But in lower river where fish have seen many presentations, it may take some repeated effort to get one to bite.

Story2: about 5 years into steelheading, I thought I was a pro, only to learn a bitter & embarrassed lesson. I was fishing with a newbie in a good run which we combed for an hour or more with no result. We used pinky stuffs, roe, worm. Nothing. So I told the newbie there wasn't any fish in the run. How wrong. An old timer guy walked in as we were about to leave. He proceeded to hook 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all of 5 wild steelies right in front of us, with our jaws dropped. We looked closely after a few fish what he used. It was just wool, but with 2-colour combination most guys won't use. That day really opened my eyes and humbled me. It taught me to be open minded and to be willing to try out different things than my mere roe & worm. LOL.

Story3: an old timer friend of mine surely knows something I don't. Years ago, we were heading up river. He stopped at a location near Thurston Meadow camp site, a run called 'the butterfly' (now gone). There were a few cars already there and a few fisherman combing the tiny run. I said let's try somewhere else but he wanted to try it. He looked at others on what they used and proceeded to take out a spinner of a rare form and colour which he told me later only available in the States. I can never forget the sight of him hooking up into 1, 2, 3, 4, four steelies in the small run combed by those guys plus me. After fish # 2, guys were all switching on spinners but not with his colour and shape. He proceeded to hook 2 more while all of us were skunked. Once again it reminds me how steelhead can be so picky on some days. Since then I have acquired and used that spinner and on some days digging out fish among many rods in busy run that just amazes me to no end. Try change up if one thing doesn't work. Don't be lazy.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 19, 2017, 01:23:09 PM
All good advice. Hereís mine: LOW-HOLING. Look it up, dwell on it for awhile, and understand how insulting it is to another angler to step into the river downstream of him (her). Donít assume that person is posting up in that spot all day, most likely they will make their way down through the run and youíll have your chance at it.
 I canít tell you how many times Iíve gotten to an empty run and spent the time to sight out the spot, creep up gingerly and begin a casting grid only to have some chump crash into the water below me without so much as even a nod. River etiquette101: Always start fishing upstream of the last angler in a run. When done properly, everyone fishes down thru the run and then walk back up to top again if you wish to start over. Thank you in advance, JK47
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: fullahead on December 19, 2017, 04:05:50 PM
jk47
       #2
Fullahead
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: MetalAndFeathers on December 19, 2017, 04:27:30 PM
Up north I saw some locals bottom bounce and hook into a two dozen steelhead in an hour or two, they told me steelhead sit on the bottom and like to chase offerrings (spin n glows + roe) along the bottom. Those fish were summer runs (august) so maybe its a different story for winters.

Are you still sure shortfloating is the way to go for steelhead?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 19, 2017, 04:35:09 PM
Gotta agree with Jk47. I gravitate to water where not a lot of anglers fish (often a bush wack in) but some days I don't have a lot of time and will fish around Peach rd or wherever nearby my house. I expect to run into other steelheaders on these runs and 99% of the time it's no big deal. But, nothing gets my blood boiling faster than working my way down a run and some jerk comes crashing in and starts fishing below me. Have had words on more than a few occasions. I get you saw someone hook a fish just below where I am about to start casting and you want to get to it before me, but you didn't, I'm here now, I'm working my way down, so F off and fish above me.

Surprisingly a lot of ppl don't get this simple concept, or just don't care. From this I have learned that if I get to a popular piece of water and no one is there yet, to quickly hit the spots where I suspect fish to be, and if nothing then walk up to the head and fish my way down.

Short anecdote: a day or two prior on a popular lower river Vedder run I had had a wicked take down. Had something big on but it snapped my leader right away. I had not checked my leader in a while and must have had a nick in it. STUPID!! From that day I always check my leader quickly every 15 or so casts. Anyway, I re-rigged and tried to get the fish to commit again with no luck. So days later I am back on the same run and am the first one about 7am. The "spot" was mid run but I thought I'll start at the top and work my way to it. I'm working my way down, nearing the sweet spot, when this ogre comes lumbering in and heads right for the spot. I guess I'm not the only one who knew it was good!! First or second cast he hooks a nice 12 or so lb hatchery!! Yeah, so obviously I'm not impressed. I figure whatever it's done I don't want to ruin my day with a confrontation. After 10 or so min it becomes apparent that this guy is not going moving and intends to fence post. I walk by him, compliment his nice fish, and ask if he minds if I work around him (I'm going to anyway, just trying to be polite). To my surprise his says "yeah, I mind." At first I laughed as I thought he was joking. He was not. I then berated him for low-holing me and then having the gall to ask that I not fish below him.

Lesson learned: if you are the first one on a run, fish the prime water in that run first, as you never know who is going to show up after you, and not everyone is going to fish above you.

Also, as stated already, if you arrive on a run and there is already someone(s) there, start above them and fish your way down. If they are fence posting then exchange quick pleasantries and ask if you can fish around them. No reason why they should say no, unless you run into a real champion like I did the one day.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 04:40:02 PM
"Up north I saw some locals bottom bounce and hook into a two dozen steelhead in an hour or two, they told me steelhead sit on the bottom and like to chase offerrings (spin n glows + roe) along the bottom. Those fish were summer runs (august) so maybe its a different story for winters.
Are you still sure shortfloating is the way to go for steelhead?"


There are other techniques to catch steelhead of course. Just not sure what you mean by bottom bouncing though. There is a true bottom bouncing technique using 2-3 ft leader and a small spin & glo on a pencil lead bouncing along the bottom . It is often used in faster run to slow down the presentation to deep-sitting fish. I use it often for that plus in really low & clear water where even the float may spook the fish. Your idea of it may be different from what I mean. I am referring to folks using a heavy lead betty (2-4 oz) and 10 ft leader. That is a flossing setup used for salmon. What you describe, using bar rigs with spin & glo and roe, is more like bar fishing here on the Fraser for spring salmon or coho. I have seen people doing bar fishing for steelhead in lower Vedder downstream of the H1 bridge and they claim they have success sometimes. Again, it is personal preference of techniques. For me, steelheading is more like hunting the fish down by constant walking, casting and testing out different spots and trying different presentation. Perhaps when I am 80, I will do bar fishing for it. Lol.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: milo on December 19, 2017, 04:45:47 PM
Thanks Jk47 for bringing up the importance of steelheading etiquette. Low-holing is rude and unacceptable.
Be forewarned: If you low-hole ME, I will walk down to you, yank your rod out of your hand, at toss it into the river.

