Trying to catch my first winter steelhead

adamg

New member
if i had to do it over again, i would have bought the cheapest steelhead rod in the store for my first setup. i broke the first two or three steelhead rods i owned. it took a while before i figured out how to properly hike through wooded areas with them let alone fish them :) put more money into the reel because that'll last you longer. the more you can use it without it seizing up and causing you other headaches the more you are fishing.

if i were buying a budget-friendly bank fishing steelhead float rod tomorrow it'd be a berkely im8 air 10'9" 6-10lb /w a shimano nasci 3000. i might size that rod down to the 9'6" if i were focusing on smaller rivers.
 

Fred

Active member
First OFF good on you for keeping at it, Steel are one of the tougher fishes to chase but once it "clicks" and you learn a favored technique and system there's nothing else like it. Thanks for the continued updates on your progress on the pursuit even if it's because the water conditions updates are helping me plan my own outing this weekend ;). As far as reels my old standby was expect to spend $100 for a reel to get things done season after season. That being said I did get a Okuma Ceymar (thanks Addicted Fishing) this season and I have to say bang for your buck they perform quite well. A Ceymar C-40($45) is great for steel or you could get a larger one (C-55/C-65) for a multipurpose salmon/steel reel.
Personally I like two rods. One rigged for float(pink worm,jig,bead) and one for drifting/spinners, that way it's easier to hit a hole or run and toss multiple presentations without having to switch out a ton of gear. You can cover more water with a wider variety of options. I plan on checking out the NFN this Saturday assuming the river is on the drop. To make the best of your chances for that area call the hatchery fishing conditions line 503-368-5670, they post updates on river conditions, how many fish make it into the traps, and whether people are catching. It's also a good indicator as that system clears a few days earlier than other rivers in the area. Best of Luck!
Thanks for the recommendations. I almost spent 140 on a pole, but decided to look at my options a little bit more. How do you tell which pole is for drifting/spinner fishing and which is for float fishing. I think I’ll get the reel you recommended, but I’m still not sure which rod I should get lol. The picture of the waterfall is how it was looking Sunday. Other pic is some tackle I bought.
 

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pinstriper

Well-known member
90% of my bobber fishing is done with a baitcaster for faster set and I use a longer rod to help with mending the line and minimizing sag.

I don’t extend my drifts downstream as far with spinners and spoons so a spinning reel is more convenient for reaching farther across a stream without risking a backlash incident.

With bobber fishing you stay, I won’t say tight, but close on you float without disturbing it. With drifting and spinners you stay tight to the offering to react to the bite as there is no bobber as an indicator and it is all feel. So a shorter rod with a faster tip might be the thing.

To me, drifting a spoon or plug or spinner downstream from the bank is basically backtrolling, so I often use a baitcaster and a shorter rod anyway.
 

atjohnson1111

New member
Fail I was using a size 19 hook for my 10mm bead when I hooked my steelhead. No wonder I lost it, the proper size are like size 2-4 octopus hooks. I knew I was using the wrong kind of hook, but didn't have any proper sized hooks in my tackle box. Bought some bigger sized spoons, pink colored 10mm bnr soft beads, different colors of nightmare jig heads and some steelhead worm jig heads in different colors. I'm researching a new rod and reel for steelhead fishing. So far I'm thinking lamiglas x11 or okuma guide select pro. I have no idea what to get for reels. Hoping to get a pole that is good for drift fishing, and spinner fishing for steelhead and salmon. Also I bought some spoons with single hooks and swivles, because I heard that helps to land fish or something along those lines. Some old timers that i talked to told me to stick to one thing and try to avoid double setups when i first start float fishing, should I listen to this advice? I'm going to try and look into fishing with yarn and bait for steelhead, because I've never done that. I'll have three days to fish this weekend hopefully I can land one. Also I'm well over a thousand cast so far
Had that same problem when I first started bead fishing. I lost 5, yes FIVE, Steelhead in one day because I was fishing with a size 6 hook. Also I found you get more solid hook ups on a bead if you tie a snell knot for your hook. I think it keep everything inline with your float so it’s a little more advantageous
 

my2labs

Most Featured
Thanks for all the advice guys ?
id jump on board Fred and offer more but reading through all of the responses you’ve gathered, it seems I’d just be repeating something someone else said.
I will agree with keeping it simple though. I overcomplicated everything for a few years and my catch rate sunk. Simplified it again and I’ve been back to productive.

