Nymphing Steelhead with a drift outfit.

Posted on April 4th, 2020

Spring has arrived, blackbirds are singing in marches and along river and steelheaders are taking advantage of early spring Steelhead runs in the lower sections of most Great Lakes tributaries that have an “all year” open season.

Michael Kumar had a chance to fish one of the tributaries at the first moving water up from Lake Ontario. While most anglers fish roe bags, beads and soft-plastic gurbs, Others are doing really well drifting nymphs under a float.

Especially when water clear’s up and it’s later in the day and Steelhead develop “lockjaw” for roe bags and small soft-plastics they can’t resist a drifting nymph suspended in the water column.

Small nymph flies and small “micro” hair jigs can also work very well fished under a float. All these work best with a long, low diameter fluorocarbon leader between 4-6 lb. test. For best results you can use your standard “staggered” split-shot setting but make sure your leader to the fly from the last split-shot sinker is at least 24″ long. Try “dead-drifting” first and if that dosen’t trigger a take try “twitching” the float gently to give the nymph a swimming action.

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