Steelhead flies - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 08-18-2001, 11:12 AM
mayflyman's Avatar
mayflyman mayflyman is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: North-East Ohio
Posts: 126
Steelhead flies

I plan to fly fish for salmon & steelheads this fall in the Grand River, Ohio. What would be a good sub-surface fly to use?
A black rat?
A silver doctor?
A egg patterns?
I'm using a light (5-wt) Orvis spring creek rod, It's the largest line weight rod I got. I have landed 36+" northern pike on this rod with little trouble, it can handle the stress of big fish.

Please help me with a pattern list so I can start tying.
p.s. I do not want to use the clasic, black salmon hooks. Would a heavy wire streamer hook work as well?
"Somewhere, over the rainbows. I'll cast my fly...."
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Old 09-25-2001, 07:29 PM
juro's Avatar
juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
The rat, doctor are good flies. The egg pattern implies a certain style of fishing, meaning so-sub surface that you are tapping the bottom with lead weights. For that style of fishing, egg patterns are great. I personally prefer not to fish that way for steelhead.

Are you going to fish the winter run or the summer run (if they have one)?

Summer - what are the main bugs the young were keyed into before they descended to the lake? Suggest these. Also choose a range of standard patterns in black, purple, black and purple with bright butts like green, orange or red (freight train, coal car, green butt skunk, etc). These are fished on the swing like atlantic salmon.

Winter - what will wake them up from a docile state of mind in the cold water? Marabou flies, bright spiders, bunny strip flies, etc. Also the egg approach mentioned above, which I do not practice.

Either - are there sculpins in the river? If so you had better keep some flies that are very animate and suggest sculpins.

The key is to appeal to the predatory instincts that are burned into their brains from their life experiences if you want the fish to move aggresively at your fly.

My philosophy for steelhead:

- presence of fish
- conditions
- presentation of fly
- fly

In that order.

You control presentation completely, whereas mother nature controls the first two.

Ironically, from my experiences in steelheading the fly is less important than the other factors - but all are critical and maynot be ignored to achieve one of the most difficult and rewarding pursuits with a fly. The factors that lead to success in this style of fishing mesh together into one continuum that men have sought after for millenia, starting with atlantic salmon in northern europe and still raging like a flame in the hearts of anglers in the northwest.

Some may say I am biased this way, but I say "hook them like a man and draw them to strike at the swung fly!"


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