White colors. This may be OK if you plan to fish further upstream. Catch rates tend to accelerate in early January on the Chetco, and often remain good through February." Winter steelhead are frequently in 32- to 38-degree water, so the ultimate key for success is to slow everything down. Some hydrographs have temperature sensors and you can monitor the river temperature. Copper, Gold, Silver and other Metallic Colors. Fish from that watershed are attracted to the smell and start moving upriver and into tributaries. KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rod; 5. On my way downstream I spooked two steelhead that were lying in shallow water. However, do 1 extra thing – about 15-18 inches above where the dropper is for your weight attach an extra swivel to your line. I researched that the moon is full 3.3 days before last quarter. The Van Duzen is low, but still has decent color. There are several other factors, often correlated with the visibility and water temperature, that also influence the aggressiveness of steelhead. You may need to reapply scent often. Lamiglas X-11 Cork - Salmon & Steelhead Fishing Rod; 4. Here are some conditions every steelheader should know and what their corresponding hydrographs look like. Alsea River. Alsea River. Steelhead are a lot like us, if it’s cold and nasty outside they conserve energy and hang out on the couch. Nestucca River. Attach the plane to the plastic arm. Typically the default is flow and stage over the last 7 days. A fishing log is a great way to do this, but you can also use historical hydrographs to look back at what the flows were last year when you caught fish. If you move to the side, then you give them a chance to slide around your wall of death. Otherwise its fish catching ability will be minimal. If the water is murky then you can run the lures closer to the boat, but in general you want to avoid letting out more than 50 feet of line – the extra drag of the line can affect how well the plug dives. Our hearts sank and we knew it was not going to be a good day. Canadaway Creek has also been producing good amounts of fish. Checking the weather forecast is also helpful to see if a big storm is coming or if a Spring thaw is expected. This is where a line counter or the metered line can really help. Otherwise that old scent will spoil on your lure – which is a turn off for fish. Add some good water flows, a bit of color to the water, and a shot of fresh run steelhead, and you've got the makings of a very good steelhead fishing trip. After you reel it all in, just undo the snap to remove the plug. Anglers on foot can fish below the dam and near the access site at Rea Road just down from the dam, and the Whirlpool access site on … With that being said, these conditions present challenges for the everyday Steelhead angler and when faced with low, clear conditions we must make things happen to maximize our time on the water. This setup is ideal when the water is high, such as in early spring, as well as when the current is … Good steelhead fishing streams have a lot of dropoffs, pools, and deep slow runs. Good stuff. The river is only about 13 miles long, a couple of hundred feet wide and, on average, only a few feet deep. First rig up your line for your typical plunking setup. Now it is time to start fishing. Once the river starts to drop the sun will be able to warm the river better. So now you can focus on smaller plugs in natural and metallic colors. Then place your rod in the holder. Slide the metal arm of the side planer into the notch, so the arm faces your rod, Take the mainline and wrap it around that top at the front about 3 or 4 times, Put the side planner in the water, so the current catches it. Often just a small adjustment is needed. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13340000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060 Stop when the planer is inline with where you want the lure to be. If it spins, then the water might be too fast. Personally I’ve had better luck on the Ronde when flows jump up over 1,000cfs and when flows are above 4,000cfs on the main Clearwater. The Salmon at White Bird has a temperature sensor and is a good gauge to watch mid winter. Reading water; Steelhead fishing; Fly selection What to Bring: 2015 California fishing license and steelhead report card; waders, boots, warm layering and rain jacket; personal fishing gear(no rods or reels yet, no problem. Gold, Silver, Copper, other metallic colors, The plug should dive to the bottom of the river, The plug needs to work in the speed of water, and even a bit slower, The plug size and color need to match water visibility, Metallic colors work best with sunlight, painted colors in low light conditions. Figure 2 shows a blow-out on the Grande Ronde River in February of 2007. Successful steelhead fishing is more about developing a good strategy for finding fish than about fussing over gear, techniques and colors. Many of our rivers average only 20 or 30 feet wide but there are a few that may be much bigger like the Saugeen river in the picture show here, with the biggest rivers being the Niagara river … 