Fly Fishing Articles on Steelhead, Salmon, & Trout

Broken Water Near a Seam of Fast/Slow Current.
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Where to Find Steelhead?

There is no definitive answer to this question, only some generalities. Knowing what steelhead are looking for, while in a river, will help you determine where to fish.

Like all fish, steelhead need to feel safe, they need food, and they want to be able to move freely through the water. And for spawning purposes, steelhead need small gravel.

Steelhead, like all river-based fish, want to conserve energy and only expend what is needed. The type of water they choose to swim or hold in, will likely be the most efficient for them. On their migratory path upriver, steelhead will take the path of least resistence. So look for inside bends, broken water, seams, and tailouts. The speed of the water is to be considered as well. The surface current should be about the speed of a walk. Inside bends, broken water, and seams should have a slight chop or ripple to the surface, some call it "nervous water." That chop will indicate rocks and boulders beneath the surface, which form underwater eddies and holding places for fish to rest. Smoother water is often found in tailouts and pools. Tailouts are particularly good places to look, as they are just upstream of rapids or riffles and provide steelhead with a resting place, plus they are near deeper water, where fish can flee to safety.

The Salmon River offers all of these types of water. Most often several types of water combine to produce a great spot. Other times, a seam, or current break is all that is needed to hold a couple fish, in what looks like an unlikely piece of water. Finding a place like this a gem. Also, on inside bends, be certain to fish the close water, before wading into your spot. Often fish will be holding where many think they ought to be standing.

If you are new to the river, hiring a guide can put your into these best lies and increase your chances of catching the elusive steelhead. River Run Troutfitters provides an education on the Salmon River, not just a day on the water. You can take what you learn during your day, and use it to help yourself find fish.
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