Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Steelhead Update

All of the smaller streams are now in ideal fishing conditions. Along with good water flow and color, water temperatures are now ideal for spawning. The high water from the past two weeks has allowed steelhead to spread out through the streams and creeks. There is plenty of steelhead to be found however the fish need to be found and this may require a little walking. A few of the smaller creeks are starting to become very clear, care is needed to not spook fish. Sandy Creek is still slightly high and the water color still has a good stain to the water. Ideal water conditions for fishing Sandy this time of the year.
Oak Orchard River -- Water flows for the Oak have remained off color and very high. Water flows are still high enough to make wading treacherous, if you intend to fish the Oak over the next few days, wade with care. The good news for the Oak Orchard river is the water temperature. The last few days the water temperature has been hovering between 36 degrees to a high of 39 degrees. Despite the high dirty water flows, the fishing on the Oak Orchard is about to take off. Keep in mind it is spring and fishing conditions can and do change daily.
Productive flies, with the warming water temperatures, the fly box is expanding quickly. A wide assortment a fly pattern are now becoming successful. For actively spawning steelhead try swinging streamers, bunny flies, woolly buggers. When fishing the pools try egg patterns and large nymphs. You will need to experiment with color and fly size, affective patterns can and do change daily.

April steelhead fishing

Steelhead fishing in April is steelhead fishing at its peak. Water temperatures have finally warmed up above the 40° mark at this water temperature steelhead start to spawn. Even though the fishing conditions this time this year, can be high and dirty. Most people would think that this is less than ideal conditions. Reality is April provides some of the best steelhead fishing for the entire run.

Sight fishing is one of the more exciting methods of trout fishing. Spotting a fish and then trying to entice that particular fish into taking, is an exciting way to fish. When you add to the fact that trout you are fishing to is a 10 pound steelhead the excitement increases even more. You can watch the reaction of the fish to the fly and the tack. It is when I am sight fishing for steelhead, that I do a lot of my experimenting and fly patterns development.

This is exactly how I go about our steelhead fishing for the month of April. We look for groups of steelhead holding in the gravel beds, and then pick and choose which fish we are going to fish for. When the steelheads are on the gravel beds, they are aggressive and well take a fly presented on the swing very well. High water events are often helpful now. These water conditions provide cover for steelhead and putting the fish at ease. With a little practice is amazing how easy you can still spot fish in these conditions of high and off color water. It is this time of the year I often say fear no mud. Even with these conditions I am able to find and catch fish. This is sight fishing at its best.

My normal fishing routine is to fish with a 10 foot seven or eight wait Rod with a wait forward floating fly and a 10 foot leader. We will carefully look over gravel beds that have a proven record of producing fish. As fish are spotted we then carefully fish to individual fish that we would like to attempt to catch. Generally speaking steelhead that are located on the gravel beds are the more active fish in the given run. As individual fish become tired or inactive they will drop back down into the pools. Often these fish will then be replaced by a more active steelhead. Sight fishing on the gravel beds this time of year, is not just an exciting way to fish. But also the fishing action can be more consistent throughout the day.

If you're interested in sight fishing for steelhead. I have several prime dates still available for both fishing the Oak Orchard River and a few dates left for April fishing on the Salmon River. If you're interested, or have any questions. Please feel e-mail me at or that are yet give me a call at 585-352-4710. You may also call the fly shop at 585-352-4775.

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