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Old 01-09-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
David Johnson
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Oregon Coast
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Default WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

<font color="red">I thought I would start a thread with some photos, riggings and ideas for this winter steelhead season. I'll come back and add to this as I go. </font>

On this first one I'll show a dink-float set up that I broght back from a trip to Canada ten or twelve years ago. They can now be found made localy at a lot of sporting goods stores.

These floats work great for working real snaggy areas, along seams and around boulders.

I like to either fish bait (shrimp or egg)or a pink worm under the float.



They are rigged by running your line into the top and out the side, then back into the hole that starts on the side near the bottom and then out the bottom.

Note the rubber band near the top of the float.

Sometimes just running your line through and around the float like it was made to isn't enough. The line will slip. I like to wrap a rubber band several times around the float until it's tight, this helps hold it.

Float fishing is also very nice in that you can keep it above the rocks enough that you can be catching fish and not loosing gear.

On my fourth cast of the morning on Jan. 1st I picked up this nice hen on a dink-float and egg combo.



By using these floats and others I did not lose a single rig on the bottom that day or on three other days of fishing.

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Old 01-17-2006, 09:22 PM   #2
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS



When choosing the right color drift rig for steelhead I try and keep it simple. There's not much use in "throwing the kitchen sink" at them. I feel that if there are fish around and you're technique is good, all that needs to be done is use a color that will show up under the existing water conditins. This is one of the most important details.

Here's a line-up of some of the colors I use.


The top line is for dirty water, my favorite for real dirty water is the chartruse clown.

The next line is for medium water, the so called "steelhead green" water color. I'll use these colors in the green colored water down to clear and up to dirty, adjusting by size accordingly.

The last line is my clear water colors. Many of the same as the green water colors, but maybe a little smaller in size.

I like to run something that gives some action like a spin-glo or birdie if I feel like I need to get the fishes attention a little more-like in dirty or cold water.

I like to try matalics when the sun is out.

A few more thoughts-

Match the hatch- on one day I was going to fish a new river, we noticed that every corkie that was washed into an eddy was rocket red, it seamed that it was the only color people had been using. Guess what, the fish we hooked that day were on rocket red.

Sometimes a certain color will work well on a certain river because of water color, or that particular run of fish.

On another note.....

Change them up- sometimes the fish get tired of seeing the same old thing. Give them a different color than what they've been pounded with.

I can tell this is the case when I've fished a peice of water for a while, we've caught a few fish out of it and I know there are more in there. Then I'll switch color and hook one on the first cast with the new color.

Contrasting colors- It's a good idea to use contrasting colors when you are adding yarn to your drift rig. It gives it a natural apperance and helps it to stand out.

Rainbow color combos or drift bobbers are another good idea as it will give you several color options in one so you can match whatever the fish want or the visibility of the water.
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Old 01-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #3
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

Just a little explanation of water color. I consider dirty water a visability of 2 or 2 1/2 feet.

"Green water" is from two to six foot vis.

And clear is anything over five or six foot vis.

Here's some dirty water, not quite muddy.


This is what I call milky water. It's a little dirty and just before it turns green.


Here's my typical drift rig for milky/dirty water.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:01 PM   #4
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

DON'T CUT CORNERS

It is too easy to get out on the water and fall into a bad habit of cutting corners.

Having a nick in the line or a loose or bad knot and not re-tying it or a hook that's not as sharp as possible without hitting it with a file will cost you a fish.

Murphy is always out there looking to catch you off guard and flex his law.

One bad habit I fall into is to try and fish a drift without the right size weight. Trying to "make it work" by casting up farther or letting out lots of line during the drift becuase the weight is too light usually doesn't cut it. Neither does having too much weight so that it's draging heavily on the bottom and hanging up often.

Have a good selection of slinky sizes and try a few to get the right one. And even do the same for the intire length of the hole. Sometimes you'll need different sizes for the top, midle and tailout.
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Old 01-26-2006, 05:03 PM   #5
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

GREAT STEELHEADING!

After all the high water we've had for the last month we finally got a break in the rain and this week has been ON FIRE!

We hooked over 30 steelhead in the last three days!

Every river on the coast should be full of steelhead. Look for fish to be moving since the water is still high. Tail-outs are an excelent place to intercept them until the water starts getting clear.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:38 PM   #6
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

Have a plan "B"

Everyone should make plans on where they are going to go fishing and how they are going to fish. Stick to those plans. But if something changes be prepaired to change too.

But I here about too many people that get to a river and find it's out of shape or too crowded and they give up.

Don't give up, and don't waste that important day off. Have a plan "B".

Go to another local river or try doing a different drift. Have a supply of gear that will work in all conditions so that you are prepaired.

It's not unusual for a good fisherman to cover several rivers in a day.

Possitive thinking and determanation go a long way in catching fish. One thing that helps me catch fish is that possitive attitude.

If the water is clear or muddy I mentally tell my self, "I've caught fish in water like that before." And then go to it.

I also find a lot of new places to fish because on crowded days I will try non-traditional spots that look fishy. Many times they don't produce but every once in a while they do, and when they do I take special note to the conditions and then return to that spot when the conditions match up again.
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

Variety

There are rivers, conditions and places where we will only fish one technique, like side drifting. Than there are other times we can utilize multiple techniques. Thatís the kind of steelhead fishing I like the most, where I can read the water and conditions and then match what Iím using to them. Itís like figuring out a puzzle

On some recent trips we were able to drift fish, bobber/jig, pull plugs and pink worms. And we caught fish on all of them by simply matching our methods to each piece of water we encountered. My boat looked like a porcupine with all the different rods sticking out the back.

When you go to the river be flexible and be prepared to match the water you are fishing. Try and be a ďjack of all tradesĒ so to speak. There are some things that work under a lot of different conditions but not all of them. To be successful and have a good time, take the time to learn what techniques work best and where to apply them.
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:20 PM   #8
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

Scott came down with Jeff from Seattle to try his luck at catching his first steelhead. Not too long into the morning he found her.

Chalk another one up to the First Bite Shrimp tail jig.


First Bite jigs are of the highest quality, standing up to heaps of abuse and still catching......

If you want some quality jigs look into getting some First Bite Jigs.

By the end of the day these guys had hooked eight, released a couple and went home with a some chromers for the cooler.

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Old 03-25-2006, 12:17 PM   #9
David Johnson
 
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Default Re: WINTER STEELHEAD TIPS, PICS AND RIGS

When fishing with a bobber and jig in two to five feet of water I like to "split the difference" That is set the jig half way down in the water column and the steelhead will rise to take the jig.
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