The Steelhead Insider

Discussion in 'Steelhead Talk' started by KSUFLASH, Aug 27, 2007.


    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    It's comming closer to another season of Steelhead fishing. The veterans lay awake at night thinking about what kind of season they will have. The Greenhorns lay awake at night thinking about how they will do better this season, and the Green Peas a.k.a. Newbies sleep fine at night as they haven't yet gotten the chromer bug.

    This post is more for the Green Pea's and Newbies. My hope is to inform you of the traditional etiquette on the streams. Everyone was once a newbie and has made lots of mistakes along the way. If you stick to these recommendations, your steelhead fishing experience may be much better.

    Prior to me talking about etiquette, I wanted to share with you what I have been doing over the past few months to prepare. I hope this will shed some light on how you too can prepare for a season of steelheading.

    I have walked the Chagrin quite a bit this season. Why? Well when the flow at the river is low, you can easily spot new holes that are deeper than the rest of the river. Hence, when Fall time rolls around, and the flow goes up, you can go back to these spots and give it a go to catch some steelies. Marking a map, punching in a waypoint on your GPS, etc.. It is much easier to find spots months before the season starts, rather than looking for them when the fish are in the rivers.

    When is the last time that you looked at a topographical map? Learn to read them, and ye shall find steelhead. Nuff said on that..... Aearial Maps, learn to use them and ye shall find steelhead. Nuff on that subject as well.

    Ok, now the research and putting the time into walking the rivers are done. It is now time to harvest the fruits of my labor. We now sit and wait for the steelies to come in.

    My recommendation to those just getting started is to focus on 1 river this season. I would go to that river every single time that I had a chance. I wouldn't try and learn more than that 1 river. 1 river, 1 river, 1 river....get my drift. No pun intended.

    When I first started, I fished the Chagrin. It has since been several years. I still fish the Chagrin. I haven't yet tried to really focus on any other river by myself. I rely on a close knit group of friends to help me out on the other rivers.

    Ahh Yes.......Friends on the rivers.......Steelheaders may actually be the most tight lipped individuals that I have ever met. Myself included. Well thats, half true. We are tight lipped to those that we don't trust.

    Why you may ask? Those whom consistantly catch steelies when others are not have put in some good time prior to the season. I sat down 1 night and figured out how much time that I personally put into research, as well as walking the river time. Mine personally is 70-80 hours. Thats time that I have no rod in my hand. I am sure that those whom are guides do much more than that prior to the season.

    The internet is a great tool. Forums are also a great tool, but as many woodworkers know, tools can also hurt you. You won't see veteran steelheaders posting their honey holes, nor event what stretch of river they were on. You may be lucky to get what river they were on.

    I don't care to put in so much walking the river time and research to have someone go catch a load of nice fish, zipper them for eggs, snap some photos, and then blab it all of the internet. Next day, I go to the spot and I can't event find a place to stand because at 6am there are already people standing there.

    Steelheaders that consistantly produce fish have small groups of friends. They realize the importance of trust in each other. They will openly and happily give each other the true fishing reports.

    What you need to do as a newbie/green pea is follow the recommendations of a veteran, and show that you are willing to put in the time. Over a few seasons, you will begin to be the cream that floats to the top per say.

    This is only my vision of how things work here in Northeast Ohio, and may not reflect your personal experiences. I just know that I have had to work my tail off to find spots, learn how to fish for steelies, and do lots of homework in between. Those that I have that I trust that are what I consider veterans, I would never break their trust, nor would I expect them to break mine.

    Ok now with all of that out of the way, I wanted to take a moment and talk about some things that I have posted when I first started looking for steelies.

    I never knew you should do homework prior to steelies comming in to the rivers, so I began asking lots of questions on forums because I had no idea what I was doing. If you need to know about gear, I suggest reading the KISS sticky at the top of the steelhead forums.

    I cover the what to use in that thread......

    Where to go is a popular questions....


    Go to ODNR website, look at the steelhead page, find a public access spot, and start fishing.


    I was actually so intimidated the first time that I went to the river bank at the public spots, that I didn't even enjoy fishing. I mean people are watching your every move. I was affraid to ask anything, I made some critical mistakes not only for the pleasure of others, but myself as well.

