Cold Weather Steelhead Fishing

Well it is a new year now and we have been dealing with cold weather for over a month and I have noticed while out on the river that some Fishermen are still using their same Steelhead fishing tactics. This made me think that it may be a good time to write an article about cold weather fishing. This time of year can be quite productive if you change your tactics just a little. This article is for those of us that enjoy being out on our favorite river even though the weather has turned cold. One of the reasons I enjoy this time of year is that most of the time you can have the river or stream to yourself, its not hard to find a nice secluded spot to enjoy the river or stream.

The main thing to remember when fishing in cold weather is to dress appropriately you can not enjoy your self if you are cold! You should also be aware of the unique challenges that cold weather presents. You guides on your pole will freeze waxing you guides helps put there is know way to completely stop this from happening. Walking along the bank of the river can be treacherous, when ever possible I will kick some sand or gravel out onto the bank giving just a little more traction to the frozen bank.

Cold weather steelhead fishing is going to be tougher than when you were fishing in late October the water temperature has cooled down and so has the fishing. However with a few simple changes to your fishing tactics you will still be able to catch some nice fish. Remember to us smaller baits, lures, and jigs. The water this time of year is normally crystal clear and cold making the steelhead just that much harder to entice into taking your hook. The smaller baits and lures are less likely to spook the steelhead and they are also more likely to hit smaller baits this time of year. I prefer to use the paler colors this time of year however I think this is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. Use slow presentations due to the fact that the fish will be less active, move a little further up into the hole the steelhead hold hear now because it takes less energy for them to hold in the current. Fish some of the deeper holes that you know the steelhead now are in a holding pattern and are looking for places that offer the some security and where they do not need to spend much energy to stay in the holes. Use lighters lines and just enough wait so that you feel the bottom every once in a while the steelhead are even more likely to be right on the bottom this time of year.

You can further your success by paying close attention to the weather and moon phases as mentioned in a previous article the weather and phases of the moon. As these two factors have a major impact on the way fish react and their activity during the day. Most of all be patent the steelhead have slowed down and it takes just that much more time to provoke a response from them. Don’t expect to be able to hook into one with every cast you may have to drift buy them a dozen or more times before they decide to strike.


So stay warm and enjoy the experience, and may you have a great New Year Fishing!

BY: RR Smith