On the other hand, if you come and say hello, and ask me if you can fish below me on an empty run, there's a 95% chance I'll say go ahead, and even help you land your fish if you get lucky.



Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 04:59:59 PM
For the newbies to steelhead, you need to be mentally prepared for steelheading as a hobby. Patience & perseverance is the name of the game. You may not hook a fish in months or in a year or two. It is actually getting harder by the year as there are more people fishing and less steelhead stocking to go around for so many rods in the river. So if you want to stick to this hobby, learn and fish hard and observe the successful steelheaders. You may luck out to catch one or two, but in general newbies will need a steep learning curve and persevere in order to be a successful steelheader. So again if you intend to use steelhead to fill your freezer, it is not the hobby worthy to pursue. Try to get the satisfaction of the challenge and try to count each trip out as a good day out, fish or no fish. You will slowly get more and more in tune with the 'grey ghost' and your success rate will go up. Until then, hang tight.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 19, 2017, 05:38:34 PM
Be forewarned: If you low-hole ME, I will walk down to you, yank your rod out of your hand, at toss it into the river.
;D Lol If I saw Milo marching downstream at me with vengeance in his eyes I would just chuck my rod into the river myself (quickly, before I bolt for cover)  ;D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 19, 2017, 06:46:09 PM
Thanks Jk47 for bringing up the importance of steelheading etiquette. Low-holing is rude and unacceptable.
Be forewarned: If you low-hole ME, I will walk down to you, yank your rod out of your hand, at toss it into the river.

On the other hand, if you come and say hello, and ask me if you can fish below me on an empty run, there's a 95% chance I'll say go ahead, and even help you land your fish if you get lucky.

Funny, I laughed out loud! But hopefully a hyperbole to solidify the steelheading faux paus known as low-holing.

Unless you are the toughest, meanest mofo on the river, I would not consider laying hands on another angler or their gear. I have had my share of verbal exchanges, but I can't imagine getting into a fight over a fish/fishing spot.

I have met and/or trained with enough guys (and gals) that looked like someone you could push around. Surprise! Turns out they are highly trained and could choke out a rhino. Have seen my fair share of large intimidating men get destroyed by much smaller harmless looking men.

Sorry not trying to derail the convo, just please people do not get your teeth knocked out over a fishing spot.

If you are large/intimidating and highly trained, then you can probably safely toss someone's rod in the river and go home with all of your teeth. I prefer to educate anglers and ask them if they are aware they just low-holed me. Some honestly have no idea, are new to steelheading, and take the advice well. Some clearly know better and dont care.



Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: SilverChaser on December 19, 2017, 08:17:01 PM
Awesome thread! I've only been steelheading for around 4 or 5 years now, and all I can say is take your time in a run and fish everything. Don't rush. Often times I find myself rushing through a run for various reasons and I have to settle down and take a breather and remind myself  :D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 19, 2017, 08:21:43 PM
You guys talking about tossing rod and reel into the river just remind me of another never forgotten steelhead story about that. LOL. Years ago, me and a friend were fishing a nice long run with some others already there. About 8am or so no one hooked anything. But this run was above a large turbulent pool without good access. So any moment new fish could move into the nice run above from the pool. Sure enough about half an hour later, people were beginning to hook steelies one after an other, sometimes double and triple headers. There were 10 fish landed, 9 were hatch and mine the only wild one (lol). Then it died down. Two guys beside us had kept their hatch and were sitting back happily talking about their catch, leaving their other friend trying very hard to catch his so they could go home. But no more hit.

Then all of a sudden, something incredible happened. The friend without a fish yelled out loud cursing his bad luck with (*&^% words, and before we knew what was happening, a nice set of steelhead rod & reel was thrown into the river by this guy. He kept on yelling and cursing and stormed out of the run, with his 2 friends now gingerly and quietly following him out. With our jaws dropped, we realized what had just happened. Instantly everyone was casting to the vicinity of the the spot where the rod & reel landed in the river. LOL. But to no avail. No one could get it back. My friend who happened to stand beside this guy said he thinks that rod is a St. Croix. Oh man! Some steelhead insanity there. Lol.

So Milo, no need to chuck the rod & reel for the guy. Just fish around him and catch fish after fish, skunking him to the point he will probably chuck his rod and reel in frustration himself.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: milo on December 19, 2017, 08:34:14 PM
Funny, I laughed out loud! But hopefully a hyperbole to solidify the steelheading faux paus known as low-holing

Of course, SSack. A bit of exaggeration never hurts to send the point accross.
I only flash a handgun and make a couple warning shots these days. :P

Incidentally, the ONLY time I ever went down in a bar brawl, was courtesy of  a Bulgarian guy half my size. And he only hit me once, a well-placed uppercut to the chin. :o
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 19, 2017, 08:50:27 PM
On the other hand, if you come and say hello, and ask me if you can fish below me on an empty run, there's a 95% chance I'll say go ahead, and even help you land your fish if you get lucky.
This is the etiquette part that a lot of people donít seem to get. A little friendly conversation and polite request to join goes a long way. Heck, I even ALWAYS ask if a person doesnít mind me dropping in ABOVE them, ESPECIALLY in an otherwise deserted run. No, it isnít their river- or yours or mine - but it is their space and tranquility, so respect is due.
Anyways, enough about low-dogginí letís hear more tips.
Hereís one: Iím not saying lots of people havenít, but I myself personally have never caught a steelhead before like 9 a.m. You donít have to be there at first light, relax...have your coffee, tie your leaders. I donít think steelhead turn off after first light like coho. Almost all my steelhead have been caught between 10 a.m and 1 p.m.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: obie1fish on December 19, 2017, 09:16:12 PM
My tip: tie good knots.
Use spit to avoid burning the line. There are times when you are in a hurry, or your hands are cold, or you're lazy, and don't want to pay attention to the particulars. Take the extra few seconds to do it right. And if it's not, cut it and retie. If you aren't sure about the knot, look it up on the interweb and practice at home.

