Question about drift fishing

R
RDB
So I am new to steelhead fishing and decided to fish using a technique I had never used for (something about a glutton for punishment?).

Anyway so I went out for the first time yesterday and was on the Wilson River and fished for a couple of hours. I think that the water was a little faster than normal so that might have some effect on how it is fished. I was casting out slightly upstream of my position and then drifting it. It seems like when it is upstream and even with me it was hitting every 1-2 seconds where I seem to understand that it is best for the weight to be hitting bottom every 2-4 seconds. But when it got downstream it seemed like the current was picking up my rig and it was hitting bottom anymore. Am I doing something wrong?

Also the small stretch of water I was at had rough water, choppy water, and slow even water. Where is the best place to fish. Also there was an area where the water was quite shallow. Do steelheads hold in the shallows (1-2")?
 
H
halibuthitman
I wouldn't target tailout water that shallow, but I have caught at least 50 fish in 1-2' of water in seams, cutbanks, and the edge of strainers... summers will also hold in 1' of water in a run or pocket water. Your best bet is the middle to the tailout of slower water with drift gear, but with hardware or flies I would cover any water that offers any protection, this includes shallow runs with heavy tree or brush cover. All rivers fish and hold fish differently, if you fish eagle or big creek, or the kilchis, miami, salmonberry... like you fish the clack or sandy... you will miss half the opportunitys for fish.
 
N
n8r1
Yesterday was a tough day on the Wilson. The water was still a little high and swift. I was there as well, and I didn't get anything. I talked to 7 other people (maybe you were 1 of them) and they all got skunked too.

Around noon I was standing on the edge of a deep channel near Jones Creek, drifting downstream when a big steelie jumped right in front of me. Literally jumped about 3 feet from where I was standing. Startled the crap outta me. He then jumped up the little rapid and kept going upriver. So they were in there, but weren't hungry for my sandshrimp. :(
 
R
RDB
Thanks for the link. I haven't spent a lot of time fishing on the river so I will definitely read that guide. I also meant 1-2' not inches.
 
R
RDB
halibuthitman said:
Your best bet is the middle to the tailout of slower water with drift gear, but with hardware or flies I would cover any water that offers any protection, this includes shallow runs with heavy tree or brush cover.

Thanks for the info. I also had a spincast reel with a spoon tied on but figured before I get to fancy I should learn how to fish for steelhead one technique at a time. The next time I go out there I will probably throw the spoon out a few times.

n8r1, I was about a mile west of Jones Creek Day Use Area just past a rapid. I saw two others and spoke with one. He hadn't caught anything and I didn't see the other one catch anything.
 
H
halibuthitman
at this point in the season, natives being the most prevelent fish, a lot of kelts that are hungry around and the air temp and the on coming summers run, for the rest of the year I would give spinners and spoons my bet for producing a steelhead particularly on the wilson.. just my two cents though, drifting and jigs will produce also... just kinda starts to hypnotize ya staring at floats and line... spinners will give you a fantastic hit and spark the interest of more energetic fish.
 
F
FISHHEADMAFIA
I like to not let mt lead tap the bottom that much . 5 sec or so between taps . Also , as the lead tails out , I freespool on down the drift a ways . That keeps the lead on the bottom longer , as the current tries to pick it up at the end of a drift . 1-2 feet of water ? Oh yeah ! When its a bit high and fast float some thing fishy right down the side of the bank . But your right , try and learn , or at least get comfortable with one method at a time . And those tail outs hold fish , they sure do .
 

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