Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Drop Back Steelhead

The last few days the water flow for the Salmon River has been down to 335 CFS. The lower water flows has allowed the temperature to rise to the upper 50s. This increase in water temperature has caused the steelhead to go on a major bite. We have been catching steelhead in just about every pool along the river, and have been experiencing what I refer to as classic drop back steelhead fishing.
The fly is presented with a down and across swing. We will fish the pools from the top right through to the tail outs of the pool and we are finding steelhead everywhere. This is where the guys that are fishing spey rods are enjoying the lions share of the catch-rate. The more water that we can cover, the more fish we will catch and spey rods certainly help us to do this.
To get the flies down we are using sink tips and sinking leaders that we loop to the end of our fly lines. Many of these sink tips I have personally made myself. These tips can best be described as type 6 to type 2 sink tips, ranging from 15 feet to 5 feet long, depending on the water flow in the protector pool we are fishing. When I am fishing drop back steelhead in these conditions, I like to have my fly about 2 foot off the river bottom, so the fly will be more visible to a hungry steelhead.
Always keep in mind that steelhead this time of the year are on the hunt and hungry. It is not unusual for steelhead to move over 10 feet to take a fly. When fishing steelhead that is this aggressive it is always wise to fish the fly all the way across the pool until it hangs down directly below you. I call this fishing the hang down. You will be surprised at how many bites you will get at this point.

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