What bait to use for winter steelhead?

sambone

New member
Going to try my first shot at some steelhead fishing on some creeks off the suislaw, looks like whittaker creek and that area is decent. I see a lot of people using a float setup with a beadhead jig with worms, egg beads with normal hooks and shrimp too. Should i just stick with stuff like that? Any tips are appreciated.
 

rogerdodger

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Going to try my first shot at some steelhead fishing on some creeks off the suislaw, looks like whittaker creek and that area is decent. I see a lot of people using a float setup with a beadhead jig with worms, egg beads with normal hooks and shrimp too. Should i just stick with stuff like that? Any tips are appreciated.
Yes, very common is standard float rigging with yarnies, beads, bait, jigs..., also productive can be hardware (spinners, spoons). Minor clarification, Whittaker Creek is an area of the Siuslaw river to fish, not the actual tributary creek which is closed.
 

sambone

New member
Yes, very common is standard float rigging with yarnies, beads, bait, jigs..., also productive can be hardware (spinners, spoons). Minor clarification, Whittaker Creek is an area of the Siuslaw river to fish, not the actual tributary creek which is closed.
After doing some research I think i'll try floating a jig with a chunk of shrimp on it below another worm jig for a double bait rig. I only have a 6'6" rod but i think itll work out alright if im in the right area.
 

my2labs

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After doing some research I think i'll try floating a jig with a chunk of shrimp on it below another worm jig for a double bait rig. I only have a 6'6" rod but i think itll work out alright if im in the right area.
while double rigs do put twice the attractant in the water, I think most every serious Steelheaders would tell you to start small, working on presentation and technique, rather than tossing out a complicated offering like you’ve described.

With a short rod like that, my suggestion would be to toss spinners in tail outs making sure to keep the lure down near the bottom and trying to make the blade rotate as slowly as possible.

Either that or standard drift fishing a corkie or yarnie could very well work out.

6’6” rods and bobber and jig fishing is going to be rough, especially lobbing a double out there.

Good luck whatever you choose to do.
 

rogerdodger

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Another tip that I have, which is really helpful for the popular "Whittaker to Wildcat" stretch of the Siuslaw, is to go up during low flow in the summer and recon the deep slots in the bedrock at the stretches of water you are fishing. ?

(Some of us wierdos even take pictures to refer to when the water is fast and green)

 

sambone

New member
while double rigs do put twice the attractant in the water, I think most every serious Steelheaders would tell you to start small, working on presentation and technique, rather than tossing out a complicated offering like you’ve described.

With a short rod like that, my suggestion would be to toss spinners in tail outs making sure to keep the lure down near the bottom and trying to make the blade rotate as slowly as possible.

Either that or standard drift fishing a corkie or yarnie could very well work out.

6’6” rods and bobber and jig fishing is going to be rough, especially lobbing a double out there.

Good luck whatever you choose to do.
Yeah I ended up just exchanging the 6'6" ugly stik for a 8'6" okuma combo.
 

sambone

New member
nice.

much better suited for SS fishing.

And if youre like me, the first of about 15 SS rods you’ll soon own ?
So do you think bobber jig fishing and worm fishing are some of the more effective methods of getting some action or what would you personally reccomend?
 

sambone

New member
Another tip that I have, which is really helpful for the popular "Whittaker to Wildcat" stretch of the Siuslaw, is to go up during low flow in the summer and recon the deep slots in the bedrock at the stretches of water you are fishing. ?

(Some of us wierdos even take pictures to refer to)
Thank you. Ill have to check that out. Im in eugene so ill have to try the town run and the leaburg damn holes this summer as well.
 

Anatoliy

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So do you think bobber jig fishing and worm fishing are some of the more effective methods of getting some action or what would you personally reccomend?
they say "the most effective method is the one you mastered".
each spot asks for a different method. I would suggest to find a spot with anglers and do what do those of them who catch fish.
 

rogerdodger

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Going to try my first shot at some steelhead fishing on some creeks off the suislaw, looks like whittaker creek and that area is decent. I see a lot of people using a float setup with a beadhead jig with worms, egg beads with normal hooks and shrimp too. Should i just stick with stuff like that? Any tips are appreciated.
If you really want to get motivated to fish harder, there will soon be lots of steelhead to see in the water below the bridge by the Whittaker STEP trap (at the campground just up Whittaker creek). We are installing the weir and the trap will be 'fishing' as of Jan7. It's not uncommon for there to be dozens and dozens of steelhead in there just chillin'. The trail from that bridge leads to the bank access on the side of the Siuslaw across from the road.
 

my2labs

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So do you think bobber jig fishing and worm fishing are some of the more effective methods of getting some action or what would you personally reccomend?
I am not the most successful float guy. I’m fact, I’ve sworn off of them this season as an experiment. That method produces.... no question. I just haven’t quite figured it out yet.

I prefer standard drift fishing and spinner fishing. For me, it’s all about getting deep and feeling everything.

I grew up catching steelies on the fly and have only been casting conventional rods for the last 6 years or soso I have a lot to learn still.

All of my personal preferences aside: here’s my main bit of advice for people stepping into steelheading: Do what YOU feel the most confident in and DONT overthink it.

Cover the grid of the river from the inside out, top to bottom, then take a step down stream and start over, repeat repeat repeat.

Finally: Expect nothing from the river. If you are not out there to be out there.... it’s hard to believe that you will last long out there... in the middle of winter, knocking ice of your guides, peeing in the freezing cold, battling rain and wind for the grey ghost.

