What bait to use for winter steelhead?

my2labs

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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.
You don’t need fancy gear to be successful. Your rod will be fine and will likely catch many fish.

My usual starters are the Michael Jackson spinner variations. Black sparkle body with a red tip being my favorite. But depending on water, sky conditions... I’ll adjust to brighter colored or shinier spinners. And I prefer tossing 3s and 4s.
 

sambone

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@rogerdodger @my2labs quick question about my steelhead setup. Going out on the suislaw soon. I got 30 pound braid as my main line and some basic 14# mono sitting around that i was going to use for my leader. See a lot of people running flouro leaders around 8-10 pounds. Wondering if it really makes any difference. Id like to have the confidence to be able to land a fish without a net if i catch something and 8-10 seems a little light.
 

rogerdodger

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@rogerdodger @my2labs quick question about my steelhead setup. Going out on the suislaw soon. I got 30 pound braid as my main line and some basic 14# mono sitting around that i was going to use for my leader. See a lot of people running flouro leaders around 8-10 pounds. Wondering if it really makes any difference. Id like to have the confidence to be able to land a fish without a net if i catch something and 8-10 seems a little light.
I use P-Line CXX 12# for my winter steelhead leader, Maxima Ultragreen 12# would be my other choice. Pick up a 300 yard spool of either of those at BiMart and you are good to go.
 

my2labs

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@rogerdodger @my2labs quick question about my steelhead setup. Going out on the suislaw soon. I got 30 pound braid as my main line and some basic 14# mono sitting around that i was going to use for my leader. See a lot of people running flouro leaders around 8-10 pounds. Wondering if it really makes any difference. Id like to have the confidence to be able to land a fish without a net if i catch something and 8-10 seems a little light.
I use the same on test braid on most of my rods. And I typically use flourocarbon 12-15 SST leader by Pline for my leaders. I have some 8 and 10 leader rolls tied up for when it is extremely low and clear. For me, leader weight all depends on conditions. And I do think it can make a difference, but I only see it as a factor when the water conditions make it one.

growing up using flies, I only ever used 6lb leader. (We didn’t use tippets, just maxima ultra green Uni knotted to a sinking shooting head). But we also free spoiled our reels and applied only the hand drag system so you could get away with that. Also... the stream I fished didn’t have steelhead the size that they do here.
 
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hobster

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Guess I’m the odd man out but I still use maxima ultra green 10 lb leaders for winter steel and 8 lb for summers. 12 lb mainline if not using braid. Landed some big steelhead no problem, gotta work the reel, rod and line together. I don’t really like flouro, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! 14 pound mono might be a bit heavy as it’s easier for fish to see. Flouro on the other hand should be fine at 14 lb
 

rogerdodger

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I also spool my spinning and low profile (Abu SilverMax) reels with 30# braid, yellow is my color preference to help see the line better, I really like the Super8SlickV2 for smooth long casting, 30# diameter is same as 8#mono:

 
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my2labs

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Guess I’m the odd man out but I still use maxima ultra green 10 lb leaders for winter steel and 8 lb for summers. 12 lb mainline if not using braid. Landed some big steelhead no problem, gotta work the reel, rod and line together. I don’t really like flouro, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! 14 pound mono might be a bit heavy as it’s easier for fish to see. Flouro on the other hand should be fine at 14 lb
I have no problem saying publicly that Hobster catches more winters than I do. Roger too.

Point being.... it’s about putting a well presented offering in front of fish.

most everything else is just preference... the guys and gals who know how to present their offerings are the most successful ones.
 

sambone

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I also spool my spinning and low profile (Abu SilverMax) reels with 30# braid, yellow is my color preference to help see the line better, I really like the Super8SlickV2 for smooth long casting, 30# diameter is same as 8#mono:

yeah i got 30 lb yellow power pro spooled on my reel. Just picked up some 12 lb maxima ug because it was so cheap. Kinda wanted to try flouro but i dont feel like spending 15 dollars instead of 3 when im sure the mono works just as well lol. Going out tomorrow. How do you feel about the rain right now effecting the rivers like the siuslaw? You think the fishing should be ok?
 

rogerdodger

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yeah i got 30 lb yellow power pro spooled on my reel. Just picked up some 12 lb maxima ug because it was so cheap. Kinda wanted to try flouro but i dont feel like spending 15 dollars instead of 3 when im sure the mono works just as well lol. Going out tomorrow. How do you feel about the rain right now effecting the rivers like the siuslaw? You think the fishing should be ok?
latest rain has been good, bump in water flow like this should get fish moving up the river...ideal now would be for it to peak overnight and start dropping a bit tomorrow morning...the rest of the week could hit or miss depending on how the flow changes.

