More steelhead advice

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Mike123

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While out yesterday fishing I caught my first summer steelhead of the year.
I was asked by a couple gentlemen what I caught it on.
I said a "spoon". They we're like "what?? A SPOON!" :lol: Like that was weird or something.
I looked at their tackle. All they had we're a TON of jigs.
I was down there before anyone yesterday and I fished 3 different jigs REALLY hard with no takes... I covered all kinds of productive water. So then I said hmmm... Im gonna try a spoon. Second cast BAM fish on.
So the moral of the story... don't use something because it's the "fad" of the area. Use what looks productive to the type of water you fish. I hear a lot
of guys always saying something like "oh they were only biting an orange corkie with green yarn yesterday", then the next week or two you'll see 50 guys throwing that exact same thing!!! LMAO :lol:
Bring a few small tackle trays of different things for different types of water and learn more then just one technique. This is my .02 though... If you really only wan2 know one technique that's up to you. :D More fish for me.
 
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steelhead_stalkers

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If I don't get a fish within twenty minutes of throwing a jig I will switch colors or try a different bait! Most of the time they eat my jig first :lol: I think if a steelhead will eat a spoon or spinner they will eat a perfectly presented jig, but with that being said many people use way to big of jigs ;) Also many people don't know how to fish jigs that well and its not just a throw it out and let it drift through thing, it takes experience to master jigs and spoons for that matter! Good job on the steelhead :clap:
 
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Mike123

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If I don't get a fish within twenty minutes of throwing a jig I will switch colors or try a different bait! Most of the time they eat my jig first :lol: I think if a steelhead will eat a spoon or spinner they will eat a perfectly presented jig, but with that being said many people use way to big of jigs ;) Also many people don't know how to fish jigs that well and its not just a throw it out and let it drift through thing, it takes experience to master jigs and spoons for that matter! Good job on the steelhead :clap:

I totally agree.. Most people in this area are using strictly LARGE marabou jigs...
Some fish though will turn down a jig, but if a large flashy thing gets in there face they will smack it! And vice versa... Some will only take the perfectly presented small jig... Which is why I come prepared for both kinds of fish.
 
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steelhead_stalkers

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Very good point!! I need to fish spoons more often, its a cool feeling when they smack a spoon. What size were you using?
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Spoonin fish is a kick in yer pants. Vicious takes. 1/4, and 1/3 oz. pixies in all sorts of paint schemes, and the ol standards, raw brass, and nickle too. I don't find any difference in the hammer fronts vs. non. So anything you get in that size/shape should be fishy if you choose the right color/s for the water you fish most.

This is a great place to start learning how to drift fish terminal. I hung up a lot less rollin spoons, than spinners when I was a wee. So if any of you reading this, are trying to drift fish spinners, and losing a lot of gear... Try some spoons, get used to the drifts you fish primarily, then come back through with spinners. I like to learn uber craggy slots with a spoon, and slay with spinners dredged on the bottom if the spoon won't get down well enough.
 
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Mike123

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Very good point!! I need to fish spoons more often, its a cool feeling when they smack a spoon. What size were you using?

I'm not sure the exact specs but it's 2 1/4in long and about 3/8oz..
Hammered Silver and green.. I found this spoon a while back.. I added a split ring and a size 1 siwash..

Spoons tend to hang up less often. I usually cast them out a long ways and upstream slightly, let 'em sink, then just keep the spoon thumping nice a slow.
Sometimes you'll need to reel really slow sometimes you can just hold your rod tip low and downstream and drift them... The hits can come real vicious or sometimes just feel like your spoon stopped or snagged a root.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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No doubt Mike! Gotta love when your drift just stops dead in the current. I lift, and pick up line, and usualy come up with an irate fish on the other end!
 
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Kodiak

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Spooning....

Spooning....

It didn't happen to have a teardrop shape to it does it? Considering all the possibilities of where this summer came from..ahem...and the "fad" place I'm guessing it is a green steelie, 5/8 oz left from the weekend warriors last summer...am I gettin close? Thats a good spoon for that type of water.
 
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Mike123

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It didn't happen to have a teardrop shape to it does it? Considering all the possibilities of where this summer came from..ahem...and the "fad" place I'm guessing it is a green steelie, 5/8 oz left from the weekend warriors last summer...am I gettin close? Thats a good spoon for that type of water.

