MagDarter

Steelhead

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30 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, Garshark572 said:

Dead drift without an indicator with nymphs, beads and small streamers my favorite being the white death

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Awesome fish!  I’ll give the indicator another try.  I have a few white death tied up and plenty of buggers and leach flys.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

My normal methods would be nymphing without an indicator and with an indicator. I have swung streamers but haven’t had the level of success as with the other two methods. It normally depends on the water I’m fishing that determines the method of fishing. 
 

 

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Edited by aneary

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2 hours ago, aneary said:

My normal methods would be nymphing without an indicator and with an indicator. I have swung streamers but haven’t had the level of success as with the other two methods. It normally depends on the water I’m fishing that determines the method of fishing. 
 

 

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That’s a heck of a fish.  I’m so used to fishing without one but you know what they always say… getting uncomfortable and trying new things makes you a better angler.  The fish pics are getting me stoked for the season… can’t wait till the salmon are gone and steelhead show up! 
 

 

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19 hours ago, MagDarter said:

Awesome fish!  I’ll give the indicator another try.  I have a few white death tied up and plenty of buggers and leach flys.  

I really like the white death is the spring especially with strained water. You might even catch a few smallmouth late in the steelhead season on them.  

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Egg Patterns and Indicators for me... This fish is my best to date, Hooked him on a Blue Estaz Egg pattern first thing in the morning and lost him after about 5 minutes... Came back to the same spot 4 hours later and hooked him again on the same fly! When we landed him he had the other fly still in his mouth.. Pretty cool experience....

Fish  Tony Costa  4-25-09 004.JPG

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2 hours ago, Blurple928 said:

Egg Patterns and Indicators for me... This fish is my best to date, Hooked him on a Blue Estaz Egg pattern first thing in the morning and lost him after about 5 minutes... Came back to the same spot 4 hours later and hooked him again on the same fly! When we landed him he had the other fly still in his mouth.. Pretty cool experience....

Fish  Tony Costa  4-25-09 004.JPG

Awesome story! 

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Guys who are fishing the indicators, can you expand on what type of water you look for and how you add weight to the tippet or flies?  I am also tired of the duck and chuck.  There is no doubt that many fish are flossed

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1 hour ago, John350 said:

Guys who are fishing the indicators, can you expand on what type of water you look for and how you add weight to the tippet or flies?  I am also tired of the duck and chuck.  There is no doubt that many fish are flossed

The method that RAW gave me was fly line to 4’ of 8lb to 18” of whatever tippet you use 6lb or 4lb.  He said that allows you to have greater control of your drift without creating any drag on your indicator or fly.  I’m curious to know where the weight would go though.  Would also like to hear other perspectives from other anglers.  

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At some point, regardless of leader material or construction, and often at multiple points, you are going to have drag on your indicator. Those who master mending and checking (moving it upstream when it starts to get ahead of the weight/fly) their indicator will enjoy longer, drag-free drifts.

 

My basic setup for NY is an 8-10 foot butt section (usually 10# P-Line) then a power swivel then my tippet material (usually 4-6# Drennan). I would drop shot if I could, but since you can't do that on a river like the Salmon, the weight goes on the butt section just above the power swivel. Weight varies on water height, speed, and temperature, or how slowly I want to fish. 

 

I make my own yarn indicators which I love. Far more nuanced than a small plastic globe.

 

Steve Culton

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I'm with you. Always bottom bounced with no indicator. Hoping to get back up on the Salmon this year. It's been a long time. Guess I should bring some indicators. This thread is helpful.

