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Tips for Salmon River Steelhead

  • Steelhead holding in slower water under heavy fishing pressure can often be enticed by using a lighter sinker and finer leader tippet. A light delicate presentation often produces spectacular results after the fish have been pounded heavily in popular pools.
  • Steelhead are closely related to rainbow trout, and flashy objects appeal to both species. I suspect flash makes make a particular fly, whatever it imitates; appear to be “alive.”
  • Water temperatures in the low thirties to low forties slow the Steelhead metabolic rate. Your fly must be presented in the lower portion of the water column where the fish are holding. The use of a running line makes an excellent presentation under these conditions.
  • When the air is warmer than the water, conditions are favorable for insects to hatch or emerge. On a warm day in winter, you are likely to see small stoneflies crawling on Salmon River streamside snow banks. This is the time when small size 12 to 16 stonefly imitations work well, and in the spring and fall Caddis imitations are effective. On a very cold morning and a rising air temperature, expect the fish to “turn on” when the air becomes warmer than the water.
  • When the air is colder than the water temperature; expect the fishing to be slow. In this situation you can, not without some risk, leave the river to rest and relax with the knowledge the fishing is likely to be slow.
 


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