Catching steelhead is a fascinating yet challenging game that you cannot ignore to explore the moment at least once in your life. You can also test your patience, and it will increase the inner fishing skill if you know the fishing tactics well.
You can either use a drift or fly fishing to catch them and the best time to fish them is their migration time. Although it is difficult to catch them as they are game fish and their behavior is almost the same as rainbow trout.
Steps on How to Fish for Steelhead
To catch them successfully requires basic knowledge and the right equipment. To know the tactics, just read more the article and follow it properly.
Steelhead Fishing Season
Steelheads can be caught on different seasons, depending on the environment and water conditions. Steelhead migrates from one place to another with the changes of season, and also, there are many kinds of these fishes.
Here are some hints you can check for fishing in the Salmon River, Snake River, Little Salmon, or Columbia River.
Summer Steelhead Fishing
Summer and winter are the best seasons for fishing steelhead because they enter freshwater in these two seasons. But you cannot determine which river or stream they maintain those both season or only one. So little confusion will always happen for freshwater fishing.
Many steelhead rivers are suitable for summer fishing. Although they also maintain different run times in the river, but March and October/November is the best time to catch them.
Some of the steelheads may travel to Columbia River or Snake River in the mid-winter, but they will surely come back in the summer. In summer, the summer steelheads migrate to the rivers (Inland Northwest) from the Snake River.
Steelhead Fishing Guide In Winter
Winter steelheads are larger than summer steelhead. They spawn shortly and can-do multiple spawn over time. They are most active at night so fishing them in the dark with glowing dark lures is an effective way to catch them.
Avoid crowded streams to catch winter steelheads as they are trendy, so you should also make yourself an early bird for successful fishing. Check out where the fishes will be in different lakes for bank fishing or rivers like little salmon, Columbia, etc.
What to Use While Fishing Steelheads
Which equipment you will need it depends on where you want to go fishing. It also depends on your fishing technique too.
You can either choose a versatile rod or specialized rod, which makes for a different category.
The rods should be light weighted and has an 8-12 round test line so that you can use it in fly fishing, pulling plugs, jig fishing, etc.
Also, you will need lures that have to match with the casting. A good reel, 12 to 20 line, are the mandatory types of equipment for you to fishing steelhead.
Steelhead Catching Bait, Flies, and Lures
To catch the steelhead, choosing the right bait, flies, and lures is very important like we have seen in fishing fly trouts.
They are designed to attract the fish, and when the steelhead changes their eating behavior, those bait, lures, flies are also useful.
Using artificial bait means you can use various types of hook, colors of flies, and materials, making them natural foods is easy. Using multiple colors makes the steelhead (especially winter steelhead) feel curiosity, and they will respond quickly.
Depends on the river or stream condition, weather, water flow condition, you can use some nymphs, egg imitating patterns, attractor patterns, flies, etc. These items are also used while angling from trolling boats.
Except for artificial bait, using the real trout and salmon eggs are also useful. The eggs are so small to hold so you can be tied up using various color nylon mesh to make a sack. Worms are another effective bait that is also easy to hook up.
This type of natural baits is usually useful in summer. Cheese balls, leeches, salmon eggs, minnows, crayfish are other effective natural baits to catch steelhead.
Beside natural eggs, various color artificial eggs are also significant as it looks like just the same. You can use scent, and because of their shape, they can easily wiggle in the current. The size should be 6 – 10 mm. also, plastic worms are famous for lures.
They are also usable for floating plugs. Artificial lures are very useful for mainstem rivers for their various color and size.
Setup for Steelhead Fishing
A proper setup for steelhead fishing can give you the successful result, so you cannot deny the importance as fishing steelhead requires various techniques, but you can do everything with the same setup.
Spinning Rod and Reel Setup
If you go for drift fishing, float fishing, spelunking, or others, you can set up the spinning rod and reel in the same way. You will catch amazing fish in different water levels with this setup.
No matter you are winter fish or summer fish, taking a proper setup is very essential. Just buy the steelhead rod at least 9 feet with 12 lbs line and 2000 to 3000 size reel, which is enough for all those techniques.
