I have been communicating with Matt Cory about sharing his Great Lakes tributary strategies. As many of you know Matt is an accomplished steelheader. He agreed to share his insights/strategies on fishing different size tributaries over the winter months. For the next 3-weeks I will be sharing his expertise with everyone. For those that are getting into steelheading or are a passionate steelheader, you may definitely want to read his info.
In Matts’ words, “Winter Steelheading is a different type of fishing. Freezing hands, frozen guides, poor conditions, high winds and patience.”
Smaller River Strategy
For smaller rivers during the winter season I will typically use smaller hooks, lighter leaders and smaller baits.
My winter baits I typically use include smaller beads, yarn flies or small roe bags.During really cold weather my goal is to find 6 – 8′ foot deep pocket sections of slower moving water and have my bait drift, a half foot from bottom. I believe the smaller the bait the less intimidating it is for the fish to take, as like a snack. An almost human-like response; the less effort to make a snack & eat, the more likely you’ll have that snack. This is why I will try and drift in slower currents to present the baits closer to those wintering lethargic steelhead. Personally when fishing smaller systems I tend to stick closer to river mouths rather than further upriver during the cold season in attempt at finding freshly arriving fish.