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Dansmith

Another steel-thread

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I'm heading up in mid November to NY, we have a guide for one day and plan to fish 3 days by ourselves. I've been reading this year more than years past because I'm trying to get more fish on the fly than on the centerpin/spin gear.

I've read several threads on here that talk about swinging streamers, while my past experience lead me to believe that egg patterns and stoneflies are the way to go in the fall. The guide we go with claims that swinging streamers in the fall just spooks fish, and most of the steelhead and browns are keyed on eggs, and streamers are something that should be used in the spring. I would really like to catch a fish on the swing this year, but will do whatever it takes to land some steel and browns. What do you guys think about streamers VS eggs, spring VS fall?

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I fish lots of eggs in the fall. I have caught a nice steely on the swing, fishing pocket water and as I mentioned most of my fly fishing uses eggs or spawn imitations, so of course most of the fish I catch, are on what I use the most to fish with.

 

I did also figure out that I have been fishing with too tight a drag and most of the steelhead I lose are due to the fish being able to pull the fly out of its mouth due to the tight drag. I loosened it up a bit and found that after the initial madness I can tighten the drag and settle into the battle

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I would really like to catch a fish on the swing this year, but will do whatever it takes to land some steel and browns. What do you guys think about streamers VS eggs, spring VS fall?

 

My experience is based largely on the Salmon River. I have not fished for steelhead in the spring. Swinging streamers in the fall is a low-percentage play. Some anglers will go days without a touch on a swung streamer; that's the price of admission for that incredible sensation when you finally do connect. No disrespect to your guide, but the steelhead that surgically removed my egg-sucking leech with a crushing blow a few falls back didn't seem spooked by a streamer, nor did the brutes my friends Tommy and Todd landed last fall -- or the one I did on a Grapefruithead Leech. Just sayin'.

 

You don't have fish streamers to catch a steelhead on the swing. The vast majority of my steelhead fishing is done under an indicator, and I almost always let my fly swing up and down once the dead-drift phase is complete. I have had fish chase everything on that swing from soft-hackles to size 12 nymphs to gaudy Crystal Meths. It's not the classic, romantic swung presentation, but it does work.

 

Good luck! :-)

 

Steve Culton

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My experience has been that streamer fishing is a very low productivity technique. I have heard that streamer fishing is better in the spring, but by then I am more focused on stripers so I have yet to make the trip. I know a guy who fishes streamers exclusively up there and to him a good trip is one hook-up per day on the swing. The fish that do hit streamers tend to be bigger and more aggressive fish that are fresh from the lake. I have spent time up there devoting entire days to swinging streamers and better than 90% of the time I don't get so much as a single bite. I mean, I catch tons of trout swinging streamers on other rivers, but the steelhead seem to show no interest. I have tried fishing every type of water-fast, slow, shallow, deep and I have fished the entire water column from swinging unweighted flies on floating lines to dredging the bottom with T-14 sink tips and even full sinking lines. I have hooked exactly four steelhead on the swing. I have tried small streamers, big streamers, bright colorful streamers, and dark streamers in everything from basic wooly buggers to fancy elaborite Spey flies. I have even tried streamers when the fish seem to be aggressive and rolling on the surface and splashing about.

 

These days I mostly stick to drifting egg flies and nymphs. It seems to be the productive way to catch steelhead.

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Swinging streamers isn't the most productive method for hooking steelhead, but it is very fun and when the swing bite is on it is not uncommon to hook and land multiple steelhead each day.  Understanding the river, where the fish lie, and how to present the fly to them in a manner that is enticing is key, but it takes some time to learn.  Covering a lot of water is your best bet swinging flies. Fishing the same run over and over can be unproductive even if you know fish are present.  Be on the hunt to find that player that wants to crush your swung fly.


Some steelhead will be spooked by swinging flies but for the most part it doesn't bother them at all.  Plenty of guides use plugs all season long and have no problem getting mutiple hookups.


Are the steel and browns keyed in on eggs.....yes...but that does not mean they won't take a swung fly.


I would agree that swinging streamers is more productive in the spring but I have had some 5+ steelhead days swinging flies in October, November, December etc...


This past week was very tough swinging flies on the salmon river due to the above average water temp and the dropping barometer.  Some guys did good while others got skunked.  All in all it was still a great trip with some very nice fish landed.


Frank


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 Understanding the river, where the fish lie, and how to present the fly to them in a manner that is enticing is key, but it takes some time to learn.  Covering a lot of water is your best bet swinging flies. Fishing the same run over and over can be unproductive even if you know fish are present.  Be on the hunt to find that player that wants to crush your swung fly.

 

This is excellent advice.

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I jut got home about an hour ago from NY. we fished from Sat-thru today. I didn't use anything except Trout Beads, and sucker spawn. We fished Oak Orchard yesterday. The bite was on pretty good for me on the beads. The two guys above me did really well on sucker spawn. If you're not familiar with sucker spawn, just google it. They are super fast and easy to tie, and they're effective. If you want eggs, check out the website for Trout Beads. They're inexpensive.. I loaded three boxes of beads, all different colors for less than $50. Tout Beads egg yolk color was the ticket yesterday. We landed quite a few steelies on them yesterday....all small fish though, but still lots of fun.

