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Written by TV Ontario   
Friday, 09 June 1995
Article Index
Fish-On! - 2 - Rainbow Trout
The Fish - Size and Shape
The Fish - Markings
The Fish -Requirements
Habitat - Distribution
Habitat - Management
Seasonal Changes
Seasonal - Spawning
Seasonal - Fry to Smolt
Seasonal - Maturation
Equipment - Baits
Equipment - Spawn
Equipment - Tackle
Equipment - Rods and Reels
Equipment - Bobbers
Equipment - Lures
Equipment - Other Gear
Technique - Reading Water
Technique - Bait Fishing
Technique - Lure Fishing
Technique - Fly Fishing
Ethics and The Future

Lure Fishing

In lure fishing, the angler has the choice of using spoons, plugs, or spinners. Spoons are used mainly in the Great Lakes, in larger rivers, and at river mouths. Shore anglers cast them, boaters troll them. The techniques are similar to those used to catch Pacific salmon and lake trout, so you may refer to those sections in his book for details.

Weighted steelhead spinners are usually cast upstream or across to the fish and retrieved past them. In slow pools, they can even be used for downstream fishing. But the object is to place your spinner where the fish are, so fish accordingly. Try to be near bottom at all times. This means, of course, you will lose lots of spinners if you are fishing deep enough until you learn where all the snags are in the holding lies. Spinners should be retrieved fast enough to make the blades revolve.

Figure 2.7 In all methods, an angler has two choices of position from which to fish after spotting spawning steelhead in a riffle: upstream or downstream of the fish. Whichever he chooses, care must be taken not to spook the steelhead. The upstream approach is the safest. When about 30 feet from the fish, cast the spinner above them and retrieve it past their noses. Often, the male will hit immediately. If not, repetitive casting will eventually generate a strike. When using the downstream approach, the spinner is cast just upstream and to the side of fish, then allowed to swing in front of them. With this approach, you can let the spinner hang in front of the fish -- a really antagonizing method!

With time you'll learn which spinner is best for which condition. For example, the Colorado spinner is excellent for fishing downstream in large pools or runs. You may need to add some weight to get it to the bottom. Again, although you probably can't see steelhead in these lies, cast the spinner quartering downstream and let it swing across the pool. You do not need to actually retrieve it, just keep a tight line. The current will activate the blade. When the swing is complete, make a slow retrieve. Work progressively farther down the pool or run, covering all possible steelhead lies.

Figure 2.8In large slow pools and at river mouths, you can use the general cast-and-retrieve technique of fishing with plugs. They're also good for trolling in the Great Lakes, but they are most effective when used with the dropback technique. (Figure 2-8.)

A wading angler or a boat fisherman positions above a run or pool-holding steelhead. The wobbling plug is cast quartering or straight downstream, allowed to reach bottom, and then just held in place above fish in the current. By sweeping the rod back and forth, the lure covers an arc across the pool. After several minutes, four or five feet of line are released, letting the plug slip farther downstream. Again, the water is fished as before. This is a deadly technique, especially for sluggish winter steelhead that often take some time to make up their minds to strike.

Hot-shotting with a boat on larger steelhead rivers is a variation of this. Instead of anchoring, a motor or, more traditionally on the West Coast, oars are used to position above steelhead runs. A set amount of line is released to get the plug working near bottom. Then the oarsman or person controlling the motor does all the work by directing the craft so that the plug is placed in front of the fish. The direction may be sideways or downstream. It's absolute murder for big steelhead!

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