Find knots that work for you. Here are mine:

Egg loop- for the hook
Palomar- for swivels and lures. (Doubled Palomar for braid)
Trilene- for any other areas or if my fingers aren't working the Palomar correctly (e.g., cold)
Double uni- for mono to mono
FG- for braid to mono or fluorocarbon

And yes, you CAN tie these! My hands are pretty big, and all it takes me is time and good directions. If you're on the water and have a brain fart, don't be afraid to ask for help, with knots or anything else. And if you really bing it up, then have a good laugh at your expense. It's supposed to be fun, right?

Good luck, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the moments!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Dave on December 19, 2017, 09:17:43 PM
Incidentally, the ONLY time I ever went down in a bar brawl, was courtesy of  a Bulgarian guy half my size. And he only hit me once, a well-placed uppercut to the chin. :o

That would make the Bulgarian about 4' tall  ;)
Happy b'day bud.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 19, 2017, 10:04:07 PM
Of course, SSack. A bit of exaggeration never hurts to send the point accross.
I only flash a handgun and make a couple warning shots these days. :P

Incidentally, the ONLY time I ever went down in a bar brawl, was courtesy of  a Bulgarian guy half my size. And he only hit me once, a well-placed uppercut to the chin. :o

Haha no worries and no disrespect intended. I have just met so many highly skilled and tough as nails individuals who looked like they bagged groceries for Safeway. I don't like to assume I can "take" any random stranger. You just never know who you are dealing with and what they are capable of. That being said some people do need to be put in their place, and sometimes a "friendly" (or less than) conversation is in order.

Anyway, on to a more useful topic, steelheading tips! I like the tip by Jk47. I have also heard by many better steelheaders than I not to bother with first light. Myself I just cant leave to go fishing at 9 or 10am. I feel like Ive wasted the morning that could have been spent fishing. I typically zoom to a run I like and fish it before anyone else. I feel satisfied that I was the first one to wet a line there that morning. After 9am or whatever when others show up I feel more relaxed that I had first crack at the water. I've hooked some steelies at first light but admittedly most were after 10am.

I learned a lot from this discussion years ago. All tips still valid and useful:

http://www.fishingwithrod.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=34595.0


Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: milo on December 20, 2017, 10:42:26 AM
That would make the Bulgarian about 4' tall  ;)
Happy b'day bud.

Well, he was about 5'1, but not an inch taller.  :o
Thanks for the B-day wishes...catching up with you. ;)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: psd1179 on December 20, 2017, 11:29:30 AM
Well, he was about 5'1, but not an inch taller.  :o
Thanks for the B-day wishes...catching up with you. ;)

Regarding the body size, half size means half of the body volume. So Milo height is cube root of 2 times than the Bulgarian. Milo is 6'4", am I right?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 20, 2017, 11:57:53 AM
Let's don't get side stepped into body shape and size contest. We have enough sites talking about the Kardashians, LOL. Back to the subject of steelhead strategies, no one is talking about ideal steelhead water and where steelhead may sit, and how to read water. Any inputs from the top rods?

One suggestion from me is that steelhead can sit in really shallow water, even 1 to 2 ft water near the edge, particularly in early morning or when the river is too high that they have to hide from strong currents. So don't rush out to the edge of the river at first. Try to stay back and cast near shore and work slowly out. Also try to use rubber tubing so you can change up the weight of pencil lead quickly. Drifting near shore slower water may need shorter lead so there is still a good drift in shallow and slow water.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: milo on December 20, 2017, 02:29:55 PM
Regarding the body size, half size means half of the body volume. So Milo height is cube root of 2 times than the Bulgarian. Milo is 6'4", am I right?

Holy smokes! Bang on!
You are a math genius.  :o

And to avoid incurring Steelhawk's wrath, here's my piece of advice: steelhead will take ANYTHING, even a cigarette butt if presented properly. So give the roe a break (especially if everybody on that run is fishing roe), and try some artificials (single eggs, plastic worms, jigs, spinners, spoons...the list goes on).
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 20, 2017, 02:59:47 PM
I considered myself a pretty good salmon rod before I actually started fishing for winter steelhead. So my first Winter (all geared up and full of steam) I started early in December, and by March I surely had put in 50 hours of fishing at least, without a fish  :'(
After more practice with fall salmon the next year, December came along again and this year I was going to catch a Steelhead!! Well, low and behold I DID and it was an absolutely beautiful chrome buck of about 15 lbs - Hatchery! Iíll never forget that first fish! The take, the fight, what a specimen of a fish!
But that fish came after about another 50 hours of steelheading that second winter. So all in all I literally fished 100 solid hours before I caught a steelhead. I like to think I deserved that fish.
Put in the leg work, read books on steelheading, and learn a few runs really well (as has been mentioned in another thread) and be prepared to spend many many days getting skunked.
BTW: After that first fish they started CLIMBING onto my hook!! Weird..... ;)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: psd1179 on December 20, 2017, 03:11:29 PM
I hooked and lost one steelhead in my first trip and nothing the next 5 trips to Vedder. To be a better steelhead fisherman, you'd better live in Chilliwack.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 20, 2017, 05:46:59 PM
I hooked and lost one steelhead in my first trip
Lucky you. Thats the only way to to look at it. So 5 trips later no fish? Thatís nothin! Like I said, put in the legwork. 5 trips is pretty mediocre as far as ďSteelheading LegworkĒ goes to be honest. Lower your expectations and enjoy the beauty of being out. Thatís when I find I start catching fish.
I also have some superstitions when it comes to steelheading. One of them (Iíve read this on this forum, too) is to fish like you KNOW thereís a fish holding behind that rock or along that rifle. I know many times Iíve hooked up, its right as Iím telling myself - almost out loud -ď There HAS TO BE A FISH THERE, there just HAS to beĒ - JK
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: mikeyman on December 20, 2017, 07:50:37 PM
I used to get out more. Fish more. Scout the river. Fish it. Would hit fish in certain spots and within spots. Once I had 6 or so go to areas. I would hit them up and most likely would produce atleast a fish every trip. If not multiple fish per trip. But hey lets be honest. Dependent on the year and strength of the return. We all get skunked sometimes. That was my system. Also obviously make sure u felt u fished the run over properly. With confedence. The more u go the more u will catch. High percentage spots. Steelhead will sit in the same spots time and time again. Try a few baits sure. Fish what u feel confident with. I am a bait guy. Roe bugs. Roe sacks. Shrimp. Blades in the spring when i run out of bugs. Roe post salmon spawn earlier season. Jensen eggs in clear low conditions. Pink worm in higher color conditions. Grid water. Cast more in fishy spots. Less in not so fishy spots. If there is lots of pressure watch others and cast and fish spots they didnt. Or spots that are walked by. Steelhead will sit in water u wouldnt think to even cast to. Especially on those days. It was awsome when we had the time to find productive pockets or slicks where there was typically no pressure that would hold fish. Rock paper scissors on who got first cast cause sometimes it seemed it would be odd to not catch one.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Knnn on December 21, 2017, 10:52:50 AM
Fish a river that no one else does and you will find you do not need a lot of tips and tricks, swing a spoon and if they are there you will catch fish.  Steelhead are no more intelligent or spooky than Coho.  They are only a fish of a thousand casts on high pressure rivers.  So hit the high percentage water and cover water fast and then faster still.  Some of the top rods I have watched hardly ever stand still and will cover 5-10 km of water in a morning.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 21, 2017, 11:39:21 AM
I found this out about covering kms of water when I was a newbie. In my first year, the first 6 months from September to March were spent in futility. Not a steelhead and even not a salmon. Lol. Even my family was questioning why I still went out or even if I really went fishing at all as I had nothing to show. By March I had the luck of a friend's friend taking me out to 'show' me how to fish. He is a 'kingfisher', and he reassured me while driving out to the Vedder we would catch steelies that day. I didn't believe it but after being tucked along for kms of river, even being dragged across shallow section of the river to the other side and seeing him casting to so many 'fishy' spots, and with 2 steelies by 11am (which he released), I began to realize what it takes to be a great steelheader. I have since hooked into many steelhead by walking and casting all day instead of camp posting at a spot. It is much more fun to hunt down a steelie than waiting for it to bump into your hook. Lol.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: stsfisher on December 21, 2017, 11:49:03 AM
Gain confidence in the offerings you choose, but do not overwhelm yourself with every offering in the tackle store. I would say 95% of newbies arm themselves with far to many presentations and take little time to actual figure out the in's and outs of each presentation.