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I agree Steve C, Im using a 10.6 switch rod, 9 ft 10lb tapered flouro leader (they sink better than mono), tied to small spro swivel, with a small shot of lead above the swivel, 4 ft section of 4-6 Drennan (awesome cold water tipper material). I go when its SUPER COLD, Jan-Feb, less crowds, more fish, much colder. very helpful with the switch/Spey rod not stripping line and icing guides. I mainly throw 3 files in millions of colors and sizes. Egg patterns (usually with Estaz), Stone flies (10-14) again all imaginable colors) and Soft Hackles (8-12). some years they only hit one of em, most years i get them on all depending on hour of the day, water clarity etc. Very rarely use an indicator, sometimes i do though, especially if the water is fast and there are many breaks in current, easier for me to see where everything is. 95% of the time, Im dead drifting using my fly line as an indicator, when you get used to it, its deadly. I started fising up there in the early 90's, I started ducking/Chucking, move to single hand, then to spey and settled into switch rods, I can high stick nymph with a switch rod easily with one hand and still two hand cast with it if needed. important thing to remember up there is, there are always fish there. stick it out, experiment, move around alot in a pool. if you find that perfect drift, beat to death until you figure out what they want. when you do, you can usually pull a bunch of fish outta there.  the perfect drift leads to the perfect conditions for fish to be in.. dont be afraid to try new water thatyou are unfamiiar with..you'll recognize similiar features of places youre comfy in and eventually you'll figure it out.. I used to stay away from Sportsmans pool because 1) it was usually crowded, and 2) it was intimidating with its width, but when i took the time to study it and work it, it was exactly like another place i fished up there.. excellent drifts, good bottom, many seams to fish.. 

Welp, hope that helps!! lotta babbling but you got me excited for this years trip.. Alreadt started tying flies.. Good luck!!

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6 hours ago, big country said:

I agree Steve C, Im using a 10.6 switch rod, 9 ft 10lb tapered flouro leader (they sink better than mono), tied to small spro swivel, with a small shot of lead above the swivel, 4 ft section of 4-6 Drennan (awesome cold water tipper material). I go when its SUPER COLD, Jan-Feb, less crowds, more fish, much colder. very helpful with the switch/Spey rod not stripping line and icing guides. I mainly throw 3 files in millions of colors and sizes. Egg patterns (usually with Estaz), Stone flies (10-14) again all imaginable colors) and Soft Hackles (8-12). some years they only hit one of em, most years i get them on all depending on hour of the day, water clarity etc. Very rarely use an indicator, sometimes i do though, especially if the water is fast and there are many breaks in current, easier for me to see where everything is. 95% of the time, Im dead drifting using my fly line as an indicator, when you get used to it, its deadly. I started fising up there in the early 90's, I started ducking/Chucking, move to single hand, then to spey and settled into switch rods, I can high stick nymph with a switch rod easily with one hand and still two hand cast with it if needed. important thing to remember up there is, there are always fish there. stick it out, experiment, move around alot in a pool. if you find that perfect drift, beat to death until you figure out what they want. when you do, you can usually pull a bunch of fish outta there.  the perfect drift leads to the perfect conditions for fish to be in.. dont be afraid to try new water thatyou are unfamiiar with..you'll recognize similiar features of places youre comfy in and eventually you'll figure it out.. I used to stay away from Sportsmans pool because 1) it was usually crowded, and 2) it was intimidating with its width, but when i took the time to study it and work it, it was exactly like another place i fished up there.. excellent drifts, good bottom, many seams to fish.. 

Welp, hope that helps!! lotta babbling but you got me excited for this years trip.. Alreadt started tying flies.. Good luck!!

Great post!  Can you show us some of your soft hackle ties? 
 

I also like sportsman it’s a really fishy spot.  Do you fish it as late as January February?  I’m sure it gets a lot of fresh fish as I don’t see that run as a deep “holding” pool correct me if I’m wrong.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Absolutely zero personal experience with great lakes steelhead, but 60 years experience with northwest ocean run fish......and I find certain details of this discussion interesting.

 

First of all, fishing a nymph dead drift without an indicator used to be, back 40 years ago, the very epitome of PhD, top level skill trout fishing.  It took years and years of experience with line behavior in currents to get it right and it was considered the most deadly technique of all.  Beginner/intermediate techniques were a swinging/dragging presentation or dry fly upstream....where the fly and it's behavior were visible. But dead drift without indicator was way out of reach of 90% of fly fishermen.

