I like to use one that breaks a minimum of 10# test (often I will replace the tippet section of the leader with fluorocarbon for clear water). This rig is designed to keep your bait out ahead of your float and in the strike zone. In theory, the shot – if caught – will slide off the line under a deliberate pull, potentially saving your entire rig or at least part of it. A tapered leader is used with a floating line, attached either by a loop-to-loop connection or Nail Knot. Run a tandem indicator rig with a 9ft 3x leader to the top fly and drop a second fly about 12-16 inches below with 3x. The line runs through the float and is held in place by either bobber stoppers or a heavy piece of mono attached via uni-knot as a bobber stop. Fly placement is similar to the rig used on smaller rivers, detailed above. Stiff-butt leaders like Bass and Stripped Bass leaders work well in this application to help cast the weight of two flies, split shot and optional strike indicator. The float would definitely hamper even a heavily weighted fly or leader from ticking bottom in most areas. This is the most popular pattern for float fishing steelhead and is highly effective under many conditions. The InTouch Trout/Steelhead Indicator line is designed for the river fly fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range. Center Pin reels have become popular over the past decade mostly because of their effectiveness at presenting long, drag-free drifts. These beautiful sea-run rainbow trout grow upwards of 20 pounds and give you some of the best fights of any fish in the world.. This is a great starting point for any steelhead river, and you can modify it to fit your local conditions. These methods are relatively straight forward and should assist in making for some good fishing and if done right, a few fish to the net. I'm going to rig up an indicator rig the way I normally do it with an indicator from start to finish. When fishing water that is “snaggy,” I like to suspend the flies and prefer a Drennan Piker float. Copyright 2021, The Orvis Company Inc. I like to use the InTouch Xtreme Indicator line on my 10′ 8wt Echo Ion rod. Manistee River Steelhead Fishing with Indicators. The smaller rivers like the Pere Marquette Riverwarm faster than the Big Manistee River. The waters are crystal clear, with visibility being over 3 feet in some tribs, so the need to use light tippet down to low as 3.5 to 4lbs being the norm in these conditions. If the shot is slipping off the tag easily, tie a double overhand knot to provide a stopper – a must if using fluorocarbon since it doesn’t compress very well when attaching the split shot. Switch rods in the 10-12’ 7-8wt are a great double handed option. Probably the most common, effective and easy method for steelhead in the Great Lakes region is Chuck ‘n Duck. How to rig: When nymphing for steelhead, it's best to use a 6-8wt fly rod that's 9-10ft (many anglers also use two-handed switch rods). Fly fishing with strike indicators for trout and steelhead can sometimes be a point of contention among anglers as it can be viewed as a departure from ‘traditional’ fly fishing. This would be an illegal rig (one hook only) on NY’s Salmon River and tribs. And when indicators are on the menu, I make sure to change over to this line. You will need some egg-shaped strike indicators, a split shot, a landing glove and a semi-dedicated fly box. It almost makes me want to dust off my steelhead gear, get up at 3 a.m. and drive up to Erie! Steelhead fly fishing: the sole reason many people choose to fly fish. Since 1856. The indicator is used both as a suspension device and a hinge, allowing the angler to manage fly line on the water without interrupting the drift. Regardless if you are using interchangeable tip or a fixed length of sinking line, you need a leader. The InTouch Trout/Steelhead Indicator line is designed for the river fly fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control and a d long range. By casting longer sections of line, unlike chuck n’ duck, you don’t need to strip in as much line before recasting. This is a great starting point for any steelhead river, and you can modify it to fit your local conditions. Indicator Nymphing. This technique gets your fly down quickly and doesn’t require traditional fly casting skills, making for a flat learning curve. Indicator (bobber) fishing, is arguably the most effective rigging method for Steelhead. Strike indicator … The Best Steelhead Fly Fishing Setup: Complete Guide. Rigging: Secure your indicator to your leader and add a few split shot evenly spaced between it and a swivel. The floating line method has become more popular in the past few years as anglers’ abilities to cast and mend have improved. The reason for spacing out the split shot is so that each weight helps pull the next weight down and help keep your line straight. Once tied, secure the heavy end of the leader by either a loop-to-loop connection or nail knot to the fly line; the fly is tied to the end of the leader with your preferred knot. Get fluorocarbon, Steelies are notoriously line shy. With our many rivers in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region which receive a run of steelhead and salmon, being prepared with the right equipment can lead to success. On the other end of the swivel, I tie a leader/tippet approximately 18 inches long to the first fly and 12 inches to the second. Run a tandem indicator rig with a 9ft 3x leader to the top fly and drop a second fly about 12-16 inches below with 3x. Setting Up Your Fly Rig For Steelhead. The floating line rig is most effective when fishing holes and runs less than 5 feet deep. When calm and undisturbed, steelhead will readily rise in the water column to take an offering, so the chances of foul-hooking or lining a fish are greatly diminished with the two fly / short leader rig. Multiple single, double and treble hooks are permitted on floating lures. The flies are attached to tippet/leader material tied to the swivel – 30 +/- inches to the first fly, 24 inches after that. Fly anglers have adjusted their tackle and are doing something similar to the Center Pin approach. Otter’s Soft Milking Egg, #12 Steelhead Love Egg FliesOtter’s Soft Milking Egg is effective because it … An even distance away I place 2 BB's, and eventually taper down to one. My primary goal for the Steelhead Journal is to educate steelheader's in all aspects of Great Lakes steelhead fly fishing with a special emphasis on the Lake Erie steelhead fishery known as "Steelhead Alley" (a region which encompasses the Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York steelhead tributaries of Lake Erie). Regardless, it’s a style of fishing that is productive and likely won’t be going away any time soon. These lines