Many steelheaders are taking advantage of fresh-fish running up most Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and Lake Erie tributaries. While most are using fresh salmon eggs or trout eggs for bait, many fishing anglers fishing larger rivers like the Niagara & St. Clair Rivers are having good success fishing soft-plastic worms.
Dawid Adam sent us an image of this beautiful male steelhead that hit a pink plastic worm. I have anglers often ask me how they should rig their 4″ plastic worm. I tell them that I use two techniques. If I am float-fishing smaller tributaries with less flow and pools less than 10′ deep, I rig them “wacky-rig”. I use a small #10 or #12 hook and hook the worm right in the middle. I find that having the worm float slowly “horizontally” through the water column and shaking my float every once and a while produces a very tantalizing action that often draw very aggressive strikes. On the other hand, if I’m fishing larger, deeper and faster rivers where I may be using a 3-way rig or bottom bouncing with split-shot sinkers, I rig the worm by either hooking it about 1/8″ down from the head so it hangs straight, or if the fish are hitting light, I use a heavier sewing needle and thread my line right through the worm from head to about 1/8″ of the tail. Both techniques can produce steelhead, especially in clear water when they slow down on roe-bags.