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Tips for Fall Steelhead Success

Fall is officially here and the cool crisp air combined with the vivid colors in the fall foliage has me pumped. This is my favorite time of year and it always slips by too quickly! We have been chasing steelhead and trout on Oregon’s finest river the Deschutes lately and are looking ahead to winter steelhead season just around the corner.
While this year’s fish counts are down from normal for our summer/fall fisheries there are a few things worth mentioning when it comes down to making the most of your trip on the water. First, count on working hard for each fish; that means covering the water. Cast, swing, step repeat over and over…don’t miss a beat-the more water you cover the more success you will find. Second, swing with intent! What does that mean? Well, swing-it-like-you-mean-it! Get that fly moving and coming across the current with an even, smooth speed that carries all the way to the end of the swing. That means allowing a little bend in the line. The reason I say this is two fold- one, the water is still relatively warm and fish WILL move for it and second-
…don’t waste a steelhead encounter with a wimpy swing that only elicits a bump or a tenative grab that does not connect!
Lastly, make sure you capitalize on every grab you get-don’t yank the fly away from the fish. Don’t be caught swinging that rod in a hook set on the first little bump, wait for the fish to hook itself. It’s a process, a very critical process that requires you to respond well for success. Once you feel the heaviness of the fish solidly on the line, bend the rod towards the bank. Fish on and smiles all around!
Good luck on the water!

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