About that winter fishing?

plumbertom
Still belonging to the newbie population, I have more questions.
About fishing this time of year.
As I understand from reading Steelhead are pretty much pursued year round, unless I misunderstood.
I've done reasonably well fishing the Willamette locally and I'm curious as to opinions about my chances as the weather cools.
I haven't been down to the river for a while due to my diesel Dodge not being happy with the cold mornings and a weak battery. I did get a new battery so the truck should be willing now.
Also should I try different tactics for colder water?
Is fishing better during high water or should I wait for it to drop a bit.
Am I looking for the water to clear?
I understand that visibility will play somewhat of a roll and that, again from what I read, salmon are very hard to attract in murky water.
Would this be a good time to add larger attractors or maybe a spinglo type to a drifting rig or is plunking the best method during cold weather with higher water?
Now, I have some partial information from the books I've bought and read, but nothing I've learned yet beats info from the guys that are out there chasing the bite locally.
 
Native Fisher
I don't know how long the summer steelhead hang out over there, my guess would be they are spawning now. The winter run is just starting but you will need to travel to the the sewerslaw or some other coastal stream to find them. I know the willamette gets very few winter steelhead.
 
plumbertom
Thanks for your input, discouraging as it may be.
I went down by the river this morning for a look and I'd guess the water to be around 10' above what it was a month ago.
guess I'll have to try and get down toward the coast to give it a go.
 
LilCorky
Not sure about 10 foot higher. River guage says maybe five foot higher.
 
JonT
Clackamas has a strong winter run. Look at CFS and hit it when it's dropping.
 
Jordy
LilCorky said:
Not sure about 10 foot higher. River guage says maybe five foot higher.

Probably thinking 10' up the bank, though depending on the width and hydraulics of the section of river you are looking at the gauge changes can be quite drastic.

As a rule a dropping/clearing river will generate a better bite but rules are meant to be broken. Often times a rising stream will also be accompanied by rising temperatures, which can trigger an awesome bite after a cold snap.

Winter fish will be closer to the bank in many conditions. Don't let your drift or presentation die too early because you will hook a lot of fish right against the bank in just a few inches of water.
 
plumbertom
LilCorky said:
Not sure about 10 foot higher. River guage says maybe five foot higher.
Okay. I'm just guessing by looking at the appearance from the turn off to where I parked to fish before. I looks to well up over my head and like it would be over the top of my truck (7'+ tall) if it were parked there. But not being experienced, this is my first winter here, I don't know.
 
plumbertom
JonT said:
Clackamas has a strong winter run. Look at CFS and hit it when it's dropping.
I'd like to but considering I live in Eugene and am limited to local fishing by finances, that's unlikely to happen any time soon.
 
plumbertom
Jordy said:
Probably thinking 10' up the bank, though depending on the width and hydraulics of the section of river you are looking at the gauge changes can be quite drastic.

As a rule a dropping/clearing river will generate a better bite but rules are meant to be broken. Often times a rising stream will also be accompanied by rising temperatures, which can trigger an awesome bite after a cold snap.

Winter fish will be closer to the bank in many conditions. Don't let your drift or presentation die too early because you will hook a lot of fish right against the bank in just a few inches of water.
So if the conditions look to be favorable (dropping water level with clearing) you suggest continuing what I've so far had success with, drift fishing or maybe float fishing as opposed to giving plunking a go?
If I choose to try plunking, would you think a small, medium or large sized spin & glow type float above my offering or just the use the lure of my choice without one.
Seems I've had the best result with a smaller sized offering than the larger ones. But in faster, less clear water I'd prefer the opinion of those with more experience.
 
kerrydaleherring
I live in veneta and like you am subject to fishing closer to home. I fish both the McKenzie river runs and Siuslaw river runs. I don't know if your familiar with the Siuslaw at all but I plunk the slaw when its anywhere between 8' - 12' on the DROP not the RISE. whittaker creek just a short drive with bank access all through out anywhere between recreational site to wild cat usually ill just bobber and egg it or drift fish. When I plunk I just use eggs then I tie a dropper line off of swivel from which a flat rock is half hitched to 6 lb line confused in why people buy expensive weight to more than likely be lost.
 
Jordy
plumbertom said:
So if the conditions look to be favorable (dropping water level with clearing) you suggest continuing what I've so far had success with, drift fishing or maybe float fishing as opposed to giving plunking a go?
If I choose to try plunking, would you think a small, medium or large sized spin & glow type float above my offering or just the use the lure of my choice without one.
Seems I've had the best result with a smaller sized offering than the larger ones. But in faster, less clear water I'd prefer the opinion of those with more experience.

Smaller is better, but in off color water you may want to up your offering a notch or two in order to attract more attention. When it comes to eggs i don't look at it as a bigger visual presentation so much as a larger scent profile for the fish to track down.

Heres a tip that was my biggest advance in plunking (by a wide margin over other tweaks). --- Fresh bait is the most important factor after properly locating your offering in a travel lane. Change out your baits every 10-15 minutes. During one high water year a long time ago I was plunking a lot. I noticed 2 guys who regularly scratched out a fish and a couple bites every trip. They used different gear, rigged up different often had different bait and I finally figured out they were re-baiting twice as much as the rest of us. I followed suit and pretty soon there were three guys regularly catching fish.

It might seem like a minor detail but this is what I figured out: After I started on this path i never got bit on a bait that was soaked for more than 15 minutes. Most guys I have ever plunked around (myself included) re-bait every half hour or more. Thats 50% of your time isn't productive fishing.

Good luck out there!
 
Steel4life
I might have to try switching to fresh bait more regularly, because I have only caught one winter steelhead plucking with bait, that was on the umpqua. The other five fish I've got plunking were on a big spin-n-glo with no scent or bait. I'm sure bait helps, but finding the lanes the fish are traveling in high muddy water is just as important. I rarely plunk, and its only when I have an itch to fish. It could just be beginners luck for all I know.
 
Top Bottom