November 20, 2018 - Thanksgiving Steel Report
Steelhead fishing has been pretty decent lately. Water temps are cold, but there are fish around. Most days are fairly slow, but other days have been okay. Seems winter is settling in, but there are some warm and rainy days ahead.
We have been getting most fish in the "gut" of the holes; the deepest, slowest portion of a particular spot. When the water gets this cold, seems like the fish will seek out these slow deep spots in order to conserve energy. And it can make the fishing difficult, as they are more or less in a suspended animation state. Their main priority is no longer eating or migrating, but rather hunkering down. But, it does allow us to pinpoint where they should be sitting. Earlier in the season, you could basically find steelhead holding from top to bottom of a run. Now, they all gravitate toward the "gut." Problem is determining where that sweet spot is. Sometimes it's several square yards, other times it's the size of a beach towel. The more time you spend on the water, you'll start to notice how many "spots" are in each spot, if that makes sense...
Nymphs are still a good bet, mainly flashy beadheads and hexes. Don't be afraid to try small stuff, smaller than you might think. Make sure the hook gap is wide enough, otherwise it'll pry itself out after one head shake. Eggs in pale pink, cream, and white are also reliable. Swing flies in blue, silver, purple, and black with weighted lead eyes are good options.
Things will improve when the weather warms. Looks like next week we've got some incoming rain, which will shuffle things around in a good way. Streamers for trout and steelhead will make more sense when the water is up and stained. Not to say they won't work in clear water...
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