IMG 0469Best bait

If you had to pick only one bait and presentation for the entire steelhead season, what would you pick?

Keep in mind, the season spans low water, high water, slushy water, “hard” water, and weather conditions that can challenge the best steelhead angler.

Whatever you pick may not be your favorite bait, but it is the one you rely on when you need to catch a steelhead.  This bait is one that can be fished when the fishing is so slow that you are nearly ready to pack it in for the day.   This is the bait that you use to wait out the slow times and feel confident you will get a fish when the steelhead start biting again.

First, the universal presentation must be spinning tackle.  Fly angling is special, but it does require a fixed type of weather and water conditions.

Two baits immediately come to mind – egg sac or jig.  If I had to pick one, it would be an egg sac.  I decided to pick an egg sac because I am inclined to feed rather than fool passive fish. 

The jig is universal bait for all seasons and conditions.  You can adjust size, color and type.  It fishes well in low water and down an ice hole.  I have proved that statement to myself many times; however, when I need to spend hours waiting for the next feeding cycle, I prefer to feed the reluctant steelhead.

pattern2The other reason for picking an egg sac is the ability to bottom fish, nap and solve the world’s problems with a gabby neighbor on the pier or someone fishing adjacent to me along a tributary. With one cast, you can be in a fishy location and expend little or no additional energy.   Anglers who fish all day conserve energy during the slow times, carry comfortable seating, they pack a big lunch and have endless patience.  

Another plus is there is no need to adjust your drift.  The steelhead come to the bait rather than the other way around.  Try that with a jig.