Fishing the Jig for Steelhead
Robert R Smith
One reason jigs have become so popular is their ease of use.
You find a place you want to fish. You determine the depth of the
hole your fishing. Then adjust your float to that depth and you
It is a good idea to use a longer steelhead rod then you may
normally. I like rods in the eight to ten foot range. The longer
rod allows me to keep the line from my float to my rod tip out of
the current and presents a more natural drift. You can use the shorter
rods though I use shorter rods in the smaller steams that I fish.
They are easier for me to control especially when the bank is grown
over with willows and other shrubs. I also like to use a swivel
and a lighter leader so if I do hang up I do not lose my float along
with my jig.
Say the hole has long seam where fast and slow currents come
together. You estimated the water to be five feet deep. Then adjust
your float so that your jig is four feet below your float when it
hits the bobber stop and you are ready. Cast your line up-steam
out where the seam of the faster current mingles with the slower
current and simply let the current drift your jig down through the
hole. Keep an eye on your float if it is stopping or bouncing as
it drifts you will need to reduce the depth at which you are fishing.
If you see this happening, you should reel in and make this adjustment
before you snag up. Jigs like to find a rock and I am sure that
they crawl under them just so you will not be able to cast them
back out again. Make sure you adjust them so they do not get a chance
to hang or you will be tying on a new jig.
Most of the time when jig fishing, you don't need to be right
on the bottom. Steelhead will move up quite a distance to take a
jig. If you feel that, you are drifting over the top of the steelhead
and not getting strikes. You can lengthen the distance between you
float and jig a little with each cast. Once you see your float bouncing
and stopping again reel in, shorten the distance between your float,
and jig by about a foot. You are now drift the hole it what I call
the strike zone.
Once you have, the depth set you can start fishing in earnest.
Make sure you cover the entire drift buy make three or four cast
in the same location. Then Cast out a foot or two farther for three
or four cast. You will want to continue this until you are sure
that you have covered all of the fishable water. It is important
that you make a cast in the same location four three or four times.
Steelhead will often just ignore your jig the first time that it
passes them. When it keeps floating by, they are likely to hit it
just because it is bothering them.
Steelhead fishing has a complex quantity of rules and you will
learn that many of them work. However, you will find that not all
of them work all the time. It is a good idea if you are fish a drift
that you know has steelhead in it and you have not gotten any strikes
that you change things up. You may want to try some type of attractant.
Try adding a small spawn sack, maybe a small piece of shrimp, or
even one of the many scents that are available today. Change colors
and the size of your jigs if your old faithful jig is not working.
There will be times where for what ever reason the steelhead
are suspend in the river and not hanging on the bottom like normal
show do not be afraid of raising your jig off the bottom if you
are not having any luck fishing deep.
As with any new technique, it may take you a while to master
it. Be persistent and give this technique an honest try it works
and works well for many Steelhead anglers. Once you realize how
productive fishing a jig is you too will be hooked.
Steelhead, salmon and trout fishing has been a passion of mine
since I was a young boy. Most of my free time was spent on lakes
and streams here in the northwest, and I have picked up on some
interesting facts about fishing for these species over the last
45 years. I would like to share them with you through articles and
at my websites I hope you find them helpful and enjoyable. So please
stop by check out some information or just stock up on your fishing
gear. Hope to see you on the river!
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