I like what Anatoliy said in Sambones recent thread. You just need to put something fish like in a place where they are. That’s really it.
 

Socaaron

Member
Thanks for the recommendations. I almost spent 140 on a pole, but decided to look at my options a little bit more. How do you tell which pole is for drifting/spinner fishing and which is for float fishing. I think I’ll get the reel you recommended, but I’m still not sure which rod I should get lol. The picture of the waterfall is how it was looking Sunday. Other pic is some tackle I bought.
Oh man I wish the river looked that good today! The hatchery line reports kept getting better(on the drop) and clearer water every day this week, then of course it DUMPED last night, river was high,fast and brown. I gave it a go on the few marginally fishable spots just hoping to get lucky which didn't happen. I checked out the other rivers in the area (Necanicum, Miami, Kilchis, Wilson) and they were all blown. Guess it's back to waiting for another day off.
As far as rods @pinstriper pretty much lined it out. Usually you graduate to baitcasting as it's not super beginner friendly but the rod selection is the same. For float fishing(jig,worm beads) select a longer fast action rod so you can lift the line off the water and mend easier 9'0-10'6. I have a 9'4 10-20# rated rod for more all around use, I can throw bait, spinners, or jigs. For my bead Rod I use a 9'9 fast action 8-17# rated rod, If I only had the money for one rod something like this would be the best all around choice, it could find use in every aforementioned style,it's got enough backbone to tackle just about everything shy of a big ole springer but is sensitive enough to drift fish and feel those taps on the bottom. I got lucky on my drift rod I was able to snag a fantastic 9'6 8-12# St Croix at like 70% off due to the store liquidating when Sportsmans bought them out.
So for a all in all around set-up for about $200 you could look at the Okuma guide select pro's, or the Lamiglas X-11's 9ft-9'6 preferably rated 8-15# or 8-17 both cost less than $150. Pair that with the Ceymar reel (C-40 0r C-55)$50 and you have a multipurpose set-up that should stand up for years to come. I know some people are fans of the IM8's but I had one snap with a fish on last year so that has turned me off.
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Thanks,
Question, do you modify your spoons by putting on single hooks? I also heard some people attach swivels to some part of the spoon to help reduce the chance of losing fish. I’m wondering if I should do this to my spoons?
What I do is put a split ring like a #4 or 5 on top of the spoon and then a #7 barrel swivel on the split ring. Others just use a snap swivel and skip the split ring. As for the hook, I always replace the treble with a siwash. It always ends up that you have to release a fish and having a single hook makes that easier and less harmful to the fish. I'd put a 2/0 siwash on a steelie. Use a single point hook that is bigger than the individual parts of the treble you are replacing. Another thing to do is bend the hook a bit with pliers so that in profile, it doesn't lay flat but is bent a few degrees. That will help with your hookup percentage. All this stuff ^ I learned from reading this forum and now it's just habit. Good luck.

Here's my basic setup.
 

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Fred

Active member
What I do is put a split ring like a #4 or 5 on top of the spoon and then a #7 barrel swivel on the split ring. Others just use a snap swivel and skip the split ring. As for the hook, I always replace the treble with a siwash. It always ends up that you have to release a fish and having a single hook makes that easier and less harmful to the fish. I'd put a 2/0 siwash on a steelie. Use a single point hook that is bigger than the individual parts of the treble you are replacing. Another thing to do is bend the hook a bit with pliers so that in profile, it doesn't lay flat but is bent a few degrees. That will help with your hookup percentage. All this stuff ^ I learned from reading this forum and now it's just habit. Good luck.