AND threads like these will help very little without time on the water to gain that confidence. Do not expect fish, expect to learn every time out and you will be rewarded at a later date.


Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Silex-user on December 21, 2017, 02:56:14 PM
Fish a river that no one else does and you will find you do not need a lot of tips and tricks, swing a spoon and if they are there you will catch fish.  Steelhead are no more intelligent or spooky than Coho.  They are only a fish of a thousand casts on high pressure rivers.  So hit the high percentage water and cover water fast and then faster still.  Some of the top rods I have watched hardly ever stand still and will cover 5-10 km of water in a morning.

So true. I guess I added my 2 cent worth here. First of all I still keep open mind in my passion of fishing for these elusive steelies. I always watch what other fisherman or gals are using even thought I am closing in 40 years of chasing these metalheads. I have spend  1 season fishing for steelheads in Washington state so far. I watch and adapt some parts in their style in fishing for them. Only change which I have not done is using a spinning reel and short drift rods. I would say 70% fisherman used them. I still stick to my centerpin and baitcasting reels and Sage drift rods. They do lots of BB fishing with small corkies or yarn(puff balls) or baits and short leaders. Guys in drift boats used plug lures fishing and bogging doggin with big fat floats.

In another thing I like to mention is please don't dragged the steelhead 5 feet up the shore unless it is hatchery steelhead you intend to keep. I seen these action before (Vedder River) I know lot people get excited about catching a steelhead and try to identified your catch if it hatchery or wild while it still in water.

Futhermore, don't fish besided another fisherman unless you know him this is not salmon fishing. I had guys stand 10 feet from me before until told them  when I swing my centerpin its going hit them.

I don't consider myself expert steelheader and I intend to learn something new everytime I fished for them.

See you guys in local flow soon. Enjoy. :)


Siles user
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: John Revolver on December 22, 2017, 11:57:51 AM
1> River etiquette , no low holing!!!. Be sure to fish hard and cycle through many spots

2> LEARN Steelhead migration and behavioral patterns

3>MATCH presentation to water temp,clarity

4> make peace with not getting into a fish. stay focused , keep having fun and it WILL happen for you

5> use radically different stuff. Pink worms and jensen eggs be damned!

6> Start a run with Bait and work the run fast > start the run over again with some metal or a jig and work run even faster > start again from the top with a worm or another impact bait and blitz through the run.  >  go off and find another spot.

7> Tie everything using a non-slip loop knot and always put some wool with your roe or jenny egg so it can get tangled up in the fish's teeth.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 22, 2017, 02:28:56 PM
I don't have any great steel heading stories/lessons to share as I am relatively new (5ish years) to this pursuit. But I will advise on one thing to bring along that I learned the hard way - toilet paper!
Went out one morning a couple years back. No brown trout before I left home. I figured no big deal, if I have to go I'll just wrap things up at the run I'm on and hit a gas station. Around lunch time I was fishing a run above Tamahai, about a 15 min walk from my vehicle. Suddenly it hit me - anal urgency! I tried to make it back to my truck but I knew it was not going to happen. Next thing you know my clothes are coming off faster than an X rated movie, trying to get my damn waders down! I had no t/p, and the only thing "usable" around were some giant, wet, gritty, muddy leaves :'( I did the best job I could and had to fish the rest of the day with a gritty/muddy butt crack. Not nice!
Now in the same big zip lock I keep a few garbage bags and smaller zip lock roe bags, I have a small pack of "wet ones" along with a small roll of t/p. If you have to take a beef dip in the woods you'll be glad you brought this stuff!!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: bkk on December 22, 2017, 03:20:53 PM
You did wash your hands right?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Fish Assassin on December 22, 2017, 04:18:06 PM
Have you consider wearing hip waders ? ;D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Noahs Arc on December 22, 2017, 05:40:05 PM
I don't have any great steel heading stories/lessons to share as I am relatively new (5ish years) to this pursuit. But I will advise on one thing to bring along that I learned the hard way - toilet paper!
Went out one morning a couple years back. No brown trout before I left home. I figured no big deal, if I have to go I'll just wrap things up at the run I'm on and hit a gas station. Around lunch time I was fishing a run above Tamahai, about a 15 min walk from my vehicle. Suddenly it hit me - anal urgency! I tried to make it back to my truck but I knew it was not going to happen. Next thing you know my clothes are coming off faster than an X rated movie, trying to get my damn waders down! I had no t/p, and the only thing "usable" around were some giant, wet, gritty, muddy leaves :'( I did the best job I could and had to fish the rest of the day with a gritty/muddy butt crack. Not nice!
Now in the same big zip lock I keep a few garbage bags and smaller zip lock roe bags, I have a small pack of "wet ones" along with a small roll of t/p. If you have to take a beef dip in the woods you'll be glad you brought this stuff!!

