Low and clear summer strategies?

scched
scched
Last few seasons, I have largely neglected summer steelhead fishing. Strangely enough (and perhaps incorrectly), it seemed harder to me than winter fishing with the water being gin clear most of the time. That said, I am looking to target them a little more this summer into fall and want to narrow in a bit on my clear water tactics.

What leader length and test are you typically running for summers in clear conditions? 8lb? is 10 too visible?

Do you focus more on the "bubbles" or more on fish down in holes. Obviously with lower water the fish get more concentrated and summer fish tend to hang out longer. Is there an area where you seem to find them more often? I've also heard of focusing on areas where there is a creek flowing in for colder, more oxygenated water. Maybe the answer here is just "yes, all of them", but I'm just looking to keep learning more!

Tight lines
 
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rogerdodger
rogerdodger
regarding terminal gear, fluoro or fluoro-coated leader for sure and be prepared to use lower test than you want to, and smaller presentation.
 
scched
scched
why flouro over mono? this is new information for me! and for lower test than you want, where do you usually start? 6? 8? I definitely have historically sized down on presentations
 
rogerdodger
rogerdodger
Fluorocarbon is monofilament (as opposed to braided) but a different material than normal mono, it matches the optical characteristics of water almost perfectly and is virtually invisible. It isn't perfect however, doesn't work great with all knots and can be sensitive to surface damage. I would think 6# fluoro would be light enough in almost all conditions. :cool:
 
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scched
scched
Appreciate you imparting some of your wisdom on me! Time to google "knots for flouro" and place a little order
 
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NKlamerus
NKlamerus
I have been using the Palomar on 6-120# flouro for almost a decade now. Everything from minnows in a fish tank to marlin and tuna. (In Florida)

Don't be afraid to loosen your drag, flouro does not stretch as much as monofilament. It is much stiffer and will sink in water compared to mono, which tends to float.

You might try a mono main line to a flouro leader? Would cost less and give you the stretch sometimes needed with trebles and soft jaws.

It does not wind as well on spinning reels, slightly stiffer, definitely helps to warm it up with warm water before spooling, and expect the first few casts to underperform until the line is wet, similar to braid.

But it is invisible underwater, the hook sets and sensitivity are far better, I actually prefer it for abrasion resistance over mono.
 
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jamisonace
jamisonace
Riffles and transition water are good. My rule of thumb for transition water is 3 to 5 feet deep either getting shallower or getting deeper. For riffles I'd say a little more shallow. Of course seams are always a good bet. Long flats, walking speed water flow with structure can be $. Now you have me dreaming of catching steelhead in shorts and a t shirt.
 
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scched
scched
What tactics are you using for long flats? Since I’m a banky, I would normally approach by swinging spinners or spoons but maybe I’m better off drifting something?
 
S
Slo
scched said:
What tactics are you using for long flats? Since I’m a banky, I would normally approach by swinging spinners or spoons but maybe I’m better off drifting something?
You may want to expand your arsenal a little. The most recent thing I have been using is a twitching jig. I have heard that you should only use those for salmon, but someone forgot to tell the steelhead I have caught. This technique works best if the flat has a flatter bottom, ie - not too many boulders to get hung up on. Spinners and spoons also work well in these areas. Make your first cast right out in front of you, and gradually work across the river with successive casts. Move up or down stream if you aren't getting bites. Jigs under a bobber work well in these areas, too. Another tactic I use, use a slinky sinker, less hang ups, and a RAG. If you have never heard of these, look them up. They are made from window backer foam rod, with yarn threaded through them. You can make then whatever size you like, and colors to your liking. Or, drift fish some salad shrimp. A little yard with them helps get tangled up with the fish's teeth.
 
jamisonace
jamisonace
scched said:
What tactics are you using for long flats? Since I’m a banky, I would normally approach by swinging spinners or spoons but maybe I’m better off drifting something?
Banky? I think the proper term is bank maggot. Just joking but that is what I call myself when I'm fishing from the bank.

Anything that lets you cover all the water. I like to drift fish but spoons would be great. Summer fish are much more likely to chase after something than a winter fish. Cast then take a step downstream and repeat. Bobber and jig would work well. I mostly fish from a boat so I've probably ran diver and bait more than anything. I really like plugs too. Whatever you do, work it slow and cover everything that looks fishy. I hope you find some good summer runs this year. I'll be surprised if any rivers within 75 miles of me have a decent run.

My guess is that if you are comfortable with spoons and spinners you'll do fine with them.
 
scched
scched
Slo said:
You may want to expand your arsenal a little. The most recent thing I have been using is a twitching jig. I have heard that you should only use those for salmon, but someone forgot to tell the steelhead I have caught. This technique works best if the flat has a flatter bottom, ie - not too many boulders to get hung up on. Spinners and spoons also work well in these areas. Make your first cast right out in front of you, and gradually work across the river with successive casts. Move up or down stream if you aren't getting bites. Jigs under a bobber work well in these areas, too. Another tactic I use, use a slinky sinker, less hang ups, and a RAG. If you have never heard of these, look them up. They are made from window backer foam rod, with yarn threaded through them. You can make then whatever size you like, and colors to your liking. Or, drift fish some salad shrimp. A little yard with them helps get tangled up with the fish's teeth.
Ah interesting. I did some twitching this fall for coho and am comfortable, I was under the (now known to be false) impression that this wasn’t the best tactic for steelhead! I’ll be sure to keep that in mind, appreciate you. Also going to lookup a RAG
 
S
Slo
scched said:
Ah interesting. I did some twitching this fall for coho and am comfortable, I was under the (now known to be false) impression that this wasn’t the best tactic for steelhead! I’ll be sure to keep that in mind, appreciate you. Also going to lookup a RAG
I tie my own, and tried suspending a few of the twitching jigs under bobbers. They worked there, too. I haven't really sat down and crunched the numbers yet, but I must have over a hundred that I have tied, also some spinners I built myself. I like that I have control on the quality, colors, and components I use - and that adds to my confidence using them. The RAG, I ended up going to a local glass shop, that does windows and such. They sold me a few feet of backer rod (foam) in the colors I wanted. Typically, they come in grey. But I was able to find some in White, too. Another option, we had foam ear plugs to use in a manufacturing plant I worked in. They came in packs of two, in different fluorescent, white, and other colors. I cut to size, and use a darning needle to thread the yarn through them, and then trim to the size I want. The yarn is useful for getting stuck in their teeth, also looks like your RAG has wings. So it adds motion and attracts them, plus being buoyant, float just off the bottom, depending on where your weight is. And they don't cost much. Good luck and tight lines.
 
Diehard
Diehard
Coon shrimp under a bobber with 6lb fluorocarbon leader or 1/8th ounce jig under a bobber with 6lb leader night crawler under a bobber and of course spinners this is what my summer arsenal consists of not sure if this has been mentioned but steelhead can see very well so if you run up on a hole loaded with fish in clear water good luck getting them to bite use some stealth good luck
 
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