Headin' for Steelhead on the Feather [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Headin' for Steelhead on the Feather

09-22-2004, 05:57 PM
Hi All,
I am a relatively new fly fisherman and I am making my second attempt at landing a few steelhead on the Feather River in CA. We will be floating and wading from just below Oroville to Gridley on Friday morning. While I landed one fish two weeks ago (18 inches) and played and lost two other (in the 3-5 lb. class) I still feel like a bit of novice. I'd love to hear some hints or tips from the more experienced folks on the board. I will be with a guide, but I really don't want to be making too many novice mistakes. For instance, are most fish taken on the swing or earlier in the drift? How important is a dead drift, etc.? Thanks in advance for any advice you could spare!

Nick in Sacramento

09-22-2004, 06:40 PM
Trust your guide. If he is a good one he will know what you need for the specific waters you are fishing. Don't worry about him having to educate you, that is what you are paying him for. If you have only landed one fish, you are a novice. There is no shame there. Watch and listen and then put into practice what you learn.

09-22-2004, 07:07 PM
One small but important suggestion to add to sinktip's excellent advice--

The most important thing a novice steelheader can learn is where the fish are. Next, where are the fish that will be responsive to the technique being used. So ask your guide, when you stop to fish, "What is it about this spot that the fish like?" And, "What is it about this spot that makes it good for steelhead flyfishing?"

More generically, ask him/her what makes good steelhead water. You will get different answers depending upon whether you're swinging or nymphing (hope for swinging!), but that's because water that is good for one technique is not always good for another.


09-23-2004, 12:28 AM
There is no shame in being a novice, we've all been there and will continue when approaching a new fishery.

The "pull" can happen at any point in the swing. One of the hottest takes I ever experienced came after I swore the fly had just touched the water after my cast, my largest steelhead came after I made a short strip after the completion of the swing. Best advice I can give to a novice is the best thing to do when you get the "pull" is to do nothing...just let 'er go.

Once you start taking fish on a regular basis, try to stay away from the "numbers" game and just try enjoy the day and feel blessed if you hook a fish or two anything beyond that is exceptional in my book. Good luck!

09-26-2004, 11:08 PM
With all your good advice and the help of an excellent guide from the Chico Fly Shop, John Bryan, we had a very nice day on the Feather River. Started at 0 dark 30 and enjoyed the sunrise on the water. While making one drift however my indicator crossed into some intensely bright glare from the sun just cresting the horizon and I lost track of it. At that same moment I felt the line jerk and I pulled in the opposite direction...probably too hard. John said that the fish that jumped and threw my hook was in the 10-12 lb. range and my fishing partner thought that estimate was about right. I did manage to land a 16" and played a 20" all the way to the boat...he shook off just as we were attempting to net him...In my book, that goes as a "pretty damn close, I think I am going to count him."! Thanks for all the good advice and support, I spent Friday night, satisfied and exhausted after a great day on the river. Is there anything better than a night filled with dreams of steelhead???