Well the birds are chirping the buds are budding and your cleaning off the old 8wt fly rod or double handed. Most of us put away the rods in late fall and took to the vice and social media to get our fishing fixes in.
And now the time has come as its early march and for many anglers it’s the start up of spring steelhead season. Are you ready this year? Unlike years past here is some tips and myths from the Fly-Fishing Insider, we feel are going to up your spring steelie game.
Myth 1: These fish only live in the deep pools of the river: well they do like the deep pools but also like the structure and the food sources close to shore, this is often over looked when fishing for theses fish. Next time try working the shorelines as well.
Myth 2: Spring Steelhead only love Pink: yes, they like pink in addition to other bright colours and dark colours as well. Its not just about colours but also about better fly choices. Remember what didn’t work earlier in the day might work later in the day so to ensure better success try many colours and patterns next time out.
Myth 3: Bites are soft and takes are subtle: well this can be true of winter steelies and could possibly be true with spring steelheads, however often the takes are hard and fast in our personal experiences. These fish seem to pep up and I am sure its due to the amount food in the system and water temperatures being warmer than that of winter.
Myth 4: Roe works best for spring steelhead: well this is a myth from float fishermen, as roe does give off a great luring sent so can a well-presented fly with sent on it. Often steelhead strikes are on aggression and many fly patterns do present a threat to steelhead, as the roe is less likely to be a threat. So, prep your files with sent if your inclined to do so.
Myth 5: You only catch spring steel on the swing: Ok this is a huge myth, yes steelheads are caught on the swing, but they are also caught when the fly hits the water or even after the swing. One of my favorite tricks, is to finish the swing and then when the fly gets close to the shore line its fast strips in with a pause or two.
Myth 6. Big flies’ big fish: we have all heard this myth: and if you look at the spring steelhead patterns of files you will see that there are many flies that are of “normal” size. Look at the stone files or egg patterns for steelhead theses are of a smaller range which can be the difference between a deadly day on the water or a skunked day.
Myth 7. To catch steelhead, use the Cast Step Cast method to work down the river: yes, I agree that steelhead move or that if you work a pool or run its time to move on. But I also believe that if you think the run is prime holding water its best to switch fly patterns and go back and rework the run its one of my favorite tips I have learned. And has paid off big time for me.
Myth 8. Steelhead are leader shy and long light tips are best: myth busted steelhead need short leaders in the 8- 15lb range at a length of 3.5 -5 ft. This works best FF insider crew and many other steelhead guides have found. Remember to have at least a type 6-8 sink tip. Recommended in 10 -15ft in length. This is critical for steel heading success in our experience.
Myth 9. To land a steelhead from the river its best to beach them, this is a silly myth it does not help the fish at all to flop around out of water on the river rocks while you try and catch it. A well netted fish kept in the water is better for the fish’s recovery and survival. Also, great fish handling practice to get into.
Myth 10. To hold your steelie up for the camera and get that perfect shot, again another myth and poor fish handling practice. Its best to minimize your interaction with fish once landed. Have someone ready with the camera and keep your fish in the water to the picture for social media memories. Always keep em wet.
Practice theses 10 tips next time out on the water and you will increase your chances at catching a spring steelhead also known as the fish of 1000 casts. Enjoy and keep em wet.