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Spring Steelhead Techniques

by Nick Homan
04/08/13 Schmidt Outfitters

Spring is one of my favorite times to be out, watching the snow give way to warmer weather.  It is time to get out on the water and try the new techniques, gear or boat that you have bought through the winter.    

Springtime steelhead fishing allows you to fish in many types of water, from small creeks to large rivers and slow pools to fast moving riffles.  You can choose different ways to float the rivers, from larger powerboats to small inflatable rafts.   You will be able to utilize many different techniques, including indicator and chuck-and-duck fishing.

Starting in the early season when fish are coming up the river, they first hold in deeper slow pools.  These are great for taking your indicator rigs out and slowly working the slow deep runs in and around wood.  As the water warms the fish will move into pre-spawn pools and runs behind spawning gravel.  These areas are ideal for chuck-and-ducking, which is one of the most common ways to steelhead fish in the spring.  Also, you can nymph fish these areas by starting your drifts behind gravel and in dark water.

As the spring run progresses, the water temperature will increase which leads to the fish being more active and willing to move for food.  These post spawn fish are very hungry and aggressively looking for hearty meals.  This makes it an ideal time to swing flies.

There is nothing like a spring day on the river catching steelhead.  Get out and fish this spring!