by David Johnson
I recently put on a seminar at Fishermen's Marine. It was a good seminar with a turnout of about 55 people. I brought in some rods and highlighted the techniques that I use for winter steelhead, sidedrifting, bobber/jig, float and bait (bobber doggin), drift fishing.
With all the rain here on the coast I've only gotten on the water twice since the seminar and by using these various techniques we got some nice fish in the boat. Out of the seven fish we got, we caught 2 drift fishing, 3 on bobber/jig and 2 on bobber/bait.
I usually carry and use all these sets of rods and techniques in a given day on the water, unless the water is fairly high, than we mostly side drift.
Fishing is like golfing, you can't play a game of golf with one club just like you can't use one rod for all techniques.
One of the biggest keys to successful steelheading is reading water.
Reading water is a two part process. First you have to read the water and learn where the fish are and second you have to be able to look at a piece of water and determine what it will take to catch the fish in it. Water speed and depth are the biggest factors followed by the bottom contour.
This two part process of water reading is best learned by experience. Nothing beats time on the water, the more the better. This winter get out as much as you can and be observant of where fish are caught or not caught. Remember what you see, even take notes if you have to. Note the water level, stream flow, water color and temperature. After a while you will be able to dial it in.
A lot of people have booked trips with me and walked away much better fishermen. They see the kind of water I'm looking at and they get hands on instruction to the techniques we use.