It’s an addiction this winter steelheading, it’s not spring Chinook, Summer steelhead or Fall Chinook. It’s gnarly out there. And only a very specific few choose to battle it all winter for that one fight, where, most of the time, you will release the fish you’ve worked so hard for without even removing it from the water. ?
 

sambone

New member
If you really want to get motivated to fish harder, there will soon be lots of steelhead to see in the water below the bridge by the Whittaker STEP trap (at the campground just up Whittaker creek). We are installing the weir and the trap will be 'fishing' as of Jan7. It's not uncommon for there to be dozens and dozens of steelhead in there just chillin'. The trail from that bridge leads to the bank access on the side of the Siuslaw across from the road.
yeah I've been doing a decent amount of research looking at old forum posts on different websites and ive read about this spot and its exactly where im going to try fishing in the next couple weeks. Someone also told me about a hole near the alsea hatchery that i want to try. I just hope its not too busy. Ive heard the suislaw can be super crowded this time of the year because its so close to eugene and springfield.
 

sambone

New member
I am not the most successful float guy. I’m fact, I’ve sworn off of them this season as an experiment. That method produces.... no question. I just haven’t quite figured it out yet.

I prefer standard drift fishing and spinner fishing. For me, it’s all about getting deep and feeling everything.

I grew up catching steelies on the fly and have only been casting conventional rods for the last 6 years or soso I have a lot to learn still.

All of my personal preferences aside: here’s my main bit of advice for people stepping into steelheading: Do what YOU feel the most confident in and DONT overthink it.

Cover the grid of the river from the inside out, top to bottom, then take a step down stream and start over, repeat repeat repeat.

Finally: Expect nothing from the river. If you are not out there to be out there.... it’s hard to believe that you will last long out there... in the middle of winter, knocking ice of your guides, peeing in the freezing cold, battling rain and wind for the grey ghost.

It’s an addiction this winter steelheading, it’s not spring Chinook, Summer steelhead or Fall Chinook. It’s gnarly out there. And only a very specific few choose to battle it all winter for that one fight, where, most of the time, you will release the fish you’ve worked so hard for without even removing it from the water. ?
Okay, im used to nymphing flies and i feel like float fishing would be pretty similar if you can get the depth of your leader correct, but i dont really know much about it because i havent tried it yet. I feel like every time i try drift fishing my weight snags on the rocks all the time. Is there a certain type of sinker to be using? Ill buy a couple spinners as well. Ill try a few different rigs and see what feels best to me. Any spinners you prefer? I feel like the blue fox vibrax has really nice action under the water. Ive fished them for trout before.
 

my2labs

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Drift fishing:

You just need to adjust your weight so that it lightly ticks the bottom every few feet while keeping your line tight like swinging streamers. Picture skipping a rock on the surface of the water as a very very rough analogy.

You also need to use an offering that is correctly proportionate to the hook you are using. It has to be large enough to keep your ‘lure’ suspended and small enough not to impede your hook sets.


Spinners:

I prefer vibrax like you said, but have some BandRs to get down deeper quicker and am not opposed to others. This last fall I pounded the water with spinners... and did very well for Coho and Chinook. It seemed the slower I could get the blade to rotate, the better success I had.
And I won’t lie, for spinners, rod selection makes all the difference. I have some really expensive, amazing rods but will not toss spinners with any other than my Lamiglass x11, 6-12 weight, 9 1/2’ sidedrift/spinner spinning rod. I can feel every spin of the blade.. literally. And due to that, I feel that I fish spinners very efficiently. My new cousins rods are worthless compared to that x11... for spinners anyway. For drift fishing, the cousins rods are a-frickin-mazing.

One more thing: ditch the treble hooks and attach swiash hooks instead. It makes a huge difference.
 
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rogerdodger

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yeah I've been doing a decent amount of research looking at old forum posts on different websites and ive read about this spot and its exactly where im going to try fishing in the next couple weeks. Someone also told me about a hole near the alsea hatchery that i want to try. I just hope its not too busy. Ive heard the suislaw can be super crowded this time of the year because its so close to eugene and springfield.
weekends are the busiest, not nearly as many people and drift boats midweek. Also, lots of people fish sunrise to like noon, so if you arrive early afternoon there is often lots of good bank space open....
 

sambone

New member
Drift fishing:

You just need to adjust your weight so that it lightly ticks the bottom every few feet while keeping your line tight like swinging streamers. Picture skipping a rock on the surface of the water as a very very rough analogy.

You also need to use an offering that is correctly proportionate to the hook you are using. It has to be small enough to keep your ‘lure’ suspendedand large enough to not be impeded by the ‘lure’ you are using when you set the hook.


Spinners:

I prefer vibrax like you said, but have some BandRs to get down deeper quicker and am not opposed to others. This last fall I pounded the water with spinners... and did very well for Coho and Chinook. It seemed the slower I could get the blade to rotate, the better success I had.
And I won’t lie, for spinners, rod selection makes all the difference. I have some really expensive, amazing rods but will not toss spinners with any other than my Lamiglass x11, 6-12 weight, 9 1/2’ sidedrift/spinner spinning rod. I can feel every spin of the blade.. literally. And due to that, I feel that I fish spinners very efficiently. My new cousins rods are worthless compared to that x11... for spinners anyway. For drift fishing, the cousins rods are a-frickin-mazing.

One more thing: ditch the treble hooks and attach swiash hooks instead. It makes a huge difference.
Any colors you find more productive than others or does it just depend on conditions? Ive heard blues, purples, and pinks are good. Ive heard even a solid gold is supposed to work well. The rod/reel combo i bought was pretty cheap, only 50 bucks, but it seems pretty solid for the price. Seems like a decent starter rod to get some practice in.
 
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