Posts Tagged ‘Guided Steelhead fishing’

With March here it won’t be long and it will be drop back season. After the Steelhead spawn in the Salmon River, New York they drop back down stream returning to Lake Ontario.  These fish have spent the last couple weeks spawning and need to feed heavily to regain there strength. This can be a very exciting time to fish the Salmon River.

One of the most popular ways to pursue these big hungry fish is pulling plugs from a drift boat. Lures such as hot shots and jointed Rapala’s are the most popular. I would recommend the jointed Brown Trout Rapala in size 11. This time of year you can see many of the guides rowing their drift boats through the deep holes pulling plugs.

If you want to fish plugs on the Salmon River but don’t have a drift boat or want to hire a guide there are a couple options. One is to use a small inline planner board such as a hot shot planner. These attach directly to your line and will take your lure out into the current. Depending on the brand you use you will most likely need 2 planners and switch based on what side of the river you are standing. It is always a good idea to have a couple extra in the truck just in case your line breaks and you loose one.

You will want a bait casting style reel and I would recommend using a heavy main line such as 15 pound test or a braided line. This way you will be less likely to lose your planner. You will then tie to a swivel from which you will want a 8 or 10 pound fluorocarbon leader. If the water is high (over 750 cfs) you can get away with a bit heavier leader line.  Your rod should be a 8 to 9 foot medium action casting or trolling rod.

Position yourself at the head of a pool or deep run. You will let the line out slowly keeping slight tension on it in order for the planner to work its way out into the current. Be prepared for a strike as your lure is running out into the current. Once the lure is out in the current you can let line out and reel in line to move the lure around in the hole. The other option is to let the lure hold in the current and take a step down stream every 15 to 30 seconds until the lure reaches the end of run. If you have a run to your self you should let the lure run through the hole then walk back to the top and start over with the lure further away from you.

Another option for fishing plugs on the Salmon River is to use a spinning rod and cast Rapala’s in the runs and pools. You will want to position yourself slightly upstream of where you would like to fish and cast just across just down stream of your position. Then reel your lure back to you against the current. You will want to be swinging lure across the pool. This will allow you to cover the most water possible. After you have made a few casts with out a strike take a step down stream and cast again. You will want to work the pools just as the Spey fisherman swinging flies do. You are essentially doing the same thing with a lure.  As with using a planner board you should start at the head of a pool and work your way to the tail out. This technique is especially effective for fishing slow deep pools where the planner board would be difficult to fish.

If you are unfamiliar with the Salmon River I highly recommend hiring a guide to take you down the river on a drift boat. This will allow you to learn which runs and pools hold fish this time of year. You will also see what lures the guides are using. You will likely also find that you have such a great time it is well worth the price of the guide. I have many repeat customers that feel the money it cost to hire me and use my gear is well worth it.

Weather or you choose to do it your self or hire a guide one thing is for sure, once you fish for drop back steelhead on the Salmon River you will want to come back year after year. These fish are aggressive and strike hard.  Good luck this spring and see you on the water.

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