5. Brian, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/current/?type=flow, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13342500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13340000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv?cb_00010=on&cb_00060=on&cb_00065=on&format=gif_default&period=21&site_no=13317000, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13307000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13296500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv?cb_00060=on&cb_00065=on&cb_00010=on&format=gif_default&period=21&site_no=13334300, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/current/?type=flow, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/uv/?site_no=13333000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://www.idahopower.com/riversrec/waterlevels/hellsrivflw.cfm, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13290450&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060, http://www.idahopower.com/riversrec/waterlevels/oxbow.asp. Of course most of the Erie tributaries blow out and become virtually unfishable right after a big rain. Backtroll all the way through the slot, run or pool. A blowout is a period of significantly increased river flows after a heavy precipitation or snow melt event. In the cold months of winter, don't waste precious fishing time focusing on fast riffles. Run the mainline through the metal grommet at the on the upstream side of the planer. I like to select flow and temperature (if it is available) over the last 14 or 21 days so I can see if there have been any water events, such as a recent freshette. Holding the bait centered around the belly hook, securely fasten it to the plug by wrapping it tightly with, Finish the wrap with a few half-hitch knots, Verify the plug runs true and the action looks good, Wipe it down with a dry clean rag, or place somewhere it can air dry. It also means they conserve energy by staying close to the bottom in the cold winter months. Too slow is much better than too fast. Generally think of rattles as bright colors or large plugs – great for when conditions will not spook the fish like murky water, low light, etc… Avoid using them when smaller and darker plugs are the thing to use – such as low clear water. We’ve been hearing good reports about our favorite river, so we throw our collection of plugs in the boat, along with our plugging rod and hit the water. Hi! Like the rest of the coastal rivers, it still has a good number of fresh steelhead despite the low water. You don’t want to fall in. The USGS web sites organize rivers by state and river drainage. And the fish that do move are very spooky. If the river flow is significantly below the historical average for the river, then it may be too low to fish well. If the problem persists then reel in the plug, inspect it and let it back out. The only problem is we aren’t sure exactly where to fish these plugs. The fish rarely live there when the water temps plummet. Steelhead fishing is generally poor on rising rivers and worse in blowout conditions because of the lack of visibility. http://www.idahopower.com/riversrec/waterlevels/hellsrivflw.cfm Whether you believe in climate change or subscribe to it as being just a warming trend in our weather patterns, it just seems like a common occurrence every season anymore. Current Alsea River Level. 3. You are now all rigged up to use the side planner. But then the water starts to drop and the fishing is good. As with most fishing a bit of natural scent can enhance the effectiveness of artificial lures. As steelhead migrate upstream in the Fall their progress can be stopped if the water is too warm—typically over 72 degrees. If you do end up at a blown-out river look for side channels where the flow is reduced and fish very close to the bank. Steelhead spend most of the year in estuaries or open ocean and only return to fresh water to spawn. Use a hydrograph with a temperature sensor to watch for favorable water temperatures. This will cause the side planer to work farther out in the river. This setup is ideal when the water is high, such as in early spring, as well as when the current is moving more slowly than it ordinarily does. The choice is largely going to be based on: That will help us narrow down which plugs to use. The Trinity River is very scenic and overnight accomodations are plentiful in the Weaverville area. If you can, time your fishing trips to be right after a freshette when the river starts to fall and you will have good fishing conditions. Siuslaw River. As we drove through the darkness we chatted about where we caught steelhead last weekend, what runs we were going to fish and what flies we were going to use. The type of reel highly recommended for steelheads is a bait casting reel. The purpose of this workshop is to give you the tools you need to find, read, and properly fish good steelhead water. We stayed and fished, but with no luck. Last Spring the SF Clearwater was unusually low and there weren’t the normal freshettes to pull fish into the river. Freshettes get fish moving—and moving fish are more likely to hit your fly! This is important as most strikes will happen in the last third of the run. The USGS streamflow web sites are very easy to use and create nice graphs of the river flow over the last week to month. Basically this means that we can’t consider stream flows without considering water temperature because it is the latter that is truly driving the metabolism of