You just described pretty much 50% of my trips hahahaha
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: losos on December 22, 2017, 07:24:58 PM
Always bring a bar of soap for when you catch cupcakes .
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: wildmanyeah on December 22, 2017, 08:04:24 PM
IF someone comes up to you and asks you if you caught any always make sure to lie and tell them "no but u talked to some guys and they had some success somewhere else on the river."
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: bigblockfox on December 22, 2017, 08:37:46 PM
one of my newer fishing buddies had 2 double egg breakfast sandwiches from a&w for breakfast. lets just say he payed for it for the rest of the day. now whenever he comes out he needs an hour of bathroom time before hes ready to go.

this thread is full of gold stories lol
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Drewhill on December 22, 2017, 10:06:43 PM
Guys, I hate to say it but if we're talking Vedder and Chilliwack you're probably going to get low-holed so if there's a part of the run you think will produce fish hit it first then go back up and work down. Expecting to go into a run on a river like the Vedder that's highly populated and working your way down without anyone jumping in, which could take quite a long time, is simply unrealistic. These aren't island rivers or up north rivers with less pressure.

As far as fence posting, I know quite a few guys that fence post and catch more steelhead than most guys on this site. Everyones definition of fun is different. These guys will bring some chairs, food, brews and fish for a while then chill and fish again and make a great day out of it.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: greyghost on December 22, 2017, 11:55:19 PM
Guys, I hate to say it but if we're talking Vedder and Chilliwack you're probably going to get low-holed so if there's a part of the run you think will produce fish hit it first then go back up and work down. Expecting to go into a run on a river like the Vedder that's highly populated and working your way down without anyone jumping in, which could take quite a long time, is simply unrealistic. These aren't island rivers or up north rivers with less pressure.

As far as fence posting, I know quite a few guys that fence post and catch more steelhead than most guys on this site. Everyone's definition of fun is different. These guys will bring some chairs, food, brews and fish for a while then chill and fish again and make a great day out of it.
Well said!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: greyghost on December 23, 2017, 12:11:39 AM
I love fishing behind guys who blitz through the water. Just like the guy I fished behind on a good section of water and hooked and landed 6 winter-runs after he went through. The only reason I stopped fishing was the 6th fish was hatchery and retained. Pretty sure he was on suicide watch that day, especially after I walked by him and said ď I think there are a few fish around!Ē

This was 2 seasons ago! Hope he is a member on this forum so he can reply and tell us his side of the story!

 ;D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on December 23, 2017, 12:23:11 AM
I love your story. That in a way supports what I mentioned in one of my stories posted earlier, getting outfished 5-0 after we already combed the run over and over for 1 hour. I am glad I am not the guy you mention as my story was over 15 years ago. But the feeling of hurt and humiliation as well as humility all felt the same. So did you fish with that special 2-colour wool pattern? Lol.

Saying that, I have done similar catches over others often too. May not be 6-0 or 5-0 but 2-0 has happened often with the special spinner that I talked about in one of my stories. When that happen in busy runs where many rods have just passed through, and then hooking those fish right after them, they just scratch their heads not knowing what just happened. Lol.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Shinny on December 23, 2017, 03:18:58 PM
IF someone comes up to you and asks you if you caught any always make sure to lie and tell them "no but u talked to some guys and they had some success somewhere else on the river."

Whatís the point of this? Iíve never understood...  Are you afraid that the person asking is going to stand beside you and cast away trying to catch a fish geez... if/when someone asks me if I caught a fish a tell them the truth, heck even show them what I caught it on and exchange a few stories with a smile...maybe even learn something myself. Guess thatís just how I roll, usually pretty ecstatic if I have a fish in the bag and donít mind talking about it.

You say some strange things sir... like the comment in the Boxing Day fishing derby proposing they cancel it this year and urging people to not post pics on social media  ::)

I don't have any great steel heading stories/lessons to share as I am relatively new (5ish years) to this pursuit. But I will advise on one thing to bring along that I learned the hard way - toilet paper!
Went out one morning a couple years back. No brown trout before I left home. I figured no big deal, if I have to go I'll just wrap things up at the run I'm on and hit a gas station. Around lunch time I was fishing a run above Tamahai, about a 15 min walk from my vehicle. Suddenly it hit me - anal urgency! I tried to make it back to my truck but I knew it was not going to happen. Next thing you know my clothes are coming off faster than an X rated movie, trying to get my damn waders down! I had no t/p, and the only thing "usable" around were some giant, wet, gritty, muddy leaves :'( I did the best job I could and had to fish the rest of the day with a gritty/muddy butt crack. Not nice!
Now in the same big zip lock I keep a few garbage bags and smaller zip lock roe bags, I have a small pack of "wet ones" along with a small roll of t/p. If you have to take a beef dip in the woods you'll be glad you brought this stuff!!

This is the reason I try and avoid a coffee on the ride out. 30 mins into fishing my eyes are turning brown and Iím squirming all over. Luckily the last time this happened I was deep in the chehalis canyon with plenty of moss around... honestly besides feeling like a Neanderthal it was pretty refeshing. I also have some crap tickets in my bag now.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 23, 2017, 05:03:40 PM
You did wash your hands right?

