Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a strain of rainbow trout which unlike its closest relative is migratory and can inhabit both salty and freshwater bodies. Steelhead trout are spectacular fighters with their line-stripping runs and magnificent leaps. Fishing for steelhead can turn into a challenging task even for an experienced angler. Read further to get to know how to get a truly exciting fishing experience using handy tips given below.
What Do Steelhead Trout Look like
Steelheads belong to the Salmonidae family and are very unique fish, since their development can change depending on the environment they live in. The species can be easily recognized for their coloration: adult individuals are dark olive on the backs and upper sides; their streamlined bodies are heavily speckled with dark spots and pink to crimson stripe on the sides. In the ocean they are more silvery.
When young, steelhead trout consume plankton and tiny insects. Adults’ diet is made up from the aquatic creatures (mollusks, fish eggs, crustaceans, minnows and other small fish). As a rule, trout lifespan does not exceed 11 years. The fish can be as long as 45 inches (120 cm) and as heavy as 55 pounds (25 kg). Usually trout are much smaller.
Steelheads are migratory fish. This means that they leave the fresh waters where they were hatched from and move to the salt water. When it’s time to spawn, they come back to their natal streams and rivers. Females scoop out nests (a net of these is called a ‘redd’) in small or medium gravel and lay out eggs there. Then the male fertilize them. Alevins (newly hatched trout) remain protected in gravel eating the rest of the yolk. When it runs out, they leave gravel and start their ‘real’ life.
Steelhead Fishing: Float Technique
There exist various angling styles used for trout fishing. We are going to dwell upon the float method which is an old tactic developed by the English about a hundred years ago. It was not popular throughout the world until 1990’s when it became favored in Canada and then was spread to the US territory. Read the following tips about float method below and be sure you will land plenty of fish with this technique.
- The Depth. A float is actually a bobber. You can both produce it yourself or purchase it in a fishing shop. The keystone of the method is setting of the proper depth: it must be nearly one foot off the bottom. If set up right, the steelhead lures will be at eye level for the fish and will not get snagged or lost.
- The Lure. Bright colored feathered lures are always beneficial for steelhead fishing. Another option is a wax worm rigged on gang hooks (this method is rather popular among Canadian anglers).
Trout fishermen often debate regarding baits for trout. Some of them neglect any kind of baits at all, while others strongly recommend applying these. Remember to get acquainted with fishing regulations established for the rivers or states you are going to fish in.