Okay, you asked for it…here’s the basic way to bait up with roe for steelhead fishing:
One of the biggest keys to catching steelhead is knowing your water temperature and how it affects the fish. Since steelies are cold-blooded beasts, their metabolism slows down in colder water and increases as the temps go up (until they got too hot).
In general, when water temps are low, you’ll find the fish in the softer water along the edges of the river and in slower, deeper runs, pools and flats. They seek out these spots to avoid fighting the current. Conversely, the warmer the temps, the faster, choppier water you’re going to find them in.
The really interesting thing is — and I have yet to ever hear anybody talk about this — that water temps affect fish differently depending on where you are fishing. Again, they’re going to be governed by their cold-bloodedness but steelhead also react to what they’re used to.
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I’m getting my gear, boat and friends (shuttle drivers) ready for a few trips down the American River this winter and was wondering what your outlook for the winter steelhead run looks like. Also, do you plan on booking any drifting trips down the American?
Yep, I will do trips this winter on the American. As far as the outlook goes, that a tough one. Luckily, you can’t really base the steelie forecast on the salmon returns. Last season, the hatchery had a pretty good push of fish — around 3,000 steelhead — so, I’m not sure why we can’t expect to see something similar this year. Famous last words, of course…
While the drought is a bad deal, the low water we’re likely to find this winter will force the fish into some pretty well-defined spots.
Are downer steelhead really…well…”downers?” Lots of folks think so because when you catch them they’re usually skinny, colored up and not the greatest of fighters. Some people even get bummed out when they hook a downer (also known as runbacks, kelts or spent fish) but there’s actually a lot to love about ’em.
He got the idea from a Zane Grey novel he had read a year prior. It was just a passing phrase in which Grey, who spent a good chunk of his time in a cabin on the Rogue River in Oregon, mentioned something about killing a steelhead for Thanksgiving dinner. The old man didn’t think much about it at first, but then the thought of a steelhead instead of a turkey began to intrigue him.