Honestly no. I was totally unprepared! But now I carry a little hotel bar of soap in with my wipes. Have not had to use it since "the incident" but I like knowing that I'm prepared if the unexpected happens. :o

I did manage to hook one steelhead that day after my pinch-bum-shuffle to the woods. Gives new meaning to the term "stink bait." ;D
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: chromeo on December 25, 2017, 01:19:44 PM
How do ppl figure fishing popular rivers that your not gonna get low holed?  I grew up fishing amongst others and share waters freely.  Plenty of fish to go around and if you catch a fish or get to a spot before me congratulations.  I enjoy watching someone enjoy the fight as much as i do.  Ive caught many many steelhead and learned its egos and self entitled attitudes killing the sport of steelheading more than low holeing.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 25, 2017, 02:19:18 PM
How do ppl figure fishing popular rivers that your not gonna get low holed?  I grew up fishing amongst others and share waters freely.  Plenty of fish to go around and if you catch a fish or get to a spot before me congratulations.  I enjoy watching someone enjoy the fight as much as i do.  Ive caught many many steelhead and learned its egos and self entitled attitudes killing the sport of steelheading more than low holeing.

Hmmmm...I think you are missing the point.

I suppose there are different schools of thought on low holing. I personally feel it's rude and unacceptable, and if I arrive on a run and another angler(s) are already there I will always walk above him/her/them and start my first drift there. I like the idea that someone posted earlier in this discussion that in some case they will ask to fish ABOVE someone. I probably would not bother doing this on a busy lower river run, but if it was a more secluded run, especially a short one, I plan to adopt the practice of asking the person(s) if they mind if I drop in above them. It all boils down to respect, courtesy, manners.

The other school of thought seems to be "you don't own the river, and I can fish where I want." There is no law prohibiting low-holing, so if you are a low-holer then you are well within your rights to do so. Be warned though, you aren't going to make any friends and no one is going to give you a sniff of info, no one will loan you their pen to mark your license if you forgot yours, and so on, you get the idea.

The following is not my story, a buddy told it to be years ago, but it illustrates my point.

He was fishing a somewhat secluded run. People know about it, but it's a ways out of the way. My friend is by himself nearing the bottom 1/3rd of the run. Suddenly another angler appears out of the treeline, and heads right for the tail out. No nod, no can I cut in below you I'm short on time, nothing. A few drifts in the guy hooks into a big steelhead, buddy guessed 15lbs. As you might imagine he is pissed as he stood a good chance of hooking this fish as he was closing in on the tail out.

Now my buddy is a super nice guy. Normally he would reel in, put down his rod, and walk down and offer to help the guy land the fish. But he thought, nah, deal with it yourself. I would have done the same thing. So the guy has the fish more or less played out and puts his rod down and tries to grab the leader and deal with the fish (not sure if it was hatchery or wild). Well the fish snookered him and took off!! :D ;D As it took off the rod and reel went for a ride along the rocks/gravel. Buddy said it was all he could do not to burst out laughing as the guys center pin bounced off rocks and went into the river. The guy managed to grab his rod before it went in the drink and now is back playing it again. Snap! Fish breaks him off and is now gone. If that was not bad enough, my friend said after this the guy had his spool off and is examining his reel with concern. Likely got debris in his bearings or something like that. He left without a word.

Morale of the story is often you need a hand on the river, and you will not find many or any volunteers if you are a jerk.

Seems many people assume the ethics/expectations of steelheading are the same as fall salmon fishing. They are not. At the end of the day - fish however you like as long as it's legal.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: GordJ on December 25, 2017, 06:13:37 PM
I would like to point out that the vast majority of people fishing in the Lower Mainland have no idea that there is a protocol for fishing. They donít go online, they donít hang out at Fredís, they donít subscribe to SS and T and they have no idea that they low holed you. I have fished with some very experienced still water anglers were are shocked when I called them fence posts because they had never heard of rotational angling. There is a huge difference between ignorance and rudeness.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Silex-user on December 25, 2017, 07:11:09 PM
Fence post fisherman? you know how heavy for them to carry that big rock to run/pool and to stand on to fished? ;D of course they are going stand there all day. :



Silex user
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: bobby b on December 25, 2017, 08:27:14 PM
All hope is not lost.

Was out the other day and had a run to myself.  Two guys showed up and went below me, but before casting, one turned to me and asked "ok if we fish down here"?  i replied that it was fine but i'd be making my way through there as I was working my way down the run. They both said ok no prob we will go above you and follow you through the run.
Even though I said OK they still fished behind me...  Respect!    This was on the Vedder too.

In the past I woulda been pissed as they headed for the low hole....life is too short though, I dont mind so much anymore....last year I consistently caught Steelies while fishing behind others.
Cover water and work through the run a few times and move on.



Merry xmas everyone and good luck out there.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Stantonius on December 25, 2017, 10:38:22 PM
Here's my new way of thinking when someone/s cut into my run. I will say first though, that if they hook a steelie right below you it's hard to keep this frame of mind, but here it is...  I too use to get upset when people would just walk in and start hitting the prime water that you so patiently have worked towards, but what has helped is to change my mindset and start observing where they're putting their offerings and then working the pockets, riffles and water they haven't. For example, if they're dropping 5-10ft in front, then go farther out, if they're hitting the middle or far bank, then fish right in front, and if it looks like they're hitting everything, they're not because your presentation will always be different. If they're treading hard and disturbing water, then slow your speed down the run, and look for a boulder or drop because the fish are likely to come your way and sit there. There's many more strategies you can take when observing a person/s ahead of you, and I'm sure this is nothing new to many of you, but it makes hitting water behind someone a great mental challenge and it's quite satisfying when you hook into a fish right where the person that low holed you was fishing :)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Tylsie on December 26, 2017, 12:10:24 PM
I have a question about low holing. A few years ago there used to be a series of runs (long gone now I believe) that were basically a maybe 20 - 25 yard long pools divided by maybe 10 yards of shallows then another hole. There was about 4 of these in a row for maybe 100yds total. Now, would these be considered 4 separate holes so that if a person was just about 2/3rds of the way down one you could jump into the one below and not be low holing? Would they all be considered one hole (Run) or just leave if you are going to enter below a person leave a  pool between you. In short, how much of river does a person claim before being low-holed?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Fish Assassin on December 26, 2017, 12:53:09 PM

 In short, how much of river does a person claim before being low-holed?