Float Fishing Setup
Float fishing for steelhead requires a different method. Here it would help if you had a bobber and long rods such as 12 13 feet lengths and a center pin reel.
The line should be out of the water, so the center pin reel and bobber make the control of it.
You cannot use weighted bait or lures with a spinning rod, so a baitcasting rod is needed to fish for deeper water. If you do not have the baitcasting rod, only a baitcasting reel will also do the work, and you have to do multiple spinning setup.
Although there is some problem if you use baitcaster, using a light drifting rig is not comfortable with baitcaster. So, you can say, to catch steelhead, follow the old fishing style is more effective than the modern style.
Fly Rod Setup
Fly fishing for steelhead is a very tricky way. You will need at least 10 feet rod which is single-handed and if you are confused about what kind of rod you should use, choose Spey rods or switch rods.
You can get the best out of these with the drift fishing rig in lakes and bank fishing from the rivers.
Steelhead Fishing Technique in Rivers (Oregon, Idaho) from the Bank
You can use a variety of fishing technique to catch steelhead. These can be slightly different depending on which rivers, lake, or reservoir you are fishing in.
All those techniques are useful if you know how to use them properly. Just follow your essential rules, and you can easily be made your day!
Bait & Fishing Line
If you want to go fishing in the banks, using a trick is a straightforward and simple method to catch steelhead. You will need a bobber for it.
Tied your bait with the bobber than throw it on the current and quickly hook it. Choose the right area where the steelhead is relaxing so that you can catch them easily.
Plunking is a very effective way to catch steelhead form banks. When the water level is high, use the technique because the steelhead does not like hot water, so they are headed near the banks where water is soft.
Also, take the perfect fishing line for baitfish or normal fishing in different seasons. River fish is a little different from bait fishing, so the setup should be different.
It is a very famous fishing technique to use the bait and drift it along the water. Although it is a difficult technique, if you know it, your luck will be better.
I love this technique. Using the right lures and cast correctly is very important here. You can use single or double-handed rods and do it either with a boat or from the Shore.
Spinners, a spinner is an essential equipment here. You have to cast the spinner properly in the upstream Then swing back.
Steelhead Banks Fishing: Major Tips
Fishing from the bank is an exhilarating game and an excellent way for the beginners of catching steelhead. For bank fishing, you should consider which water lever are you targeting for fishing success.
Before fishing, you should learn the steelhead behavior in the banks like what day eat when they rest, which bait and lures are better etc. grab your rods, reel, or bait than focus on the catching fish.
Check the Riverbank Condition
Before fishing, you should know the riverbank condition like how much water is flowing, weather, dams opening, etc. If you are going in winter, it is easy to select a place for fishing.
Although the nights and day conditions change quickly at that time. Analyzing all those conditions, you will understand when and where to fish in the banks.
Move When Needed
Catching in the river banks means you have to fish in a large area, so select the right spot can be difficult sometimes. You cannot spend all day to find a place, so follow another angler near you, or you can ask them about the river system.
Sometimes search for the place alone so that you can explore the new area of fishing. A simple tactic is, cast and wait at least 15 minutes to fish, do it twice or more. If anything doesn’t happen, then change the place because usually, the steelhead will touch the lures within 15 minutes.
It is a prevalent problem that sometimes steelhead do not bite your lures. Maybe they are not in a mood. In this situation, you should change the tactics and gear because you already have other options to attract the steelhead more.
And that’s where you need to study about steelhead. You can change lures color, drift bobber, or fishing tactics in different steelhead seasons fishing.
There are different areas where you will not have any fishing license. Some of them will allow winter steelhead fishing or some will be allowed in summer steelhead fishing.
Follow the Timeline
The best time to fish in the banks is at early 7 a.m or 11 a.m. avoid crowded places and weekend as steelhead will already notice where the danger is now.
Follow where anglers are gathering than choose a calm place. Change the present of yourself and upgrade the gear.