Roe bags are to steelhead like “cash” to a vendor! You can get them to take it most of the time. But, when conditions get tough, slower drifts, clearer water, middle of the day, high light intensity into the water, the “cash” may not work so good. That’s when it’s wise instead of giving up and calling it a day, to change over to “bugs”.
Bugs is a slang-term for flies or jig-flies that are designed to be fished sub-surface, under a float and imitate the invertabrates and other creatures that young steelhead regularly fed on in their early stages of life when they were in the tributaries before heading out to the “big-waters” and changing to the “baitfish-buffet”!
How do you fish a bug properly? You “dead-drift” it below your float from the bottom to about half-way in the water column. It’s OK to gently move your float every once and a while to make it look like it’s “swimming”, especially when you think you are going through a high-percentage area.
Can you see the size of the “bug” in the steelheads mouth above? If you have not fished them before, you will need to build your confidence in how well these “bugs” can work. Some days they will hook-up steelhead when other anglers hit pay-dirt!