Winter Steel

Posted on December 13th, 2014

I have been working long hours and 6 days a week for the past few months, and it has been very tough to get out fishing. I finally had a chance to sneak out for a few hours after work and before I picked up my kids from school yesterday. With a short time frame, I opted for a quick fix of local steelhead on a Lake Ontario tributary. We had a pile of snow the day before, and I had high hopes that the creeks would be high and stained full of fresh chrome fish entering the tribs. When I arrived, I found a very clear cold creek. This was not what I was hoping for. In any case, I was excited to be able to just finally get out fishing, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

The scenery was beautiful with a fresh blanket of white snow covering the trees and landscape. A quiet meandering creek elegantly flowed between ice ledges. Mallard ducks swam around me, with very few anglers in sight. The beauty and tranquility reminded me of one of the reasons I love fishing so much. I was already a happy guy at peace taking a quick break from a hectic city schedule. Fish would just be a bonus on this day.


I knew there would not be any fresh chrome fish, and that the cold water from the snow would make things tough for fishing. There was a layer of several inches of slush coating the bottom of the creek, but I knew the conditions would improve slightly as the day warmed up. There were guys already fishing the first spot, and I moved on to another small spot. I had a good sign right away with a small rainbow taking a roe bag. I took my time walking to spots enjoying nature along the way. I hit another small steelhead on roe in a small spot shortly after. I moved to some larger pools and runs where there were a few anglers. I spoke to a few guys fishing that were not having much luck either. And despite my best efforts, I came up empty on the larger spots. I tried roe, marabou jigs, beads, TriggerX eggs to no avail.

With time running out before I had to pick up my kids from school, I tried one last spot on my way back. within a few drifts, I caught a beautiful female that looked like it had been painted. I took a few quick shots before I released it back into the icy cold water of the creek. In the process of taking a photo, I dropped my Samsung S5 into the creek! Fortunately, I had earphones in and my phone was still attached. I acted quickly and was able to retrieve my phone in the shallow water under the ice ledge. The S5 has an IP68 waterproof feature that I am very happy about. The phone was soaked but kept working perfectly! I love having a waterproof phone!



I drifted with a Rapala North Coast 13′ float rod
and. I utilized a 5 gram float with small split shot to a micro swivel. I added a 24″Sufix fluorocarbon leader
in 6lb test to a size 8 Gamakatsu octopus hook. The roe bags were about the size of a nickel in various colours, but pink seemed to work best. Small runs and pockets of slightly deeper water and pools held fish.

with the warmer weather this weekend and some melt-off, the tribs should be rocking with fresh chrome steelhead! Hopefully you get a chance to get out for winter steelhead fishing!

Aaron Shirley

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