Jig - best time to fish one
Jig season? When the catching is good, steelhead hit on just about any bait; however, some presentations work better at specific times during the season. The lead head jig is a presentation that proves my point.
A cold, north wind makes for uncomfortable steelhead fishing, but it signals the start of the fall, jig fishing bite. I am not sure why steelhead seem to avoid jigs early in the season, but it is my experience that they do. Once water and air temperature get cold, steelhead begin a jig bite that lasts throughout the fall - winter - spring. The good thing about fishing jigs is they level the playing field for all anglers. Your skill level is not a factor. If you can cast to the spot holding the active steelhead, you will get bit. No special talent is required. The bite is obvious and hookups are easy. Yes, once in a while the fish produce a bite that is hard to recognize, but those types of hits are rare. When a steelhead wants a jig, you will know it. The float disappears!
Okay, I know what you are thinking - how do you get in on this action?
Where to fish does not change. The pods of steelhead have modified their food preference, but not the type of water they prefer. That makes answering the where to fish question an easy. What jig to fish question is harder to answer. Here are my jig fishing rules.
Rule #1 - a black jig works most of the time.
Rule #2 - fish whatever jig color is catching fish.
Rule #3 - sometimes fish quit hitting so be patient and persistent.
I prospect likely looking water with a small black jig when the stream water is normal in color and flow. In clear and low water, I like a small green/white version. My brown/white jig always gets a turn in the jig rotation, when I am looking for the best color version of the day. White jigs get a ride in my fly box. I only use white when I see an angler catch two or more steelhead on white. Still waiting for the day when white works best!
I carry multiple copies of these jigs in 1/80, 1/64 and 1/32 ounce versions. I also carry a variety of jigs that are one hit wonders.