Our good friends Joe & Micha Kubassek checked-out local southern Ontario tributaries to see the conditions and if there were fresh-run fish in. A substantial snowfall didn’t keep them from getting out and they discovered water levels were on the low side and clear.
This meant using small roe bags, sensitive floats and working and deeper pools and runs that could hold fish. This includes includes undercut banks, bends with deeper runs, trees that have fallen in the water where the current has gouged out a deeper area for fish to hold and especially checking out “tail outs” of deeper pools for fish that have just come up from downstream and holding at the back-end of pools.
Clear water also means spooky fish. Discretion is important when approaching a likely spot and keeping a “low-profile” as you approach to make your drift can make the difference between getting a fish on right away, or spooking any holding fish. Winter time is my favorite to target fresh-run steelhead. After all, remember that most of our stocked Steelhead are winter spawning strain. That means they move in as early as Oct. and move in and out of a tributary as water conditions allow them to.