That is an excellent question. One would think from reading some of the posts that everyone should start at the Limit Hole and work their way down. :P
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: poper on December 26, 2017, 01:55:29 PM
I have a question about low holing. A few years ago there used to be a series of runs (long gone now I believe) that were basically a maybe 20 - 25 yard long pools divided by maybe 10 yards of shallows then another hole. There was about 4 of these in a row for maybe 100yds total. Now, would these be considered 4 separate holes so that if a person was just about 2/3rds of the way down one you could jump into the one below and not be low holing? Would they all be considered one hole (Run) or just leave if you are going to enter below a person leave a  pool between you. In short, how much of river does a person claim before being low-holed?

If thereís 4 holes in a 100yard stretch, you start at the top and fish all 4 in a row, then walk back up and go threw again if you want to, thatís what I would do, but if your fishing the vedder, look for a guy that hooked a fish, then cut in just below him, throw your old bag of roe and coffee cup on the shore, fire up a joint, crack a beer, throw the can in the river, if no action, head back to the truck and throw all your garbage bags out at the first pull off after tamihi, crack a beer and drive back down to lower part of the river and repeat.   :)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: bobby b on December 26, 2017, 03:05:16 PM
Your mixing A-holing and Lo-holing ....which sometimes i s'pose could be the same thing..
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Jk47 on December 26, 2017, 05:59:31 PM
Hereís my rule of thumb: if you canít make out what Iím saying if I were to shout upriver at you as loud as I can, Iím probably safe to fish below you. If the spot i want to fish is within ear shot to hold a reasonable conversation then thatís exactly what Iíll do if I think youíre posting - start up a conversation and ask if youíre fishing through or staying put and if you wouldnít mind if I went below you.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Spawn Sack on December 26, 2017, 07:35:18 PM
Alright I think we have flogged low-holing to death :o

Haters are gonna hate, and low-holders are gonna low-hole. That's just how it is. If you don't want to low-hole someone/anyone, and are worried you might be low-holing other anglers, my advice would be "when in doubt - go above." It just takes a minute. If they are fence posting or moving very slow, then ask to pass them and carry on your way. It's courtesy and common sense - don't over think it.

I'll chuck in another tip not directly related to tackle or presentation etc. Cold hands! It's hard to fish if your digits are frozen, especially with a center pin reel...that ice cold metal disc in direct contact with your rod hand - oh my! Obviously some sort of gloves are in order, I like fingerless wool. Any type of full finger gloves are a bit of a pain I find as you get poor feel on the reel, and hard to find gloves with enough friction on the reel for hooksets. When the temp drops I do two extra things to keep my hands/fingers warm. First take a hot-pocket and place on each wrist, right on your veins. Don't do the wrist cuffs up too tight as they need air circulation to stay warm. The hot pockets will warm the blood going to your hands. Noticeable difference. The second tip I like if it is raining. I'll wear a pair of black nitrile gloves under my fingerless wool gloves. They cut the wind just enough to make a difference vs bare skin, and your skin does not get wet/damp. Yeah you sweat a bit from the inside, but I find not so noticeable in the cold. If it's raining and not that cold out I'll sometimes go just nitrile gloves and no wool fingerless over them. Don't wear the blue gloves. They are thin and tear easily, plus you look like a bit of a prostate examining weirdo IMO ::)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Noahs Arc on December 26, 2017, 09:31:08 PM
I have a question about low holing. A few years ago there used to be a series of runs (long gone now I believe) that were basically a maybe 20 - 25 yard long pools divided by maybe 10 yards of shallows then another hole. There was about 4 of these in a row for maybe 100yds total. Now, would these be considered 4 separate holes so that if a person was just about 2/3rds of the way down one you could jump into the one below and not be low holing? Would they all be considered one hole (Run) or just leave if you are going to enter below a person leave a  pool between you. In short, how much of river does a person claim before being low-holed?

To me, on the Vedder if thereís a tail out between us itís all good. On other systems, if I can see you youíre too close.

Edit: if I walk into a juicy run on the Vedder and nobody is around, I will fish the meat and potatoes right away quickly before moving to the head.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Apennock on January 01, 2018, 12:40:34 PM
Could one of you veteran steelheaders sheíd some light on the best time of day to target steelhead?

Iíve always been unsure whether to shoot for sunrise/sunset like salmon or midday for higher water temp like a feeding trout?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: greyghost on January 01, 2018, 01:47:15 PM
Could one of you veteran steelheaders sheíd some light on the best time of day to target steelhead?

Iíve always been unsure whether to shoot for sunrise/sunset like salmon or midday for higher water temp like a feeding trout?
Any time during the day!!!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: obie1fish on January 01, 2018, 01:54:34 PM
Apennock, the best time to catch a steelhead is when you are there and your line is in the water. There will be times- first light, last light, midday, sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy- that you know you fished well and absolutely nothing came from it. Then there are those times you fish like crap, bumbling and stumbling through the day, yet still get great numbers (whatever that is for you).

In the first case, be happy that you fished well, and that on another day you would have been handsomely rewarded for your skill. In the second, take the money and run, knowing you were rewarded for just being there, and knowing that it won't always be like that, but for today, it was, because you were there.

Just get out there.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: spoiler on January 01, 2018, 02:19:57 PM
I would say with the current weather conditions you would be best to go out at 10:00am and fish until around 2:00pm or later if you wish.
in the 50 years I have been fishing the Vedder for Steelhead, I have found when the water gets real cold the fish are most active around noon.
Even when I get up early to secure a spot, I usually don't hook fish until around 9 or 10am.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Noahs Arc on January 01, 2018, 02:35:53 PM
Any time of day. I have caught fish first cast all the way to last cast. If I miss a fish late in the day you will be dam sure I am on that same rock for first light the next morning.

The most important, is to go when you have the time to go. Top rods spend countless hours wandering up and down their favourite stretches of rivers getting to know the water intimately.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: flyrod on January 01, 2018, 03:14:43 PM
When I go out first light in January and February I usually don't get my first steely until mid March!!!!  Therefore, I don't go out early unless the temperature is around 10-15 degrees.....love a warm bed in the morning on my day off!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: stsfisher on January 01, 2018, 04:43:56 PM
the best time to catch a steelhead is when you are there and your line is in the water[/b].

