I know that native steelhead will often take a properly presented hitched or skated fly. I have not been assured that the same holds for hatchery fish "to the same degree". As to the water I fish, my most recent outings have been on the NF Stilly using sinktips and weighted flies - the rivers have been running very high and off-colored. I envision a time within the next two weeks when I can go to dries on this system. I REALLY like fishing the dry fly!
As my original post indicated, there is some disagreement with those I have spoken with on whether hatchery fish will take surface presentations *well*; even those most capable have hinted at some reluctance on the part of these hatchery fish. Yeah, they tell me they take yet hedge their narrative with such qualifiers as "reluctance", "not to well", etc.
So I assume the buggers need a change in dining habits at the hatchery; more food at the surface and less food that sinks. Conditioned response... I note some of da Vinci's ideas didn't fly, either.