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Opening day steelhead fishing on a few Georgian Bay tributaries.

Posted on April 27th, 2014

My wife Barb, Mulligan and I had the pleasure of fishing some of the best Georgian Bay tributaries with Darryl Penhale.

Yes, it was already daylight, but you would not know it from this picture.  It was raining steadily and looked pretty gloomy...perfect steelhead weather!
Yes, it was already daylight, but you would not know it from this picture. It was raining steadily and looked pretty gloomy…perfect steelhead weather!

Our day started at 3:15am packing our fishing gear in our car, in the rain! The rain just kept coming and eventually we literally were soaked by 11am.  The weather though did not put a hamper on our fishing.  Within 5 min. of getting set-up and drifting the first pool I landed a nice male steelhead that took an egg-sack drifted under my 4-gram float.

Ryan holds up a plump female steelhead which he hooked just as it was getting light.
Ryan holds up a plump female steelhead which he hooked just as it was getting light.

In addition to fishing with Darryl, we also had the pleasure to fish with Ryan, his Randy, and their friend Brandon.  The action was hot and fast and we all caught fish.

Brandon holds up one of his trophy steelhead he hooked casting his float-rig over some tree branches and the fish hit as soon as the egg-sack hit the water. I watched him expertly get his line off the tree while fighting the fish, without breaking his rod, or loosing the fish....well done Brandon!
Brandon holds up one of his trophy steelhead he hooked casting his float-rig over some tree branches and the fish hit as soon as the egg-sack hit the water. I watched him expertly get his line off the tree while fighting the fish, without breaking his rod, or loosing the fish….well done Brandon!

Brandon started walking the stream and literally hooked a fish in every run and pool he tossed his egg-sack in.

Randy landed this nice chrome female in the same pool we left when we headed up-stream.
Randy landed this nice chrome female in the same pool we left when we headed up-stream.

Randy (Ryan’s father), holds up a bright silver female steelhead which he hooked after waiting patiently for us to finish fishing the same pool.

I fished two different Rapala float-drifting outfits.  The set-back drift  reel worked great with a sensitive float, and 11' R-Type float rod.
I fished two different Rapala float-drifting outfits. The set-back drift reel worked great with a sensitive float, and 11′ R-Type float rod.

Based on the late spring, cold, high water, Darryl decided we should fish some of the upper stretches of the Georgian Bay tributaries figuring there would be lot’s of fish still waiting to spawn, and he was right.  I purposely took twoRapala drift outfit, an 11′ Rapala R-Type rod (for some of the smaller, heavily treed tributaries), loaded with a Rapala Set-back drift reel, and a 13′ Shift drift rod outfit rigged with a Rapala R-Type float reel to fish some of the larger waters like the Nottowasaga River.

I loaded the float reels with 8 lb test Sufix Tritanium yellow main line with a 6 lb test Fluorocarbon leader.  My choice of hook was a #10 Gamakatsu Octopus hook baited with a freshly tied trout egg-sack.

Barbara drifts a long run with Mulligan keeping her company. You can see how stained and high the water was.
Barbara drifts a long run with Mulligan keeping her company. You can see how stained and high the water was.

We ended up moving around and fishing 3-different tributaries and all produced fish. As you can see from the image above water was high (flooded), and still very cold.  This meant the fish were dispersed throughout the tributaries and we had to cover more water to find them.

If you are going to cross deeper, fast flowing water it's a good idea to have a wading staff.
If you are going to cross deeper, fast flowing water it’s a good idea to have a wading staff.

Above, Barb carefully crosses on of the tributaries with the aid of a long stick (organic wading staff!!). We were well already from the rain, but going for a swim was not really in our itinerary!

Barb and Mulligan make for a nice picture, especially with a bright opening day steelhead and a beautiful secluded stretch of Georgian Bay, ON river.
Barb and Mulligan make for a nice picture, especially with a bright opening day steelhead and a beautiful secluded stretch of Georgian Bay, ON river.

Barb smiles as she holds up a bright, fresh-run steelhead that was holding in the fast run.

This was my nicest fish caught on opening day, a beautiful female steelhead that shot my float under and fought well taking me about 50 yds downstream!
This was my nicest fish caught on opening day, a beautiful female steelhead that shot my float under and fought well taking me about 50 yds downstream!

I’m really looking forward to the next 6-weeks since I think there will be some excellent steelhead fishing to be had until the air temperatures rise along with water temperatures and the steelhead return to the Great Lakes!

 

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