STEP trap will start fishing tomorrow afternoon, so there should be fish queuing up under the bridge soon...seeing them in there would be a good
sign that they are moving up through the river in decent numbers...
 

rogerdodger

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I have no problem saying publicly that Hobster catches more winters than I do. Roger too.
Hobsters the man when it comes to winter steel, especially drift fishing or hardware...

simple eggs/beads/yarnies under a bobber still my best method (but I'm working on the others)...I actually like to run eggs on about 3' of the 12# CXX and then I usually tie on about a 14" dropper of 10# CXX with a yarnie or soft bead on it (easy to break that OFF when it snags). Good Luck! it's still early and things should peak through February...what was that recent thread by Bass about...oh right, those dreaded skunks, always a big part of my winter steelhead effort. ;)
 

sambone

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Hobsters the man when it comes to winter steel, especially drift fishing or hardware...

simple eggs/beads/yarnies under a bobber still my best method (but I'm working on the others)...I actually like to run eggs on about 3' of the 12# CXX and then I usually tie on about a 14" dropper of 10# CXX with a yarnie or soft bead on it (easy to break that OFF when it snags). Good Luck! it's still early and things should peak through February...what was that recent thread by Bass about...oh right, those dreaded skunks, always a big part of my winter steelhead effort. ;)
Yeah ive been doing a ton of research and watching lots of tutorial videos and stuff on different methods lol. I want to try eggs, jigs, and pink worms but at the same time i want to keep it simple and just focus on one or two things when i go out. Was thinking jigs and a pink worm on a white jig with the hooks tipped with some shrimp i picked up from the store. Part of me wants to start with a double egg setup but i guess ill just have to see how it goes and watch what other people are using.
 

hobster

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Thanks for the praise guys, appreciate it. It’s best to stick with one method like @Anatoliy said at first. I cut my teeth drift fishing for years before a bobber, still my preferred method. It is tough to figure out the bite ( but awesome!) so I’d start with a bobber and jig. You can use a worm on a jig head or regular jig, also try a soft bead trailer. You will want to fish walking speed water that has some depth for bobber unless you dawg a bead without the jig. Different depth and speeds of water require different methods. I now have four rods: spinner and spoon, drift fishing, bobber, and bobber dogging. Kind of ridiculous but I can cover just about any water with one of those methods. Sometimes I will just bring one or two rods for the simplicity. Skunks are part of the game, stay confident in what you are using. Most importantly, as Whip says, HAVE FUN!
 

hobster

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Yeah I ended up just exchanging the 6'6" ugly stik for a 8'6" okuma combo.
that’s funny, I learned drift fishing on a 6’6” 8-20 lb. ugly stik. Don’t know how I ever felt the bite, got a 8’6” 8-12 lb Chinese Lami and it was a world of difference:LOL: that’s about as short as you should go for bobber fishing, I prefer at least 10’ to mend line
 

sambone

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Thanks for the praise guys, appreciate it. It’s best to stick with one method like @Anatoliy said at first. I cut my teeth drift fishing for years before a bobber, still my preferred method. It is tough to figure out the bite ( but awesome!) so I’d start with a bobber and jig. You can use a worm on a jig head or regular jig, also try a soft bead trailer. You will want to fish walking speed water that has some depth for bobber unless you dawg a bead without the jig. Different depth and speeds of water require different methods. I now have four rods: spinner and spoon, drift fishing, bobber, and bobber dogging. Kind of ridiculous but I can cover just about any water with one of those methods. Sometimes I will just bring one or two rods for the simplicity. Skunks are part of the game, stay confident in what you are using. Most importantly, as Whip says, HAVE FUN!
I picked up some soft beads that ill try dropping off my jig. Gonna tip my hooks with some small pieces of shrimp too. Thanks for the advice, wish me luck :D
 

sambone

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@rogerdodger @hobster Going to wait until the rain clears up a bit on thursday to head out. Now debating whether to try the siuslaw or the alsea. Alsea seems like it might have better bank fishing since its a smaller river and the water drops faster when the weather clears up. Decisions..
 
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rogerdodger

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@rogerdodger @hobster Going to wait until the rain clears up a bit on thursday to head out. Now debating whether to try the siuslaw or the alsea. Alsea seems like it might have better bank fishing since its a smaller river and the water drops faster when the weather clears up. Decisions..
good call. Siuslaw was a bit high yesterday and slightly OFF color at first light (a nice green but just a hint of dirty) but I've hooked fish at this level before. It felt good to shake OFF the cobwebs and get in several hours of practice with several presentation techniques and the level was dropping slightly and by noon the water visibility was improving, then it started raining and then rained harder, and then...Pepper and I went home to get dry.
 

sambone

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good call. Siuslaw was a bit high yesterday and slightly OFF color at first light (a nice green but just a hint of dirty) but I've hooked fish at this level before. It felt good to shake OFF the cobwebs and get in several hours of practice with several presentation techniques and the level was dropping slightly and by noon the water visibility was improving, then it started raining and then rained harder, and then...Pepper and I went home to get dry.
Do you know how the Alsea numbers typically are compared to the siuslaw? Seems like the Alsea would be easier to bank fish and probably has better water levels right now because it drops faster.
 

rogerdodger

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Do you know how the Alsea numbers typically are compared to the siuslaw? Seems like the Alsea would be easier to bank fish and probably has better water levels right now because it drops faster.
I don't know what flow rate the Alsea fishes best (at the important locations) but here is the data+forecast for each river as of 4pm today and it isn't that much different....for either river, that dip on Friday depends on how much rain comes down between now and then...in the end, you just gotta start fishing stretches of rivers under different conditions and creating your personal database of where and when you like to fish them. all part of the fun we can have chasing these grey ghosts... :cool:

 

hobster

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Typically the Alsea fishes better than the Slaw. It also drops and clears quicker. The fish numbers have been down though in recent years. Then again so are they in most places. It also can be insanely crowded, I would avoid the top of the hatchery stretch. It is no secret that there is plenty of bank space down river at Clemens park. I love fishing that river but seldom do due to the crowds.
Like Roger said, keep a journal of where you fish and river levels etc. It will help a lot in years to come.
 
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