Nope wasn't a stee-lee and found it at the coast. It's more a longer spoon.
But.. the "fad" place you are thinking is correct. ;)
 
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Bfishin

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Thanks for the spoon fishin advice. What river did you catch your Summer on? I've never caught anything but a trout on a spinner or spoon. I always drift the Willamette around here in the valley. I really don't know the right way to fish a spinner or spoon for steelhead. I'm used to using them for trout only, so I think I reel too much instead of drifting it like a corkie set-up.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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You are on the right track. We rock 'em, sock 'em on hardware almost all year long. But, yes, drift fishing spinners, is the way to go for Salmon/Steelhead. You cast out like a standard drift rig, and reel just enough to maintain contact with the spinner. The hydraulic pressures in the river shold do the work, and keep the blade thumping. But I will say this. You need to be on the bottom, so a heavy spinner body, is required almost everywhere. If you are not losing spinners you are not fishing them properly. At first it is frusterating losing a lot of gear, but after a while it becomes second nature, and instead of snags you nail fish! And spoons are a good way to get into this drifting terminal game. They hang up a lot less, and can help you learn a drift before dredging bottom with spinners. Good luck this year rollin hardware man. And a note about spinner fishing. If you get into it, start producing your own. It is very simple, and has saved me literally, thousands of dollars over the last year or so alone.
 
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Bfishin

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Thanks again for the info Arctic. I usually throw a 2/5oz Little Cleo silver or a #5 Blue Fox in a variety of colors, but since I should be drifting the bottom I assume I should adjust lure weights depending on the drift. I can't wait to get out there and lose some lures. Lol... Do you suggest rigging a snap swivel to your spoon? And I've always figured if they'll bite a spoon or spinner why wouldn't they prefer a fat chunk of roe or a fresh sand shrimp over a flashy piece of metal? I'm still pretty green when it comes to Salmon/Steelhead though. Thanks!
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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I have noticed that bell body spinners do not sink nearly as fast as bullet, or stacked body units. If you can, try not to put weight in front of the spinner, or spoon it deadens the feel at your rod, and action of the lure. But you are correct. Choosing the proper lure weight for the drift you fish will certainly increase the odds of hooking up. Hardware definitely has its time, and place, but sometimes the only thing that will get you fish, is bait. Same goe in the opposite direction though too. I like to drift through a classic drift lane with bait, yarnies, or whatever you choose, and if nothing on those, I play clean-up with spinners. But then there are just perfect spinner drifts, where you can't help but run hardware. And if you find your drift gear not coming close to riding the lane, switch to terminal and see if the extra weight helps keep it in the zone. And I do not recommend using anythig but your mainline to tie off a piece of hardware. I think swivels, and snaps just create a spot to loose the connection you have to the lure. I use a palomar knot sometimes if the spoon won't let me get away with the improved clinch. Let us know how you fair. Good luck.
 
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steelhead_stalkers

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It is rare for me to fish a hole and not hook a fish only to get one on a spinner or spoon. Normally I will get one on a jig or roe then finish up the hole with a spinner and spoon for a bonus fish!! The reason for that is because 90% of the fish in a given hole will run for the hills when they see a big spinner or spoon coming through the water but that other 10% will smash it. The 90% of weary fish I can get with a jig or roe under a float or drif fishing but then that crazy kamikaze 10% that we all know and love I can get with a spinner or spoon on my way out! See that way I use the more stealthy techniques first and finish with a bang!! LOL :D

This is why its good to cover water with a spinner and spoon if you don't have a lot of time because those more aggressive fish will hit within a few casts of being in the zone. I think overall you can hook and land more fish by approaching it like I do. Plus you will lose less gear and money! :lol:
 
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Mike123

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It is rare for me to fish a hole and not hook a fish only to get one on a spinner or spoon. Normally I will get one on a jig or roe then finish up the hole with a spinner and spoon for a bonus fish!! The reason for that is because 90% of the fish in a given hole will run for the hills when they see a big spinner or spoon coming through the water but that other 10% will smash it. The 90% of weary fish I can get with a jig or roe under a float or drif fishing but then that crazy kamikaze 10% that we all know and love I can get with a spinner or spoon on my way out! See that way I use the more stealthy techniques first and finish with a bang!! LOL :D

This is why its good to cover water with a spinner and spoon if you don't have a lot of time because those more aggressive fish will hit within a few casts of being in the zone. I think overall you can hook and land more fish by approaching it like I do. Plus you will lose less gear and money! :lol:

