Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fly Fishing for Winter Steelhead

Doug Stewart holding a large winter steelhead while kneeling in shallow water with a fly rod.
Doug Stewart with a Winter Steelhead caught with a fly rod.

Methods for catching winter steelhead on a fly rod.

When I was eleven or twelve years old, my dad taught me how to catch winter steelhead using a drift rod, but it was an arduous endeavor. Getting snagged up and tying new outfits in the rain and sleet was a very cold and frustrating experience, but in time I learned how to catch fish. As I got older, I started to fly fish for winter steelhead, but I was not fully committed. Hence, I would start out by trying to hook one on a fly rod, and if I didn’t I would switch to using my drift rod. Sometimes I would use the drift rod first and then my fly rod.

I eventually knew that if I was going to be successful I had to make a total commitment to fly fishing only. I also realized that the reason I wasn’t having any luck was because my 7 1/2 to 9 foot leader was too long and it was drifting above fish. I had to cut my leader down to 4 to 6 feet, and in many cases used a sinking line, lead core lines or split shot. Finally, in the early 60’s, my frustrations were over as I caught my first winter steelhead on the Sandy River using a sinking shooting-head. The fly was the classic Polar Shrimp.

However, these types of lines and terminal tackle were prone to snagging up, so I began to use the dry line “high stick” method. This allows one to cover waters that have ledges, pocket water and rough troughs without snagging as much. Strike indicators will also allow you to detect both strikes and snags. With your arm vertically extended, this method will help you manipulate the line by using mends, twitches, slack line draws and line lifts to avoid hang-ups. The use of a bobber near the butt extension will help to float the line and detect quick takes.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog and thanks for share your a good piece of content with us.


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