Caney Fork Trout Fly Fishing - Caney Fork Trout Guide

TrophyFishingTN.Com
Videos

Striper, Trout, Smallmouth, and Musky, guide trips in the Nashville area. Our home waters are Cumberland and Caney Fork River and our specialty is fly fishing for Trout and Stripers.

~Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish~

Author Topic: Winter Steelhead  (Read 2152 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Fred Mertz

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +0/-0
Winter Steelhead
« on: December 01, 2009, 10:24:14 PM »
A friend called and said the Muskegon has been fishing well here in Michigan...and could I get away?
Looking at the weather forecast, it seemed today would be one of the last semi-comfortable weather days to be out.  Fishing wasn't "hot", but enjoyed the water.  Hooked one steelie and a couple of rainbows in about three hours.  This feisty male almost pulled the rod out of my hand:

Not big, but beautiful.


TFTN Admin

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 7923
  • Karma: +39/-9
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 10:35:04 PM »
Beautiful fish indeed Fred. How long is the season up there and when does it usually peak? Are the crowds reasonable most of them time? I've wanted to do that trip for sometime now.
It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. ~Thoreau

Fred Mertz

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2009, 02:03:02 PM »
Mike,
You can catch a steelhead almost any time of the year in some river in Michigan (thanks to a summer strain in the St. Joe).  That said, they usually follow the salmon upriver for a free meal of eggs in mid October.  The most reliable, and fun (IMO), fishing starts in early Nov. with dime bright fish like this one caught this year on the 4th...



The most fish usually come up in the spring.  A push usually starts in March and can last throughout May.  Die hards fish all winter and have the rivers to themselves.  Peak season is usually Mid-April and the rivers get a bit crowded at times. 

If you decide to make the trip, let me know and I'll lend as much help as I can.



toddro

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1643
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2009, 12:35:19 AM »
Looks good!  I'm heading back out to Seattle in Jan. for some winter run fishing.  I was there in Sept. and the summer runs were fantastic.  Jan. might be a bit early, but hopefully I'll find some steelies willing to cooperate!
"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Foreword- A Passion for Steelhead

Fred Mertz

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 08:09:24 AM »
Toddro,

I'd love to try the west coast for the "real" steelies.
How's public access out there?
Is it mostly boat fishing, or is there a good amount
of walk-n-wade river space available?


grumpy

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4164
  • Karma: +21/-5
    • ctflyfishingforum
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 09:30:24 AM »
Beautiful fish indeed.

Grumpy

toddro

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1643
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 09:43:04 AM »
Toddro,

I'd love to try the west coast for the "real" steelies.
How's public access out there?
Is it mostly boat fishing, or is there a good amount
of walk-n-wade river space available?



Plenty of wading access in the areas I have fished, but I know that float trips are popular there too.  If I can time it right, I love to hit it where I can fish smaller water for bigger fish.  The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Dept. does an excellent job of maintaining a lot of public access to many of their rivers.  Of course the spots are no secret and can become crowded at times, but if you access the rivers from these public access points and are willing to walk upstream or downstream for as long as is required, you can access many miles of river.  That being said, I have fished several prime rivers in prime season, and had the place to myself or seen maybe one or two other anglers in my vicinity...

"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Foreword- A Passion for Steelhead

toddro

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1643
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2010, 08:52:31 PM »
On my way up the the Pacific Northwest for some winter steelheading.  Rain in the forecast for today and tomorrow and then no precipitation forecast for the week.  This is a good thing!  Rain will raise the rivers a bit and also warm the water temps, then as I arrive, it will be time for the rivers to begin to drop and clear and that is when the fish love to push upstream...  I will report back soon.

cheers,



"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Foreword- A Passion for Steelhead

Fred Mertz

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2010, 06:20:58 AM »
Best of luck.
Shoot us a report when you return.

toddro

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1643
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 06:29:25 PM »
I have been fishing my A S S off.  Nine days in and the fishing has been absolutely phenomenal.  The area I am fishing has had a record Steelhead run this year with return numbers that are off the charts, and there is a mandatory retention rule of hatchery Steelhead, with a limit of 4 per day.  If you are caught releasing a hatchery fish you have caught, you can be fined.  They are trying to weed out the hatchery stock to increase the native run.   If you are not going to eat the hatchery fish you are forced retain, there is a food bank that will take them and serve them to the poor and elderly in the area.  I have loaded up a friend's freezer, eaten a metric shit-ton of fresh Steelhead, and donated many to the food bank as well.  Most days, it is pretty easy to hit your limit - sometimes sooner than you wish!  Once you hit your limit, you can continue to fish, but only with a #14 hook or smaller - so you are essentially gunning for Whitefish at that point .

Them's the rules, and enforcement on the river is fierce.  They even have wardens fishing undercover, and posing as nosy fishermen asking questions to fellow anglers - tough gig, huh?  Three times I have been asked for my lic. and had my gear and car checked, as you are only allowed barbless hooks.  They also check your creel, and search your car for hidden coolers and illegal fish.  Yo must also keep a catch card with all of your fish listed on the card as you catch them.  Crazy!

Almost every fish is right at 30", as most are hatchery returns that travel together.  My largest is a 37" native, with my smallest being right at 22" - not sure where he came from.  Also finding lots of Dolly Varden in the mix, all in the 18"-24" range, some Cutts in the 12" to 16" range, and some Whitefish in the 15" to 24" range.  You are allowed to keep the Whitefish (up to 15 per day) and they make some good eating.  I have taken 2 of them to smoke at my friend's place, neither of which would have survived after swallowing a large nymph and bleeding badly.  I have yet to hook into a Salmon - still trying, but once they are up as high as I am fishing, they are pretty much done.

Find the riffles, locate the pools below them, dead-drift a #8 Prince Nymph or swing a #8 Black Leech thru the pool, and you will hook up.  Three to six drifts thru the pool and if you don't get a strike, move on to the next one.  The Dollies hug the bottom, and the Steelies move between the bottom and the shallower drops on the slopes into the fronts of the pools.  Cutts take the backs of the pools where the waters shallows out, and the Whitefish stay under the Cutts or just in front of them.

Two more days of fishing, and then it is back to reality.

Cheers,
"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Foreword- A Passion for Steelhead

Steve Howard

  • Need to fish!
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8367
  • Karma: +14/-5
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 08:18:01 PM »
Now I am jealous Todd!  :o
Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

Fred Mertz

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 08:34:34 PM »
Man, gotta go get a towel....
to clean the drool off my keyboard!

Gofisher

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 839
  • Karma: +9/-2
  • "Sometimes I just don't pay attention!"
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2010, 08:13:11 AM »
Wow! Sounds like some great feeshin'...
"If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong."  John Gierach

Steve Howard

  • Need to fish!
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8367
  • Karma: +14/-5
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2010, 08:45:46 AM »
And.....

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum

toddro

  • FishHead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1643
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Winter Steelhead
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 02:00:46 PM »
And.....



hah!  I agree! I know you hardcore photog guys will find this hard to believe, but I don't even own a camera after dunking my Canon in a river and killing it about 2 years ago.  I borrowed one and took one picture of a small creek I climbed up to access and 1 mondo native rainbow I pulled out of it on my 3wt. backpack rod.  I'll see if I can get it into my computer and posted...
"A passion for steelhead is a hard ride. It is all consuming. God help the woman, man, or child who hopes to compete for some small claim to the passion in the angler so stricken." Bill McMillan, Foreword- A Passion for Steelhead