 

Then came indicator fishing and suddenly any beginner with a half hour casting lesson could dead drift a nymph and profit from the effectiveness of that presentation.  I credit (or blame) indicator fishing partly for an explosion of interest.....and DE-mystification.....and even de-valuing and loss of respect of what it took to become a good fly fisherman.  The difference between dead drifting a nymph without indicator (actually there IS an indicator......the leader....or the tip of the fly line) and a dedicated indicator is the difference between actually climbing a mountain versus getting a ride on something to the top.  Thus my reaction of irony to the reversal of:

 

"Chuck and duck I all I know… I always go as light as I can I’m not dredging bottom and I do really well that way but the indicator just feels more “pure” to me "

 

"It’s the only way I know.  When I’m not catching sometimes I get frustrated and try an indicator and I feel lost although I know how to manage line control etc."

 

Puzzled by the problem.  Compared to no indicator, indicator fishing is so straightforward.  You fish the indicator as being your "dry fly" and mend to keep IT dead drifting.  With an indicator one can do something nearly impossible otherwise, dead drift (no indicator) downstream for LONG distances.

 

In my experience....and opinion.....the flossing question is mostly, for steelhead anyway (as opposed to salmon) specious.  Yes, absolutely, no doubt about it whatsoever.....steelhead DO EAT during their spawning runs, although how much and how actively depends on the river size and the length of the fun.  Here in the NW the fish come in well fed and stoked up fat.  They are suddenly in a new (forgotten?) environment and removed from their accustomed food sources.  They are curious, at first, but not especially ravenous.  Winter-run fish that come into cold, short rivers, spawn almost immediately, and return to the ocean may not get that hungry or energy-stressed.  But fish that come in between April-May....or Aug-Sept....have to run up 500 miles of river, over-winter, and then spawn in march-April.....have damn well GOT TO EAT.  Their reactiveness to food sources...or possible food sources....changes dramatically during those months......to the benefit of the fishermen.  How and what they react to may be geared to the food sources of the river they are in, but I have watched steelhead searching out and picking up nymphs off the bottom, actively feeding on duns during a hatch.   Clearly, at times when a hatch starts and the local resident trout, rainbow, redband, or coastal cutthroat strt feeding the steelhead join in.  And in this land of Pteronarcys (salmon flys) and Hexagenia, I have cashed in BIG TIME by matching the hatch with both nymphs AND DRYS during the proper times.  Approaching a 10# or bigger fish smashing duns on the surface can get your knees shaking.

 

I concentrate on a very specialized, unknown....and unpublicized......  for a reason......fishery that in a good year during two months will yield 500+ fish (if I am working it hard).....never fishing beyond lunchtime.  7-8  before noon is about average.  My best morning was 53 hookups, 32 landed by 1:00 pm.  Among the local fly fishermen that have heard the whispering and tried it......it has been long dismissed as "flossing".  That could not be further from the truth......demonstrably.......but since it keeps the pressure down, those of us who know the fishery do not bother arguing against that notion.  Instead we find it a quite quaint and useful misconception.  Here, those believing in the "flossing" theory are just those who cannot figure out (or in some cases bend their brains to correct old beliefs) how to catch these fish.......using their old, rigid, less demanding techniques.

 

Yes, steelhead eat....regularly....what the environment presents to them.  They are also very curious and at times will chase down and eat almost ANYTHING that is strange, weird, MIGHT be edible.....like a large, pink, plastic worm hooked through the midsection.  They are a very confounding fish.  If you want to know what steelhead are thinking...i dunno....you might try hallucinogenics.

 

Any technique works, sometime or another.  Some more consistently than others.  Some better in the hands of some fishermen than others.  You are fly fishing because you like the challenge of fishing with one hand tied behind your back.  Choose your technique and refine it.  But keep your thinking open.

 

Assemble this link:

https://

flyfishingfotography.smugmug.com/

Family/Flyfishingfotography/i-mZm82Sz/A

 

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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