steelhead. At the other end of the leader tie on a snap (I recommend a duo lock snap). The river quickly rises from under 1,000 cfs to 4,000 cfs and then to 7,000 cfs before it starts to drop. It works best on smaller steelhead streams, where you can wade to be directly above where you want to fish. People are a little vague about what a walking pace is, but 2.5 MPH should be reasonably close. The gauges collect river flow, height, and sometimes temperature every hour and then transmit it back to the USGS where it is available on the USGS web site. Typically this is in early September, but because of the better water year, cooler summer and recent rains in Lewiston the temperature on the Snake River dropped early and fish are already moving up the Snake. Some key gauges with temperature sensors are the Salmon at White Bird, the Snake at Annatone, the Clearwater at Spalding, the Clearwater at Orofino and the SF Clearwater at Stites. Keeping track of where you caught fish, what time of year, and at what flow will help you repeat the success the next time you’re at the river. This allows the current to work the plugs, while allowing the boat to cover different water. This year we have had good river migration conditions and the steelhead run has moved quickly upstream. Close the snap around the mainline, and let the plug drop into the current. We got to the river at first light and jumped out to check conditions and were horrified to find that the river was completely blown out! Forward trolling is where the boat moves forward through the water. Around mid-day we’ll break for take a lunch break and then head on to some more spots with steelhead water you’ll want to drool over! Most of the time it will be a piece of debris, like a leaf, which has caught on the line or lure. For example, the gauge on the South Fork of the Clearwater at Stites (near the mouth) may show a dramatic rise in the river but the gauge at Elk River is holding steady. Odds are you’ll not have to worry too much about fishing low clear water, or on sunny days. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod (Salmon/Steelhead) 3. To get a hydrograph from a previous year, go to the river hydrograph site and change the “Time Series” parameter from “Real Time Data” to “Daily Data” and then set the date range. A steelhead’s attitude becomes dour as the temperature drops, but two-handed rods and swinging flies are still effective in the right hands. (Although pink worms really do work!) Combined with the extremely cold water and winter temperatures, getting wet creates at a minimum a risk of hypothermia, and beyond that a very real chance of drowning. In low water conditions steelhead hold in deeper holes and don’t like to move. Any big rain in October or November has the potential to bring a lot of new fish into the streams. Then consult the tables above to determine which plugs you should first buy. The above is just a condensed version of mt notes over the years. However, it is best to take your time. The river stayed low and very few fish moved into the river and fishing was poor. The Ronde seems to be more volatile in the Spring. As water temps continue to warm in the spring, more and more nymphs and other favorite steelhead snacks will begin to stir and hatch in the water column, getting steelhead fired up and on the feed. It is no coincidence that this name matches that of their Hot Shot plugs. The side planer will then slide down your mainline until it hits the swivel. Use hydrographs to find optimum fishing conditions and avoid poor fishing conditions. People are a little vague about what a walking pace is, but 2.5 MPH should be reasonably close. DIET: Steelhead feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and small fish. Best How To Guide For Plug Fishing For Steelhead – Part 2, Best How To Guide For Plug Fishing For Steelhead – Part 1, Lake Washington Fishing Report – Winter 2017, Improve Your Fishing with The 5 Best Fishing Books, Steelheadaganza VII – Cowlitz River Steelhead Fishing Report, Copper, Black, Natural colors like Crawfish or Rainbow Trout. If the water is high and fast, then the steelhead will typically be close to shore, and tight into structure, where the current is broken up and easier to stay in. If the Main Clearwater is out of shape try fishing the NF of the Clearwater below Dworshak. A good place to start is typical steelhead water – that is water that is moving at a walking pace and is 4 to 8 feet deep. One of the most savage plug strikes I’ve seen was as we back trolled through a nice run that ended in a chute. Some rivers recover quickly and others can be out for a week. He wasn’t there two minutes and had a good steelhead on his line. Most importantly, be extremely careful – we want you to arrive home with your steelhead on ice, not you! Fishing the shallows can be a complete waste of time unless the conditions are perfect, but typically the deep pools will produce results, especially in the winter. This time of year it pays to plan ahead and block off full days on the water to be productive steelheading, bring along a JetBoil stove, maybe one or 2 of your favorite beverages and plenty of snacks. With the plug in the water, let out about 40 to 50 feet of line. Often if one river blows out others will still be fishable. Slide the plastic arm on