:clap: Exactly what I do!! This way you dont spook any fish.. when your about finished with the hole fishing bait and jigs, finish up with a spinner or spoon!
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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No doubt, like I said before, I like to bat clean-up with terminal as well, but that is purely because of the lack of primo spinner drifts I have access to around here. But if you are spooking fish with spinners, they are well out of tune, and throwing off boo-koo, or varying levels of MV's the fish can't stand. And yes, all store bought spinner stuff is pretty far out of tune, in the neighborhood of 5 MV. We drift, never retrieve them through clear pockets on a daily basis, and the fish never spook, but corkies will get them to haul out of there quick. And I certainly cannot believe that only 10% of fish are going to eat a spinner, or spoon. That is just not at all reasonable given the number of fish we kill with hardware.
 
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Bfishin

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ArcticAmoeba, I have couple questions for you. What do you mean by "terminal"? I'm unfamiliar with the term. Also, do you have any tips on reading a drift? You said "primo spinner drifts"...See, I'll throw a corkie or bait on a drift rig in every hole. I couldn't tell you what a good lure drift or bobber drift looks like. Last one, do you do much fishing on the Willi or Mack?
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Terminal tackle is just hardware. Spinners, spoons, and the like. Telling you how to read water is so hard to do. It is much easier to simply show someone. But for standard drift gear, walking speed water is acceptable, sometimes faster. Spinner drifts are more of a chute/run type of thing where water speed does not necessarily matter so much. Still you want it to be flowing slightly faster than you can walk the bank. I can tell you this though. In a particular drift, there may be a seam of faster water flowing right next to slower, more slack water. Winters are lazy and shoot the breeze, just on the "soft" side, or the slower side of the seam. Also when you present a drifted spinner, you want it to be sideways. In other words the spinner should be perpendicular to the bank to get that deadly, proper roll. That is the most important thing. Presentation. I have hooked Winter Steelhead in whitewater, big vertical boils, tailouts, and huge back eddies where Sucker fish, and Pikeminnow usually hang in the Summer. But for Summers you will need to move to the heads, or beginning of every riffle you see. Thats is where the Summer Steel hangout due to low dissolved Oxygen content in the water. I do fish the Willy, primarily below the Falls. And I make it out to the Mackenzie quite often in the Summer months. I usually post before I leave to see how the action is, so if you see that I will be anywhere in your neck of the woods, gimme a shout. Hope this helps a little bit. I know it is hard to decipher all of this Salmon/Steel b.s. but keep it simple for now, and get your fishin confidence up before you start tosin the kitchen sink at 'em. Good luck man!
 
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steelhead_stalkers

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I have fished many holes on smaller clear rivers where you could spot ten or so fish sitting in a hole and after hooking two on jigs follow up with getting hit with a spinner. Now on that same hole a few weeks later the same amount of fish and I get hit once with a spoon then the hole shuts off. I can look down from the hole from about ten feet above so you can see the fish easily. They were spooked at everything that went in front of them and I could not get another hit with the spinners or spoons. I don't fish anything bought from the store only spinners and spoons from places like RVRFSHR and R&B! I was also using size three spinners because how low and clear the water was.

There could be two fish in a hole and you can hook the only two fish in the hole with hardware, that does happen, but then you might not get anything on the next two drifts with six steelhead holding in each. Also varying pressure and many other factors can change results. I fish a popular river for steelhead in the winter and one hole I fish there are always guys throwing spinners throughout the day. I will go in there and fish a jig hook a few steelhead within about ten minutes of being there. Then some guys come down fish spinners for about an hour and maybe hook a fish. This hole has around 20 to 30 steelhead sitting in it at any given time. Once they leave I give the hole about ten minutes then throw my jig out and hook another fish. Normally those guys who just throw spinners will come in and if they do hook a fish its the most aggressive fish in the hole and they do hook a lot of fish but in this case the fish are very spooky because of pressure. Now on river that get less pressure or less guys are throwing hardware maybe the numbers would be different.

The 90%-10% was just an estimation. There is a book out that talks about the different types of steelhead (crazy eats everything, spooky) and the percentage of each of those in a river. I forget where i read that :) Steelhead can never be figured out completely.

Confidence is the number one key, if you are good at what you use for steelhead then you will catch lots of fish regardless of what technique it is.
 
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