Top rods spend countless hours wandering up and down their favourite stretches of rivers getting to know the water intimately.

Not much more to be said. If you can fish first light until dark, do it often, but know the water you are fishing better than you fish.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: John Revolver on January 01, 2018, 07:09:43 PM
I used to like hitting the water at very first light . After I've had a few seasons, and a few fish, under my belt  I learned that all of my action takes place later in the day.  Water temp plays a huge factor .  Also,  with a system like the C/V , which is essentially a factory river , fish will get pounded and pounded and pounded with all sorts of stuff and will spook and hide into slots that are sometimes hard to reach.

I've also observed that a lot of the times people throw stuff that is way to big , way to flashy , huge weights and huge floats ect. which can all cause Steelhead to spook and be tight lipped so it helps to get the first couple of shots at a run.

With all that being said, during the regular season I like to start 9-10am. When super ultra primetime hits I tend to put a bit more effort getting to a run before first light

I'm far from an expert. These are just my observations over time
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on January 04, 2018, 11:34:42 PM
Honestly what is the fun in having no sleep and just be there at first light so you can catch a hatch in the good runs and then go home, as you can't continue to fish after retaining the 1st fish? There isn't much challenge except the challenge of beating everybody to the top runs after stressing yourself out of bed. Lol. I rather take my time and work the pocket waters miles upon miles of river and rapids.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: greyghost on January 05, 2018, 12:57:56 AM
The day that I get stressed when I wake up early will be the last day I fish. I donít see that happening!
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: mikeyman on January 05, 2018, 01:04:42 AM
Stressed that 5 fish were hit in the run before I showed up at noon. Thats cool. Leave the first light first water for us stressed out fishermen.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: greyghost on January 05, 2018, 01:10:01 AM
Stressed that 5 fish were hit in the run before I showed up at noon. Thats cool. Leave the first light first water for us stressed out fishermen.
ROTFLMAO 😂
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Noahs Arc on January 05, 2018, 03:59:58 PM
Honestly what is the fun in having no sleep and just be there at first light so you can catch a hatch in the good runs and then go home, as you can't continue to fish after retaining the 1st fish? There isn't much challenge except the challenge of beating everybody to the top runs after stressing yourself out of bed. Lol. I rather take my time and work the pocket waters miles upon miles of river and rapids.

Who said anything about bonking a hatch at first light??
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Wiseguy on January 05, 2018, 04:16:34 PM
First light doesn't pay off for steelhead on the Vedder. Maybe it does for salmon season? I wouldn't know, gave that up a long time ago due to the "meat crowd mentality" during salmon season on the Vedder. All of my steelhead catches are between ten and two probably due to warmer water temps.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Dave on January 05, 2018, 05:14:04 PM
First light doesn't pay off for steelhead on the Vedder. Maybe it does for salmon season? I wouldn't know, gave that up a long time ago due to the "meat crowd mentality" during salmon season on the Vedder. All of my steelhead catches are between ten and two probably due to warmer water temps.
Don't fish any more but when I did I agree mid day was nearly always better.  Note the word nearly ...
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on January 05, 2018, 06:23:53 PM
Who said anything about bonking a hatch at first light??

Haha. Wait till you have a small hatch at 7am and you are with a group of guys. In my many years of steelheading, I have seen some guys having a hard time deciding to bonk or not to bonk when he hits a small hatch in the early morning. Years ago when I was still young with hot blood I did show up early in some of the busy lower runs. There was one guy with 4 fishing partners and he hit and landed a small hatch about7-8 lbs at first light. He had such a hard and agonizing time deciding to bonk and stop fishing or let the fish go so he doesn't have to be dragged along the whole day with his friends. Granted he was a young guy who didn't seem a seasoned steelhead rod from his setup, he really had a very hard time to decide and the fish was left by the water's edge for way longer than it should. It was not like he could get another hatch for the day but the thought of being dragged along for the rest of the day was surely weighing on him.  What a stressful time for this 'poor' guy! LOL.

And that story makes me wonder if it is really a good idea to fish with too many partners while steelheading. So I have been mostly a solo steelheader. However it may be dangerous to go through frosty shorelines and risky falling (like hitting a rock while tripping/falling and passing out) if fishing alone. Do you guys like that 'stupid' rule of not allowing fishermen to do catch and release fishing after bonking the first steelie on the Vedder?
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Noahs Arc on January 06, 2018, 08:04:34 AM
I have 2 people that I fish with. My old man and my brother. (My kids) Those are the only people I enjoy spending a day on the water with. We just fish and go where we go. Everything falls into place. I could NEVER fish in a large group like that. They look like they have fun, but I couldnít do it. Sometimes on island trips we go in a group and I hate walking into a spot with a few guys and everyone try to decide whoís going to start where.

I donít mind the one and done on the Vedder. I can see a guy who gets out twice a year and drives from Richmond how hard it would be to release that early hatch. If I want to kill one Iíll just come back tomorrow LOL. That said the chances of most fishermen catching another a fish that day are probably low odds. But then you get guys passing off rods if they do.
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Blood_Orange on January 06, 2018, 08:28:23 AM
Do you guys like that 'stupid' rule of not allowing fishermen to do catch and release fishing after bonking the first steelie on the Vedder?

I'm in support; it discourages people killing their first fish.

Also, just because you've switched to C&R doesn't mean you won't inadvertently kill more fish. I remember reading on Everyday's awesome steelhead blog how he had a season where he mortally hooked a bunch of steelhead in a short period of time and felt terrible about it. As Milo (I believe) has said, fishing is a bloodsport and you need to be comfortable with killing things, either by accident or on purpose. But you can reduce the risks of killing when you don't intend to and I think that rule helps in this regard.

My two cents  ::)
Title: Re: Winter steelheading 101
Post by: Steelhawk on January 06, 2018, 12:18:13 PM
Actually that rule of stopping fishing after you keep your hatch is probably honored at the popular and busy lower runs. In the last 3 seasons with my style of walking miles or rivers in isolated spots, I have seen guys keeping fishing while they had kept a fish. Lol. They were surprised to see me and stopped but when I got close I could see the hatch by the river's edge. Sneaky!