    Take these tips from a former newbie.

    1. Don't use fireline on your reel
    2. Don't use a 6' rod when drifting a float
    3. Don't cast rooster tails, spoons, or any other metal into the river while others are drift fishing with a bobber.
    4. Dont wade out further in the river than the furtherst guy. Your probably standing on fish at that point
    5. Don't let your bobber drift too far downstream. When other are trying to fish that is....
    6. Don't crowd other fisherman. Just because the guy next to you got a fish
    7. Ensure that you check your drag, prior to wetting your line.

    Why you may ask?

    1. Fire line is great for no stretch, but it can also be seen by the fish.
    2. Short rods are not good for drift fishing, you need the majority of the line off the water so that you dont get a loop in it.
    3. Drift fisherman will give you the look if you start plopping metal into the holes that they are trying to quietly drift a bait past the steelies face.
    4. Wading to far out spooks the fish, and messes up the line dance.
    5. The line dance is when the line of fisherment are in sync, all casting up stream at the proper time and getting a good drift together.
    6. Crowding just pisses everyone off. Don't do it.
    7. If you don't set your drag prior, you will snap your line for sure really quick.

    I hope that this may help others that are just beginning to get into the steelhead fishing.



    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    Breakwall Fishing is your first opportunity to get a line wet and begin your hunt for steelies. This is what I would recommend if your interested in becomming addicted to the Chromers!!!

    I recommend the Fairport Harbour long wall if your nimble, and the Fairport Harbour Short wall if your not so nimble.

    Either spot your going to need a long handled net. I MEAN LONG!!! Probably 6' handle or so if not a bit longer. Reason being is that you will be standing well above the water, and if you get a fish to the wall, you will need that long handle so that the net will reach the surface of the water to scoop up your catch. You won't be able to lift these fish up with just your rod. Trust me!!!

    Your gonna need some spoons. I like the little cleo brand, but rooster tails, and other spoon manufactures can and will work. Here is how I use these.

    Cast out, and count to 5, begin reeling in. If after a while you don't get a bite yet others around you are getting hits, then count down to 6, 7, or 8, etc... Gotta find the depth that the steelhead are cruising at.

    Second tactic is you use a bobber with a jig and maggot. I recommend black feather and red head, seems to work well. Mini-Foo's are your typical jig style. You can tip with either maggot or emerald shiners. Some use powerbait or crawlers, yet I haven't had success with that.

    Set bobber depth to around 5' and give her a cast. Before ya know it your will have a bit.

    Did ya set that drag?

    My last recommendation is to get fishing right at daylight. From my experience the best bite for me is from sun up till about 11am. After that the fish don't seem to be in the mood.

    My guestimate is that about 3 weeks from now would be a good time to start breakwall fishing. They may be there sooner, but not in any great numbers.



    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please


    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

  5. tubuzz2

    tubuzz2 1700 Lund Red and tan

    I am starting to worry about you. The only thing I do is walk the river in the summer to find the holes.

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    why you worried about me?
  7. tubuzz2

    tubuzz2 1700 Lund Red and tan

    You do some much work in getting steelheads. I walk the river a few times and fish when I have the time. I live .5miles for the Vermilion and my best day at the Vermilion which was a few years ago is 64 hook ups. Just never thought some people would go to that much effort to catch some steel. It was just a little bit of a joke about being worried. :p Might want to get a 12 step program going for steelheaders. SA Meeting could be held a the river banks.
  8. wouldent that be like having a AA meeting at the bar? :D

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please


  10. ksu im starting to get about myself now,because i put in alot of too on im just hook,and want to get consistent
  11. Ya gotta laugh at all the effort put into pursuing this fish. I wonder if the fish spend as much time talking about not getting caught.:p

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    I put in alot of time so that I don't have to deal with idiots that don't have any regards for other fisherman, nor the fish that they attempt to catch. Finding new holes that produce fish conistantly is what I search for. If that means I walk half mile or more, then so be it.

    Nothing like actually having a hole all to yourself for an entire year.

    Don't get me wrong, public spots are on the list of spots to look at, but not if I got myself the honey holes.