Here's my basic setup.
Thank you
 

Fred

Active member
Went fishing Saturday and today. On Saturday I fished gnat creek. I also cast a few times into big creek, and checked out the Klaskanine River. Both of them were chocolate milk. Gnat creek and the hatchery on the north fork of the Klaskanine were the only places that weren’t all blown out. Today I just went on a short trip to check out a river. It was cleaner then most of the other rivers are right now with all the rain we are getting. Not a single bite, but I still had fun. I hope fishing will be good when the rivers drop down and clear up a little.
 

jamisonace

Most Featured
Had that same problem when I first started bead fishing. I lost 5, yes FIVE, Steelhead in one day because I was fishing with a size 6 hook. Also I found you get more solid hook ups on a bead if you tie a snell knot for your hook. I think it keep everything inline with your float so it’s a little more advantageous
My first try at Steelhead ended with 5 lost too. I was using a 4wt flyrod with 5x line. Snap snap snap snap snap. Went to the fly shop that day and bought an 8wt. Never had another day of 5 on flies.
 

Hooked Up

Active member
What I do is put a split ring like a #4 or 5 on top of the spoon and then a #7 barrel swivel on the split ring. Others just use a snap swivel and skip the split ring. As for the hook, I always replace the treble with a siwash. It always ends up that you have to release a fish and having a single hook makes that easier and less harmful to the fish. I'd put a 2/0 siwash on a steelie. Use a single point hook that is bigger than the individual parts of the treble you are replacing. Another thing to do is bend the hook a bit with pliers so that in profile, it doesn't lay flat but is bent a few degrees. That will help with your hookup percentage. All this stuff ^ I learned from reading this forum and now it's just habit. Good luck.

Here's my basic setup.
Excellent tip on OFFsetting the hook point.

I do my spoon a little differently. I have a safety snap barrel swivel tied to my leader so I can quickly change between spoon types or switch to a spinner. I'm also testing out having a "trailing" hook setup. I'll probably remove the last split and connect to the barrel when I buy some open eye siwash hooks.

spoon.jpg
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
Excellent tip on OFFsetting the hook point.

I do my spoon a little differently. I have a safety snap barrel swivel tied to my leader so I can quickly change between spoon types or switch to a spinner. I'm also testing out having a "trailing" hook setup. I'll probably remove the last split and connect to the barrel when I buy some open eye siwash hooks.

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I have never been confident in putting a trailing hook tied to the leading hook, which is how it was shown to me. But a swivel gives a place to tie in with a clinch.
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Excellent tip on OFFsetting the hook point.

I do my spoon a little differently. I have a safety snap barrel swivel tied to my leader so I can quickly change between spoon types or switch to a spinner. I'm also testing out having a "trailing" hook setup. I'll probably remove the last split and connect to the barrel when I buy some open eye siwash hooks.

View attachment 616176
I've seen that but have not tried it yet. I found a big Kwikfish on the beach one time that was all beat up like it had caught a lot of fish. It had rings,swivels and single hooks where the trebles had been. There are a lot of little tricks to learn to try to improve one's odds.
 

Hooked Up

Active member
I have never been confident in putting a trailing hook tied to the leading hook, which is how it was shown to me. But a swivel gives a place to tie in with a clinch.
Only one hook trailing the spoon with barrel swivel and split rings. Quick change with the snap on main line. You know how lazy I am Mark!:D
 

Fred

Active member
My first try at Steelhead ended with 5 lost too. I was using a 4wt flyrod with 5x line. Snap snap snap snap snap. Went to the fly shop that day and bought an 8wt. Never had another day of 5 on flies.
Dang I would die from that amount of heart break ?
 

hobster

Well-known member
What I do is put a split ring like a #4 or 5 on top of the spoon and then a #7 barrel swivel on the split ring. Others just use a snap swivel and skip the split ring. As for the hook, I always replace the treble with a siwash. It always ends up that you have to release a fish and having a single hook makes that easier and less harmful to the fish. I'd put a 2/0 siwash on a steelie. Use a single point hook that is bigger than the individual parts of the treble you are replacing. Another thing to do is bend the hook a bit with pliers so that in profile, it doesn't lay flat but is bent a few degrees. That will help with your hookup percentage. All this stuff ^ I learned from reading this forum and now it's just habit. Good luck.

Here's my basic setup.
This is exactly what I do. More work putting the split ring on but I’d like to think it gives the spoon more freedom to move than a snap swivel thus giving the spoon more action. I also use Mustad ultra point siwash which are pre bent already. I got turned onto these a couple of years ago, was told they are the best for spoons and I have to agree. Dig the bend in the hook and they’re sticky!

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