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Low, Cold Water Steelhead - Follow the Trail with Steven Frambes

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