Early Spring Steelhead.

Posted on March 29th, 2022

Avid steelheaders know that as soon as the weather get’s milder winter ice that has been covering the Great Lake tributaries starts to release from shore and as runoff increases and temperatures get mild slowly it starts to break-up. Lastly spring rains raise tributary water levels and the ice finally goes out. It usually takes days for the high/dirty water to subside but then it’s game-on as steelhead swim into harbour mouths and up the lower sections of tributaries.

Spring Steelhead
Barbara Labignan smiles as she holds-up a prime spring male steelhead.

To me this is the best time to intercept fresh-run steelhead that take well and fight hard even in cold water temperatures. The best bait to use in murky conditions is unquestionably fresh trout eggs tied in a dime-to-nickel size spawn sack. Bright colors of netting in chartreuse and hot pink usually work best in turbid water.

Spring Steelhead
Fresh-run Steelhead are often referred to as “chromers”. Check out the logs in the water in the background that can be dangerous to fight fish near.

Right after ice-out it’s common to have lots of trees and log-jams that have washed down with the high water. Anglers have to take care to plan their drifts so they can fight fish without getting caught up in the wood. This means using slightly heavier leaders and main line to be able to steer the fish away from obstructions. As the water clears then it’s back to a lighter main line and leader.

Make sure to check the fishing videos on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel and if you have any questions just email them to me at Ask Italo throughout our www.canadian-sportfishing.com website.

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