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Tips on reading rivers - Steelhead Fishing

Steelhead River Water fishing

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#1 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 09:22 AM

Hello OFF!

 

The main reason for my post is seeing some of the other posts and comments made on his forum have me wondering if what I do a the river is in the best interest for preservation (I always catch and release at the river and I only use Roe as a last resort when fishing.

 

I also want to mention that this year has been one of my "worst" for fishing in the rivers. - I have made quite a few attempts but just cant see to catch anything this year! I realize part of this may be the water body I fish, but I see other guys landing fish in spots I was fishing for almost an hour before them. - maybe I am cursed!

 

Just wondering if anyone has any reading or video material on how to better read water conditions, rigging weights for certain water conditions and ultimately locate (and successfully land) Steelhead.

 

I also wouldn't be against walking and fishing a river with a "guide" either if someone is willing to do that!

 

 

(Side note: I am not new to fishing, just fishing in rivers for steel head. I do own all my own gear - waders, center pin and I just got a fly setup I will be learning to use this spring.)

 

 

Feel free to respond here with any of your sources for knowledge, "tips or tricks" or send a PM me if you want!

 

Cheers,


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#2 Fisherman Dave

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:18 PM

Take a look at this:

 

http://www.raventackle.com/shotting_patterns.php

 

Another suggestion I would make is to google and read up on how temperature effects steelhead behavior. There are some "magic" numbers that move the steelhead from the fast runs to the middle of pools, that is often times the ticket based on time of day and year you are fishing. A local fish ladder really sunk this msg into me because one day when I was there their morning raise was about 10, maybe even less, and then the water warmed up literally 2 degrees C and the afternoon raise was close to if not over 100. The one dude from the hatchery told me literally 1 degree C can make the difference, and the funny thing is until I learned to watch this more closely I would show up to some spots for first light, fish the crap out of it, go home around 11, only to be told by my buddy that starting 1230 they caught 3 each.

 

Whenever I see a "seam" in the water I tend to fish it first because to me that means structure. I always try to control my float to go right around boulders too, they tend to ambush from behind rocks or at least it may give them less time to think. The riskier the cast seems to produce more fish for me, I like to float dangerously close to logs/trees.

 

Other than that, sometimes no matter what you do everyone around you will hook up and you wont. Change your bait, presentation, shot pattern. I always tend to bring 2 rods with me because if float fishing isn't working, it's happened to me time and time again that I will catch em on a spoon/spinner/rapala instead.

 

Edit: also don't be afraid to go out and try on days ppl will tell you it's not good (low water, storm in the forecast, rain, etc.) as a) it will keep a bunch of fisherman away and B) theres still a ton of luck left in this sport so worst case you end up spending a nice day in some fresh air getting casting practice, best case you hook into that one random one and will have a sweet story.


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#3 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 03:11 PM

Lol Thanks for the info Dave!

 

I went out yesterday after work:

 

My hopes were high, the river was running high and fast, no traces of anyone else around, evening light conditions seemed perfect (, it was about 7* and dropping (dropped from the high of 10*), Water visibility was around 25 inches - everything seemed perfect.

 

Snagged bottom a few times but no fish.

 

I know that fish hold in this particular pool because this spot happens to be one of the deepest and largest in the river, not to mention my buddy hooked into 2 the day before.

 

I tried switching baits on a "timely" schedule (I had only about 2 hours worth of fishing and switch my bait every 15-20 minutes)

 

Baits included Egg sucking leeches, Stone flies, assortment of beads, and eventually roe as it got darker.


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#4 Fisherman Dave

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 03:29 PM

High temperature like that would have taken them out of the bottom of the pools you said you were fishing and into the rapids. That's where they will get more oxygen (warmer water depletes oxygen quicker) and that is also when they have the energy (keeping in mind they are cold blooded) to move from pool to pool. Learning to fish shallower, quicker moving water can be tricky, sometimes I just keep the float in one place that looks fishy. If you are fishing that sort of water a shorter leader tends to be better. It's tricky though because too hot is also not great for them either, but it's not so hot that they need to find the cold water in the deep pools quite yet (unless super sunny), most of the times they head to the very middle of the pool and become non responsive because it is too cold. I would have worked the front of the pool, the back of the pool, and then the middle in that order. It sounds like you are doing the right thing though, doesn't it just burn you when the water seems perfect? A lack of fisherman could mean ppl know something you don't, but that personally is the last thing I pay attention to, just trust in what you're doing and you'll hook up. Just remember to fish different drifts even if they seem unlikely, I know half of us try to work the far shore or the middle of the pool most of the time, but I learned from canoe fishing that I tend to like to cast at the shores, so don't forget about the one closer to you as long as you have stayed quiet.


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#5 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 04:08 PM

At this particular stretch there is a "shelf", The river is roughly 40-50 feet wide, and it drops from 3 to about 8-10 feet when water is high. On the opposite side where I stand there is a straight wall with boulders (which is where I tried to aim most of my casts)

 

Due to the high waters the currents that are normally straight were creating wakes from that shoreline to where I was standing. I worked the seam as much as I could but the current seemed so aggressive that I guess my presentation wasn't working as nice as I wanted it too. (hence why I brought up the shot patterns in the first post)

 

Typically if I have a choice, I try to work the head of the pool first/most (Personally I find the more aggressive fish are always trying to push further to the front/ ahead)

 

The stretch is almost 100 feet long so I worked the top and middle given the time I had and changes I was making in bait.

