Fly Fishing For Pacific Steelhead
According to avid Steelhead anglers, fly fishing for Steelhead is frustrating and you often
go home without a single strike, but when you do hook up with one, it's the ultimate fly
fishing experience. Steelhead make hard, fast runs, stripping your fly down to the
backing. They can also put on some acrobatic displays that gets any anglers heart
Steelhead are rainbow trout but the steelhead version of the rainbow grow fast in the
waters of the Pacific Ocean. They return to the coastal rivers each year to spawn as
bright, chrome color fish. There's both Summer and Fall runs of steelhead on many of
the Pacific Coastal Rivers but most of the fly fishing is done during the Winter.
The anglers that pursue the steelhead during the winter months, have to love the sport to
endue the extreme weather conditions. They often cast all day long in freezing
temperatures and very cold water waiting on that one bite. It's hours of casting
interrupted by minutes of sheer excitement - that is, if your lucky.
Fly fishing techniques for steelhead came mostly from Atlantic Salmon anglers. The most
common technique is to swing a fly downstream. Most steelhead strikes occur near the
end of the swing. This is done both on floating fly lines and sinking tip fly lines. At times
sinking fly lines are used. It depends on the fly, the river your fishing, and the time of the
year. The next most popular technique is nymphing. Some anglers frown on nymphs for
steelhead and refuse to use them and other prefer them. Nymphing for steelhead has
developed mostly during the past few years.
When you go trout fishing, most of the time you can be certain the trout are in the river
your fishing. The problem gets down to fooling them into taking your fly. Contrary to that,
Steelhead are not always in the river. You must time your fly fishing trips to coincide with
the migration of the fish. Information on the migrations is available on this website for just
about all the west coast Pacific streams in the nation. The same information is available
for the steelhead of the Great Lakes tributaries.
As the season transpires, schools of Steelhead, or better stated, groups of steelhead,
move in and out of the rivers. Weather and stream conditions plays an important role in
the migrations. Even when steelhead are in the rivers, heavy rain and snow can change
things in a very short time.
Those that pursue steelhead on the fly are patient anglers. If they were not patient, they
would have never got to the point they call themselves steelhead anglers. Your not going
to catch a steelhead every few cast. You might get one to take the fly just minutes after
you have landed one or lost one, but it also may be days before the next strike comes. It
may or may not have anything to do with the way you are fishing and yet the technique
you're using may well be the problem. It's difficult to really know because of the average
low numbers of fish caught. Arguments between anglers have regularly taken place on
over the flies and techniques used for years and probably always will. It's just one of the
things that make steelhead fishing the sport it is.
Copyright 2013 Tanner Leonard
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