Aaron Shirley, our pup Mulligan and I took advantage of high water levels and good weather conditions and headed out to a Lake Ontario tributary yesterday to enjoy the excellent high-water steelhead fishing that is available due to our late spring, cool temperatures, lot’s of snow melt-off and recent rains.
You know it’s going to be a good day when you tie into a fish on your first drift and that is exactly what happend to me, but unfortunately because I was trying to land my first fish in the same run I had hooked it in (I did not want to chase it down the rapids for a 100 yds or so), I ended up loosing the fish.
Aaron hooked the next fish, which he caught drifting a small run next to a large submerged tree root. When the water is high, steelhead will commonly lay in runs that would not be deep enough during normal water conditions. Both Aaron and I have learned that if there is enough water to “hide”a fish, there’s a good change to hook a steelhead, so never pass-up at least 1-drift if you see a good run created from high water conditions.
Multi-clored, varying size egg-sacks are key to figuring our what the steelhead want, especially if the water conditions can range from clear to murky, or shallow to flooded conditions. Both Aaron and I like to pickle our eggs and use different color mesh to make sure we can meet all of the different water conditions.
Luhr Jensen makes an excellent Kwikfish Stretchy Thread that is ideal for tying egg-sacks quickly and neatly!
The Rapala Shift Off-set Drift Reels are lightweight, they are vented which makes them light, yet very strong, they have smooth ball bearings which make for excellent free-spool drifting and they are a large diameter to help with line pick-up.
When many anglers hook a fish, they get so excited and try and reel it in as quickly as possilbe. Aaron and I have learned over the years that it’s all about savoring the moment, which includes taking your time while fighting a fish you worked so hard to get on to your line, and gently landing it after it has finished fighting.
Both Aaron and I try and take as much time is required to revive fish that we have fought out and held up for quick pictures. We appreciate these beautiful fish so much we want other anglers to have the opportunity of catching & releasing them as well!
This years late spring and colder than normal water temperatures are keeping steelhead metabolism down helping to ensure a healthy release.
Steelheading is one of the most peaceful type of fishing any angler can enjoy. All you need is a good set of waders, the right gear and to find a stretch of tributary that is holding fish. If most cases you find some of he best steelheading away from the crowds in a very natural environment.
Aaron & I are going to try and get as many hours of steelhead fishing in over the next few weeks while there are still lot’s of fish that are dropping back down from the upper Lake Ontario tributaries!