 

As for there not being any guys, its a difficult walk, about 30 minutes from parking which involves bush whacking and crossing the river. Being a Tuesday I didn't think there would be anyone unless they were fishing it from before.


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#6 Swing4Steel

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 05:34 PM

Dont scratch your bum before you go fishing
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#7 Guest_tossing iron_*

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 07:59 PM

Dont scratch your bum before you go fishing

Lol stink baits good for cats.
Tall. Just keep things simple.
I'd suggest 6lb lead #12 hook and 3-4 different colour roe bags.
Nothing wrong using commercial bought roe.
Probably the most effective bait spawning time. Good luck. You'll get em.
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#8 fishfreek

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 09:13 PM

When she's high and dirty a fat juicy worm can be deadly.


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#9 PUMP KNOWS

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 09:56 PM

Keep your head up and don't give up. 

 

If you see others hooking up and you're not, don't be afraid to ask what they're doing.


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#10 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:37 AM

Thank you gentlemen! I was getting frustrated because I was doing everything I could to increase my chances:

 

They run a 7.2lb leader, I was running 6.6lb and even went down to a 5.6lb

 

My hooks were slightly smaller but larger gap then theirs (never understood hook sizing, seems each brand has their own way of marking sizes)

 

At first I was using flies, then beads, but ended up switching to the exact bead and bag combo they were using, yet I was getting no hits.

 

My buddy ended up hitting 3 or 4, none of which he landed. (which never happens to him - must be a part of my curse!)

 

 

Hoping to hit a river today after work so I am hoping to have some more "knowledge" (or power) to increase my chances!


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#11 DILLIGAF?!

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:47 AM

Tall..don't be afraid to change up...use tandem beads that might work...I don't know which trib you go...

double%20bead%20rig%20copy.jpg


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#12 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:32 AM

I have tried using tandem (with a mix of beads and flies) - I find its more likely to tangle with no difference in results

 

Is that your setup? Seems like you (or someone) is using a big weight near the leader/swivel? (or it could just be a bad picture)


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#13 Guest_tossing iron_*

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:01 PM

[quote name="TheTallOutdoorsman" post="339328" timestamp="1490881025"]

Thank you gentlemen! I was getting frustrated because I was doing everything I could to increase my chances:

They run a 7.2lb leader, I was running 6.6lb and even went down to a 5.6lb

My hooks were slightly smaller but larger gap then theirs (never understood hook sizing, seems each brand has their own way of marking sizes)

At first I was using flies, then beads, but ended up switching to the exact bead and bag combo they were using, yet I was getting no hits.

My buddy ended up hitting 3 or 4, none of which he landed. (which never happens to him - must be a part of my curse!)


Hoping to hit a river today after work so I am hoping to have some more "knowledge" (or power) to increase my chances![/quote
]The frustration your feeling now is actually the true enjoyment of the sport. Once your past this overwhelming compulsion to just catch fish you'll soon see the variables are what keep us coming back.The challenge is the drug.The great tips muskie and other members are sharing with you are just the tip of the iceberg some days. Lol
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#14 MuskieBait

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:34 PM

The frustration your feeling now is actually the true enjoyment of the sport. Once your past this overwhelming compulsion to just catch fish you'll soon see the variables are what keep us coming back.The challenge is the drug.The great tips muskie and other members are sharing with you are just the tip of the iceberg some days. Lol

If I have a tough day seeing fish and getting skunked, I can't focus on anything again until I can solve that puzzle. Truly, the challenge is the drug.

That's one of the main reason I love to catch new species...and keep looking for new ones to catch. Each of them is just another new puzzle to solve.

As mentioned above, sometimes you're just a little "off" this year. Maybe it is the timing, maybe it is your own ability to read some subtle difference that matters...whatever it is, just keep at it. There are openers where I can't seemed to get anything right for the first few hours...and I'm just there watching my buddies hook up. Then the next time, everything goes well and I am back to my old self. Happens to all of us.


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#15 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:46 PM

Aha Well I am crazy about fishing, I will go, regardless of conditions, weather, chances etc. I go because I love it.

 

It would be nice to catch fish but I don't expect it, I like to say I am very passionate about my fishing - whether its in the preparation of knowledge or fishing itself! ... I'm obsessed!


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#16 PUMP KNOWS

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 04:00 PM

Fishheads roe


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#17 Huronfly

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 04:36 PM

Since transitioning to spey I've gotten used to seeing other people hooking up all around be, and me not catching squat. Stick with it, once you get one under your belt it things will start to seem much easier. You can look at it the way I do, it makes the fish you do catch that much more special!
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#18 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 04:37 PM

Fishheads roe

I am using some, Browntrout Roe!

 

It was killer for me last year, this year havent even got a nibble.


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#19 TheTallOutdoorsman

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 04:38 PM

Since transitioning to spey I've gotten used to seeing other people hooking up all around be, and me not catching squat. Stick with it, once you get one under your belt it things will start to seem much easier. You can look at it the way I do, it makes the fish you do catch that much more special!

I bought a Fly setup that I am eager to try out, whether I catch anything on it or not is a different story!


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#20 Guest_tossing iron_*

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 05:33 PM

Fishheads roe

At fisheads.
I know you contribute and are involved with OFF.
My beef is absolutely nothing to do with an ethically licensed supplier as yourselves.
On the contrary, I see your service as a solution to the protection and eliminates the need of some to harvest ripe females.
More spawners the brighter the future.
That being said .
I'm looking forward to seeing your promotions and present roe and gear availability.
Business means jobs.
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