Six ways to fish for steelhead – Newport News Times

Winter steelhead fishing on the Alsea and Siletz rivers has lately improved with the recent rains and rise in river levels, but are you ready to step up to the major leagues?

These elusive and challenging fish can test an angler’s patience and persistence, but the reward is hooking into a fish that is famous worldwide for its line-peeling runs and spectacular, acrobatic fight. Here are the most popular and effective fishing techniques, according to the experts at Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife:

Bobber and jig/bait – This is a good technique for both bank and beginning steelhead anglers. A weighted jig or bait is tied below a floating bobber and drifted in the current. When the bobber dives, stops or wobbles, set the hook!

Drift fishing – The bait or lure is bounced along the bottom with the help of a significant weight (and a boat). The key is to keep the bait near the bottom of the water and drifting along at the same speed as the current.

Plunking – A heavy weight holds bait or a spinner-type bobber stationary in the current near the bottom of a river. Good for beginners or anglers with limited mobility.

Spinners – Many anglers are familiar with the cast and retrieve method, but those that master the “cast and swing” presentation often have better luck with steelhead. Cast the spinner slightly upstream and letting if drift naturally in the current and then “swing” toward the bank.

Pulling plugs (aka hot-shotting, backtrolling) – While plugs are often pulled behind a boat where they can move and wiggle in the water as the boat drifts downstream, they also can be cast from the bank and slowly swung in the current.

Fly-fishing – A challenging but rewarding technique for targeting steelhead. Anglers use single or double-handed rods to swing flies through the current, or a nymph/indicator rig to drift a nymph near the bottom.

— Rick Beasley


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