Insider Steelhead Fishing Tips in Salem and Northwest Oregon
Oregon Fishing Club members have access to lakes, ponds, and rivers for all types of fishing. Overshadowed by the typical trout, bass, and panfish pursuits, steelhead fishing is an exciting way to mix things up and catch some big ones. They come into rivers to spawn and seek safety from ocean life, giving the experienced fisherman a tantalizing window to strike.
The Steelhead is a particular type of trout that spend several years out at sea before returning to freshwater to spawn. They are predators and will eat any type of fish, insects, or crustacean, which is good news for fishermen. Traditionally, they prefer fast water in tributaries and like to spawn in steep gradient areas. Depending on the area, they can have summer or winter runs.
Where to Find Them
Steelhead fishing is most profitable when focusing on rock gardens, overhanging trees, and other natural refuges. The drifting method lets the fisherman probe their bait in front of the holes and crevices fish prefer. For the best results, determine where the salmon are spawning, as Steelhead will be waiting for their eggs.
Bait and Tackle
All fly fishing methods work well depending on water conditions. Due to their familiarity with the ocean, Steelhead will bite on coon shrimp or prawns. Another popular choice is eggs under a bobber. If eggs aren’t readily available, a red bead can imitate the tiny snack. Both these tricks will only work during the spawning season. Spinners are good at catching the attention of a steelhead without scaring them off. Whatever the lure may be, a light pole and line are necessary to keep command of the location and feel the lightest of nibbles.
Different fishermen swear by different techniques, and a lot of it comes down to season or lure type. Drift fishing is a good method of riding the natural current downstream and trolling the bottom. Fly fishing is a delicate art that requires special equipment and practice, but the immediate location is good for casting over the trout and letting the bait bob past them. Even amateurs to steelhead fishing can have a successful day using spinners from the shoreline.