Steelheaders know that when it comes to tributary fishing rods, length does make a differance, especially if you use a lightweight leader.
Some steelheaders that fish smaller streams will fish an 11 1/2′ rod and this makes sense when fighting fish in from tree covered shorelines where there is limited room, but if you fish larger rivers that are more open, a 13-15′ rod is ideal.
A longer rod enables you to keep your line off the water easier to prevent line drag and it also adds “torque” to your line when you are fighting a big steelhead with a lighter tippet!
Each fall when the tributary Great Lakes Chinook salmon are finishing their spawning it’s time to enjoy some of the best migratory Brown trout fishing of the season. Brown usually start running at the same time the Chinooks start running the Great Lakes tributaries. As Chinooks spawn, Browns are eager to pick-up their eggs.
This is the time to fish down-stream waters from the Chinook where Browns lay in deeper pools and runs and are picking up the loose salmon eggs.
Browns will take small roe bags, but they really love to pick-up individual salmon eggs.
This is the best time to fish single imitation salmon eggs like the natural looking and soft Cleardrift Float soft-beads. Fish these about 1 1/2-4″ up the line from a small #8 or #10 trout hook and let them drift naturally with the current drifting just off the bottom to holding Browns. This is where a drift-outfit and center-pin reel performs best. Most anglers will fish these with a sensitive float. If the float goes down from a fish-take, it’s important not to “slam” the rod. Gently, firm hook-sets work best!
Great Lakes tributary anglers can choose from fishing smaller streams or really big rivers. Among the biggest are the ones connecting the Great Lakes like the Niagara and St. Mary’s river. On of the main challenges is fishing both at the right time. Water levels and water color play a big role in how catchable the steelhead will be so timing is everything.
Late fall is one of the best times to fish these big rivers since the steelhead are running for the first time and are usually silver and full of energy. Many of them will spawn in the winter and remain in the rivers until spring. Matt Cory from Topset Sport Fishing and his friends know this well and make the long trips to fish both big rivers where the results are usually trophy Steelhead.
Fresh-run steelhead love to take roe bags and single imitation eggs. This is definitely the time to fish drift-outfits, and float rigs bouncing your offering just off the bottom and fishing the current/structure seams. Bright colors usually work well and covering lots of water.
Fresh steelhead will move quite a distance if they spot a drift bait in clear water and will usually take right away.
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