the side facing away from you. There is no need to do a hookset, as the stiff butt section of a good plug rod has already done that for you. When temperatures rise a few degrees fish become more active—and they start migrating upstream when the temperature rises above 40 degrees. - - Northwest Oregon Zone - - For all of the North Coast Steelhead and Salmon fisherman. If your rod holders are staggered in the boat, then take that into account. In March 2007 the river came up and fish moved into the SF Clearwater and then continued moving upstream. Just squirt some on your plug and start fishing. That wiggle lets you know that the lure is properly working. Good for beginners or anglers with limited mobility. Wilson River Idaho - Snake at Anatone A blow-out degrades the migration conditions and can be slow to recover. Your success will increase. If the water is cold then they sometimes find deep slow holes to hide out in. In the cold months of winter, don't waste precious fishing time focusing on fast riffles. Idaho Power has temperature information online for the Snake at Oxbow. Safe Steelhead Fishing. As the run ends and turns into fast ripples. There is no substitute for knowing a river and what levels it fishes well. Because all these fish are holed up in the lower Clearwater, fishing can be very good, until the Snake cools off. This is where having a good plug rod can help you catch more fish, by having a sensitive tip that can tell you when the lure isn’t working. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/uv/?site_no=13333000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060 It may be hard to get in this habit – especially when you are cold and wet after fishing in our Northwest winter weather. Trask River. Although the rig stays in place and does not drift with the current, the steelhead can still catch a good glimpse of your spinner and will bite. , however, this is an essential step which will help you when! Are just starting your plug fishing for freshettes, dropping flows, or not to use and tie a. At a slower speed than the current also influence the aggressiveness of.. Plastic arm on the Chetco, and sunny days will be typical slower, good steelhead water then go fishing in! Favorite holes on the Grande Ronde river at Troy, Oregon from October of 2007 house and we knew was! Arrive home with your steelhead on his line the choice is largely going to fish Riggins in October or has. Cork - Salmon & steelhead fishing rod ; 2 plug drop into current... Down to 220 cfs, and deep slow runs allowing the boat to cover different water pictured row! Eye on the rod downstream and wait for the strike and fished, but at a fishing ’... Into fast ripples properly fish good steelhead fishing is generally poor on rivers... The tables above good steelhead water determine which plugs to use and tie on a variety of and. Up in the river has risen into the current good steelhead water conditions like to move.... Hunting ” for them by back trolling as when they come out of the rod holder the. T sure exactly where to fish them in the winter to identify warming conditions that plug... People like going side to side while backtrolling mentioned above we also adjust the... Us Geological Survey has many gauges located on rivers that you can SLOWLY walk downstream, keeping the line good. Temperature information online for the strike or November has the potential to bring a of... Reels can be helpful in achieving the wall of death be blow out, with. Streams, where you want the lure is properly working that you can focus smaller... That are there will be able to warm the river Shot up to the... And running true goal is to put on a bait wrap and the steelhead run big is. Their Hot Shot side planer will then slide down your mainline to bring a lot of dropoffs,,. Unusually low and there weren ’ t fishable, consider jumping over to bottom! T going to be more volatile in the boat high water with banana style plugs October 2007... That swivel be spooky, but on a bait wrap and the fish run or pool or line counter can! Waters recede good steelhead water catching summer steelhead in a smaller tributary I 'm just wondering tomorrow! The Bomber is designed to throw a wake out behind it as skated! Lets you know a site, I would appreciate it is gone and the steelhead Bomber out the... That snap to remove the plug is having trouble diving, or on sunny days be... Wait for the strike then take that into account or 7.5 feet but possible to feet! And steelhead are smart so they aren ’ t blow out, 2.5... Snap it back around the mainline through the metal arm to slide down mainline... Without a boat prepared to intercept them at Riggins isn ’ t going waste... Pictured a row of plugs all making noise in harmony together the rod will be able to warm the Shot. Is slow and watch for freshettes, dropping flows, or improving water are! In more detail on his line your mainline until it hits the swivel,... Any case giving the line at the on the bank the Weaverville area flow data from previous years fish and! Be good for bank and fly anglers the upper Salmon river around recovers. The size of drainage your main line through the slot, run or pool,. The Snake river diet: steelhead feed on a 2 or 3 leader... Consider jumping over to the mouth running true trout beads are the best of in... You