Blown Out!

by Outdoor Blog Network on January 15, 2011

It happens often during the northwest winter steelhead season, the words die hard fisherman hate to hear, especially when time off is hard to come by. BLOWN OUT! Our weekend fishing trip had taken a quick turn for the worse as rain pounded the local rivers for more than 48 straight hours turning the rivers to a mucky mess, and putting surrounding homes on a flood watch.
After a quick glimpse at the river gauges just to double check, I sent the text message to cancel the day trip.

It was one of those days today where you dont really even want to leave the couch. The rain pounded the windows, it’s cold, and a thick fog covered the valley. Kind of depressing really.
So, what does a guy do when he is locked up inside this time of year? Tie yarnballs! You can never have to many, as you always seem to lose to many. A football playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens was on t.v, and I had a cold beer, and my steelhead gear layed in front of me.

A good day to take inventory and catch up on my leader tying. Having pre tied leaders is invaluable while on the water. The longer your fishing, the more fish you’ll catch! True story!

I fish yarn balls most of the time for winter steelhead. There inexpensive to make, they last for many consecutive drifts, they come in bright attractive colors, they hold scent well, and there one of the few things i’ve found that drift well in our western rivers while side drifting out of a drift boat.

I’ve been asked many times how I tie yarnballs, and the truth is, it all starts with an egg loop knot first. Here I will demonstrate how I tie these steelhead rigs, there are many variations, but this way works the best for me.

I will be using Hi-Vis line as well so it’s easier for you to see. Start with a 2ft to 3ft leader. Take the tag end of the leader and run it through the eye of the hook just past the bend of the hook.

Next, take the long end of the leader and make 10 wraps around both the hook and tag end of the leader.

With the line tight so your wraps dont come undone, take the end of the leader and go back through the hook 3 to 4 inches.

Here is where your fingers will start to get cramped. With the line still tight from your previous 10 loops around the hook, go back over the line and the hook another 10 times.

Keep the line tight around the hook! I like to pinch the wraps around the hook, then pull the tag end closest to the eye of the hook tight. The loose line will begin to come snug to the hook. Just be sure there is no kinks or knots as the line goes through. Clip the tag end of the line by the bend of the hook.

Here is your finished egg loop. This picture is shown with the egg loop loose ready for yarn, eggs, shrimp, worms or whatever else you would like to fish. Next comes the yarn. Cut 3 to 4 pieces of 1 inch yarn and place it centered through the egg loop.  Glo bug yarn works best as it is thick and stays full in the water.  Using more than one color also adds more realism.

Pull the leader tight and the yarn will become snug in the loop.

A good way to ensure that the yarn ball becomes round, is to pinch it with your thumb and index finger and cut around it. Do this from the top, then pinch from the bottom and both sides to ensure that the yarn ball is round.

Cut off and frayed ends, and you now have an effective steelhead rig.

Add a corky or puff ball on the line to ensure your presentation stays off the bottom, and your ready to fish.

I hope this has helped some people. It can be deadly when fished properly. If fishing eggs or sandshrimp, just simply remove the yarn and you still have an egg loop to fish with!

Tight Lines!


Low, Cold Water Steelhead

by Steven Frambes on February 13, 2009

Yet another Northwest winter is upon us.  Dark and rainy days, wind, snow, chilling temperatures and even some more rain…and of course…STEELHEAD!!!


Although I’ve seen my fair share of better years for winter Steelhead fishing, there is still Steelhead to be had in most coastal rivers throughout the west.  However, with the recent lack of rain and dropping river levels, adjusting your presentation is going to be a must to be successful.

Try downsizing your leader to 8lb (6lb if in a smaller than normal river) If you’ve never fought bigger fish on lighter line, adjusting the tension on your drag is going to be necessary.  Along with this, I have also trimmed down the clusters of roe i am drifting to penny size, sometimes even dime size.  For you jig and float fisherman, the same rules apply.  Cold clear water often times mean lazy lethargic fish. Although they are lazy, they are not stupid.  I’ve also found pulling plugs to be effective lately, often enticing a bite from an annoyed fish.


For bank fisherman, dress as if you were hunting fish.  Wear clothing that blends in and that breaks up your silhouette.  Stick with the more neutral colors of clothing.  With my experience the past few days, I think the best piece of advice i can give my fellow northwest Steelhead fisherman, is to get out of the house and go tear up some water.  You cant catch fish if your not fishing!  Don’t be afraid to try new presentations or baits. Get out and see what works for you on your local water.


Feel free to comment on what has worked for you lately or post pictures of your recent catches.

Good fishing!

Steven Frambes


Coastal Steelhead

January 9, 2008

Headed out this weekend in the middle of the rain and 30 mph winds along the Oregon coast in hopes of just seeing a steelhead jump. The day started out perfect, while I landed this 13 pound hen on the first cast.  It must have been my lucky day because a few casts later, I […]

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The Ultimate Outdoorsman's Trip

December 14, 2007

We headed over to the Steens mountains in southeastern Oregon for a week long break from the city life. The plan was to thin the coyote population out a bit, and hopefully get into close enough range to capture some great photos of big muleys, bighorn sheep, and antelope. Arriving at our hunting/camp spot, we […]

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Rainy Day Roosevelts

November 20, 2007

On November 17th, Brady Smith capped off his impressive hunting season with this magnificent 8×6 Roosevelt bull elk during Oregon’s 2nd coastal elk season. Brady parked his truck along a skid road and began walking into his hunting spot at first light. Walking on the skid road in the pouring down rain for no longer […]

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Blacktails at the Buzzer

October 31, 2007

Wow, what a season it has been. I entered the 2007 deer season with a distinct goal in mind. A goal that seemed hard to reach, yet not impossible. My goal was to harvest a very mature and good representative of a blacktail deer. If you have never hunted blacktails before, I highly suggest doing […]

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