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Downsizing terminal tackle for clear-water Great Lakes steelhead fishing.

Posted on May 9th, 2014

Aaron Shirley, Mulligan and I spent the morning again looking for Lake Ontario tributary steelhead and the fishing was definitely more challenging than yesterday.  We ended up bushwacking for almost an hour with our long 13′ Rapala Drift rods & reels through thick and light bush, trying not too catch too many trees. All this to try and locate isolated runs/pool that were a little deeper where we knew post-spawn steelehead would be limited to hold until we get some more rain and they make it downstream to Lake Ontario.

italo_1st_stelheadI started things off by hooking a small steelhead right at the first run.  The fish took a smaller egg-sack fished under a more sensitive float than 2-days ago.

small_eggsackYou can see how small of egg-sacks Aaron tied on.  He also went down to a 4lb test Sufix Fluorocarbon leader and used a very sensitive float as well.

rapalashiftdrift_reelThis morning Aaron chose to fish with his 13′ Rapala R-Type drift rod matched with a Rapala Shift set-back drift reel.

rapala_classicdriftreel_steelheadFor the first time I fished the Rapala Classic Drifter reel with a 13′ Rapala Shift drift rod and loaded with 8lb test Sufix Seige Tangerine line and was very impressed.  Both of us used long rods so we could fish further back from the waters edge without spooking steelhead in shallower water runs.

aaron_malesteelheadAaron landed this nice male steelhead fishing a tight run that was about 4-5′ deep.  Knowing that it was one of the deepest runs, he kept fishing it and landed a few more nice steelhead.

italo_rapala_classicdrift_reelI ended up catching 2-smaller steelhead and this nice female that held in about 4′ of water in a long run.  It made about 3 nice jumps, looking like an Atlantic Salmon before I was able to slow it down and land it.

shiftdriftrod_classicdrift_reelHere’s the basic gear we use; long drift rods, 8 lb. main line, 4-6 lb. leaders, small hooks, just a few split shots, a very sensitive “pencil” style float and various colors of smaller egg-sacks.

mulliganOur pup Mulligan loves to fish with Barb and I.  She loves to cross the tributaries, to look for deer and watches over us as we fish!

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