 

I'm sure streamers work. Just like anything...there is a time, and a place. Good luck!

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The "streamer" bite is on. All the fish this time of year attack EVERYTHING, Spey flies, beads, eggs, bugger, leeches. Just get your fly in the water.

 

 

If only it were that easy. I have spent plenty of time this time of year swinging streamers for next to no results. I catch plenty of big trout swinging streamers so I like to think I know what I am doing, but yet fishing streamers the way I fish them on trout rivers all over New England has resulted in exactly three steelhead hooked.

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I was up there this week and noted a few things.

 

- The river was packed with anglers like it was salmon season. It's hard to imagine this doesn't put the fish down (and this might suggest being on the move and swinging to fish remote/rested water).

- The fish seemed reluctant to feed, with specific (though unpredictable) slots throughout the day when the action would heat up and cool down.

- One cleaning station mentioned that many steelhead were devoid of eggs, presumably because of the poor salmon run (not to jump to conclusions, but stoneflies worked better than egg patterns this trip for us).

- The water has been on the low side (c.400 cfs) for some time now. I'd like to see a flood to stir things up.

- I spoke with a group of swung-fly enthusiasts and they reported 2-3 hook ups each on Monday in middle river.

- I don't believe that swinging flies selects bigger/fresher fish in November, when the river has a good head of big, fresh fish (many of which we saw caught this last week, on nymphs). It may do later in the year/spring.

 

I swung a fly for Atlantic salmon for years and had spares results, so these days I enjoy the novelty of fishing deep and hooking way more fish. The guys I fish with like to take two rods - one for swinging, one for nymphing. Once they've felt a fish or two on nymphs, they like to mix it up and swing. It breaks the relative monotony of rinse/repeat nymphing.

 

Balancing the two seems like a nice way to go.

 

Good luck.

 

Jonny

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I was up there this week and noted a few things.

 

- The river was packed with anglers like it was salmon season. It's hard to imagine this doesn't put the fish down (and this might suggest being on the move and swinging to fish remote/rested water).

- The fish seemed reluctant to feed, with specific (though unpredictable) slots throughout the day when the action would heat up and cool down.

- One cleaning station mentioned that many steelhead were devoid of eggs, presumably because of the poor salmon run (not to jump to conclusions, but stoneflies worked better than egg patterns this trip for us).

- The water has been on the low side (c.400 cfs) for some time now. I'd like to see a flood to stir things up.

- I spoke with a group of swung-fly enthusiasts and they reported 2-3 hook ups each on Monday in middle river.

- I don't believe that swinging flies selects bigger/fresher fish in November, when the river has a good head of big, fresh fish (many of which we saw caught this last week, on nymphs). It may do later in the year/spring.

 

I swung a fly for Atlantic salmon for years and had spares results, so these days I enjoy the novelty of fishing deep and hooking way more fish. The guys I fish with like to take two rods - one for swinging, one for nymphing. Once they've felt a fish or two on nymphs, they like to mix it up and swing. It breaks the relative monotony of rinse/repeat nymphing.

 

Balancing the two seems like a nice way to go.

 

Good luck.

 

Jonny

 

Thanks for that, I'm planning on going up in 10 days time, when you say 'packed', how packed is that? # of Anglers per 100yrds as a guide, thanks.

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I was up a couple of weeks back. I carried a switch rod and swung a fair amount of flies with a few bumps and a random fresh king to show for it. It was a tough sell. One day in the lower dsr for the least educated fish I figured swinging was a good bet. After a hour of watching everyone else get fish on eggs, it broke my spirit and I switched over to a egg setup and almost instantly starting picking up fish. Swinging flies is a lot of fun, but in the fall when the steelhead are on the egg wagon, it isn't a numbers game.

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Thanks for that, I'm planning on going up in 10 days time, when you say 'packed', how packed is that? # of Anglers per 100yrds as a guide, thanks.

 

A lot can change in a few days. We arrrived on a Sunday night, when one might expect to see the weekend crowds drifting away. Our camp ground was fully booked through the week. We were on the water at 6am, and that was an hour too late to fish the water we wanted. There were 10-15 anglers per pool, and we weren't in the upper river.

 

No doubt the crowds will lessen as we get further into November.

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To quote the Stoat,"one cleaning station reported the steelhead were devoid of eggs." Duuuuhhhhhh!  Of course they are ,it's fall and steelhead are spring spawners.The eggs have'nt even begun to develop.



Now,if you're fishing PA and the Erie tribs you'll run into fish w/ eggs as there are fall spawning steelhead in Erie.But in lk Ontario it's all Chamber ck and that is exclusively a spring spawner.


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To quote the Stoat,"one cleaning station reported the steelhead were devoid of eggs." Duuuuhhhhhh!  Of course they are ,it's fall and steelhead are spring spawners.The eggs have'nt even begun to develop.

Now,if you're fishing PA and the Erie tribs you'll run into fish w/ eggs as there are fall spawning steelhead in Erie.But in lk Ontario it's all Chamber ck and that is exclusively a spring spawner.

 

The stomachs of the steelhead were devoid of salmon eggs. Often I find it helps to read whole sentences.

 

Duuuuuuh. Indeed.

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