Friday, April 15, 2016

SELECTIVE STEELHEAD 'ON THE GRAB'...NOW IS THE TIME



I'm doing a small group corporate clinic on an up north MI river last few days on "Selective Nymphing for Spring Steelhead".Unfortunately, it is a very misunderstood and often abused aspect of our sport due to intentional "flossing/foul hooking" spawning-or near spawning fish. I was amazed to see how actively male and female steelhead, in a crystal clear spring creek close to Lake Michigan, started to zig zag /back-and-forth, as they gobbled emerging nymphs in the afternoon as early black stones and a few Hendrickson mayflies were emerging or crawling towards the banks in shallow gravel, as I perched up on an overhanging tree limb, I wish I had Spencer with his underwater cameras or my Gopro underwater tripod to capture this- it was amazing to watch!
My article two years ago in Fly Fisherman Magazine takes a deeper look at the subtleties of these feeding windows.

I love to swing flies as much as anyone -especially in fall/winter and late spring. But when our Potamodromous "rainbows/steelhead", which "eat, or go through the instinctive motions of such", and are" on the grab", it can be some of the most amazing nymphing you will encounter. But please use caution and don't cast to actively spawning fish, if you take photo opps, keep the female's tail high not to abort eggs, and release fish quickly

These fish are very A/A..aggressive active, and are fooled easily. Often your quick catch and release will make them passive and more spooked easily, thus saving them from the snagger/igloo cooler brigade that cares less about wild spawning steelhead and their success- sometimes you give them a survival chance by your minimal/educating intrusions into their wild world