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Steelhead River Fishing

4/8/20 @ 12:03 PM
ORIGNAL POST
ChrisfrmMilwaukee
User since 4/8/20

First year river fishing. Not having any luck, I saw a person catch a huge salmon but I can't get a bite at multiple areas. 


I'm running line to a bobber, weight, then about 2 ft of line to a hook w spawn sacks. I'm tossing up stream 45 degrees and drifting it down to about 45 degrees. I've tried spinners, worms.


Any ideas? Am I doing it wrong?? 



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4/9/20 @ 4:40 PM
ChosenRiver
User since 2/17/09

ChrisfrmMilwaukee:

I have never used spawn so I can't comment on that -- I've always used flies or scented yarn eggs in spring and spinners in the fall. Maybe someone else can give you guidance! About the the only thing I might ask is what diameter line are you using for the leader from bobber to hook?

First year steelheader? . . . 

If the water depth and clarity allows it, are you SEEING fish (or wakes from fish movement)?   In fall, watch for "tailing" as the steelhead pick up salmon eggs from the bottom.

Polarized sunglasses would help if the light's right.

Are you fishing HOLDING water?  Downstream from a dam, falls, or boulder obviously*, but also the cushion of water upstream from a boulder or the quiet edge along a bank might be good.    *If the dam or falls is a difficult passage, the first hole downstream is where fish might drop back to rest. Or, they might rest in a pool just above those barriers if they're able to clear them.

Fish as early in the day as you can - preferably before the river gets pounded.

Depending on the season, I've caught spring steelhead and lake-run brookies in different conditions from January through mid-April and fall steelhead from late August through freeze-up -- BUT it varies from year to year – sometimes there's a dry spell or you're too early or late for the run.  Don't give up.

Finally, the DNR's stocking quotas and steelhead survival rate can be a factor.
A most general search: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead.

I'm not sure what age class of steelhead you might be seeing this spring so look for reports on stocking:
2019-2020: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead+Stocking&tbs=qdr:y
2018-2019: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead+Stocking&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A3%2F31%2F2018%2Ccd_max%3A3%2F31%2F2019
2017-2018: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead+Stocking&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A3%2F31%2F2017%2Ccd_max%3A3%2F31%2F2018

Google also suggested these searches
https://www.google.com/search?q=Best+Steelhead+Streams+in+Wisconsin, https://www.google.com/search?q=DNR+Wisconsin+Steelhead+Fishing, and https://www.google.com/search?q=Steelhead+Root+River+Racine+Wisconsin

And if you'd like to experiment:

You say you tried spinners but have you made your own? DIY: https://www.google.com/search?q=DIY+Steelhead+Spinners (They don't have to be big and they don't have to be fancy – I have used the least expensive brass parts in addition to silver-plated/gold-plated west coast parts and both produce if they are balanced and spin well. Use good hooks – I liked to use round-bend treble hooks that would straighten out if caught on rocks UNTIL I had some steelhead actually CRUSH them. On the other hand, single Siwash hooks wouldn't give the action I wanted) Technique-wise, this might help: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead+Spinners

Want to try FLIES?: https://www.google.com/search?q=Wisconsin+Steelhead+Fly+Patterns (use the KISS principle!)

Oh yeah, unlike salmon, steelhead don't die after spawning so, if you plan to release them, don't play them too long, take pictures quickly, put them back in the water as soon as you can. 

And be safe out there !



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