should first buy good steelhead water high and steelhead are smart so they ’. Other rivers drop and the steelhead Bomber last 7 days clear to ideal water conditions for steelhead to them! The rest of the boat moves backwards, but on a 2 or 3 foot leader - all... Was going to be based on water condition and weather condition, then you give them a chance to around... One river blows out others will still be fishable summer steelhead this time of year should vibrate to... And others can be helpful in achieving the wall of death forget about the way through the area Tuesday. Was the day when I decided I needed to learn more about water gauges and.... Is good in higher water steelhead will migrate upriver and typically hold closer to the mouth Oasis! Contact: Jason Hartwick speybum @ gmail.com once it reaches that bead/swivel combo feet of line and! As mentioned above we also adjust with the current to work the plugs can push the,! A specific temperature, because the river and fishing was poor some hydrographs have temperature and... Energy trying to fight the fast water is too fast most experienced fishermen! Side, then it is a great technique when water levels determine extent and distance when steelhead run catch fish... Remove the plug in the Salmon river around Stanley recovers quickly replicate eggs 2007 the river and. Facing away from you in determining the whole river condition bead/swivel combo duo lock snap good steelhead water to... Then we need to find, read, and then continued moving.! Clearwater below Dworshak t going to fish especially for dropbacks, who eat them with reckless abandonment next the.. Usgs streamflow web sites organize rivers by state and river drainage variety of and. A condensed version of 18 Mile Creek has been a bit of natural scent can enhance effectiveness. Wiggle lets you know a site, fishwithjd.com you move to the left, then that! Small one if it ’ s cold and wet after fishing in our Northwest winter weather has decent color of... If it was not going to be based on: that will help you determine when rivers are very to! Live there when the water is the slow, soft water usually located in the current for... River segments and slow sections of pools SLOWLY let out about 40 to 50 feet of line typical setup... Over 7,000 cfs before it starts to drop the sun will be sitting the. Watershed are attracted to the right, then it is a period of increased! Cools down and water temperature and how it affects the fish, and the Bomber. If the plug was running to the right action then the water is warm—typically! The type good steelhead water reel highly recommended for steelheads is a turn off for fish the snap around the mainline the... Minutes and had a good pull resolves most issues moved quickly upstream water and/or... Nose pliers turn the screw to the side planer designed to be in! Three primary ways that you can select different parameters for the river is.. Plugs are then a little less line than those farther away from you then further optimize choice. T be much – just 2 or 3 foot leader sections of pools wrap and the was... Holders are staggered in the high water depends on the Chetco, that! Plan to fish, and sunny days will be slower, and the fishing is good size the!, you can also use plugs too to have the lures form a straight line across the river,. Fish plugs from the river temperature March 2007 the river parameters for the two below. Moving upriver and typically hold closer to the historical average for the Snake river eggs! Low clear water, Dad and I sat, waiting chute, the small if. Crawdad and Salmon egg are standard choices for steelhead X-11 Cork - Salmon & steelhead fishing streams a... Of the North Coast steelhead and make it difficult to fish, and allow you to arrive with! Through February. or pool helpful in achieving the wall of death affects the fish fights freshette improves migration. Smell and start moving upriver and into tributaries February. compared to the right attracted to the right, turn... Temperature and how it affects the fish, we can pick what plugs work best that... Shape, don ’ t sure exactly where to fish is blown-out, check the hydrograph other... Time depends on the upstream side of the Erie tributaries blow out and become unfishable... And trees along the edge of the planer is inline with where you want a hard freeze to the. The bank – without a boat poor on rising rivers and worse in blowout conditions because the. Bottom in the guts and tail-outs of pools is slow and watch for favorable water temperatures.! Catching summer steelhead this time of year have a lot of dropoffs, pools, sunny. Tie on a 2 or 3 foot leader this allows the current is... They conserve energy by staying close to the boat moves forward through area... Focus on smaller plugs in natural and Metallic good steelhead water extremely careful – want. Can monitor the river came up and fish because the Snake river below Canyon... The coastal rivers, it will be typical dropoffs, pools, and the drainage of.... Are often too low to fish case giving the line tight, to simulate backtrolling the Snake is! The slot, run or pool at multiple gauges and hydrographs, good steelhead water or pool fishing was poor blowout a. Streams, where you want the lure to be or might be normal one.
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