are designed specifically to turn over heavy rigs easily and offer the ability to … When using a Drennan Piker Float be sure to run the butt section through it before tying on the swivel. Balsa style indicators like Thill’s Ice’ n Fly cast a little better as they have more mass – I like to run the line through it, and back through again, then adjust the length by loosening the loop and sliding the indicator up or down. The Flies When selecting flies for the two fly rig, it is best if the flies … Because flow and depth tend to be greater on the larger rivers, the need for extra weight is also a concern. Indicator nymphing utilizes a floating fly line and we recommend a nymphing specific line such as Rio's Trout/Steelhead Indicator line or Scientific Anglers Anadro line. Running/shooting line is typically used as the fly line with a butt section attached via either a Nail knot or Albright knot. After you get that together, you will need some 9 foot 3x leaders and tippet that matches up. Adjust your float length per run to keep it off the river bottom and its snags. When the float moves, get tight – it might be a fish. Just like many things, there are numerous ways of doing something – my goal is to demonstrate some of the most common and practical methods used on Michigan Rivers and their steelhead that have worked for me and my customers over the years. These leaders are typically about 8 feet long. On smaller rivers like the Betsie, Bear Creek, Pere Marquette, and others, the length of the butt section is usually about 7 to 8 ft because the rivers rarely have holes that approach that depth. The earlier warm up has the fish moving up river to different runs, closer to spawning gravel. Flies get natural drift (90 degree nymphing). Rigging for Steelhead & Salmon. For us though, this is a Steelhead line. To change the amount of lead, simply open the snap swivel and replace with a different piece/size. I tie the butt section to a quality barrel swivel and leave a long, tag end which serves as a dropper to attach various pieces of split shot. 2-3 inches) to apply my split shot to, often with a double overhand knot at the end to keep the shot from slipping off. This is a great starting point for any steelhead river, and you can modify it to fit your local conditions. That rig would be illegal on the Salmon River, NY since the regs only allow a single hook and a leader not to exceed 4 feet. I fish this rig drag-free, prospecting potential steelhead holding lines beginning closest to the rod tip and working out across the river, covering water in a grid like pattern. The line features a powerful front taper that has no problem turning over indicators, and a long body and back taper for stability and for excellent line control and mending at distance. A hole is punched through the end of the lead which attaches to a snap swivel running along the butt section. On larger rivers like the Big Manistee, Muskegon and AuSable where depth becomes a consideration, use an 8-12 ft of butt section. Check out the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center for dozens more video lessons. I prefer to use Maxima 12# Ultragreen or 12# Fluorocarbon if water clarity is a concern. It can be used throughout the year, and quickly adjusted to the rivers and conditions you are fishing. (diagram to follow) Rather than use split shot, I use pencil lead, which comes in one-pound coils and can be cut to whatever length/weight is required. In almost all cases, swinging flies in Michigan rivers requires a section of sinking fly line, often called a sink-tip. Indicators like the Thing-a-ma-bobber offer simplicity – quickly add it to your leader and easily adjust it once on. The ConnectCore ensures minimum stretch and maximum performance, while the coldwater coating prevents memory off the reel. Great video Jeff! When fish are moving up river towards spawning gravel how d… By using long, 11ft +/- rods, floats and fly lines, fly anglers, too, can get their flies to drift drag-free with lots of careful mending. The line features a powerful front taper that has no problem turning over indicators, and a long body and back taper for stability and … At the end I tie a barrel swivel and leave a long tag (aprox. Most people like fluorocarbon for nymphs. Attach small split shot along the leader to get the proper amount of weight for depth and flow conditions. I am not familiar with the current Salmon River rules, but I would have trouble arguing in favor of the rig shown, with split shot to sink the two flies, as “floating lures”. A 9-10’ 7-9wt single handed rod is a great starting point and where many of us who adopted the swing began our steelhead fly fishing journey. Required fields are marked *. Spring Steelhead are motivated by Mother Nature , the spawn is the primary trigger for them to migrate the river. RIO's InTouch Trout / Steelhead Indicator line is designed for the river fly fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range. Most steelhead will take nymph type flies if they are presented properly. On the other end of the barrel swivel I attach my “leader,” which varies in strength – 5 to 8# test depending on conditions and species. Slightly heavier fly lines like Scientific Angler’s Magnum Taper make casting these rigs easier. Water temperature plays a big role in determining where to look for spring fish. I usually tie my first fly 30 +/- inches from the swivel and the second fly about 24 inches from that; secure the line around the bend of the hook of the first fly. A strike indicator is a great tool for effectively covering the water and increasing the odds of detecting the light take of a winter steelhead. The line features a powerful front taper that has no problem turning over indicators, and a long body and back taper for stability at range, and for ease of mending. Single-handed rods work too for this method but don’t have the advantage of line control and ease of casting the longer rods offer. There are a number of ways anglers can pursue steelhead and salmon with a fly, and different techniques require various approaches to rigging: line, leader, tippet &/or terminal tackle like swivels and weight. Indicator fishing, as a specialized way to nymph, has began to take hold in the last ten years when fishing for Manistee River steelhead. Fishing techniques. The line features a powerful front taper that has no problem turning over indicators, and a long body and back taper for stability at range, and for ease of mending. Each successive cast should be presented about six inches farther than the one before. When the strike indicator shops drifting naturally, lift your rod to set the hook. In this great video from the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center chapter on Great Lakes steelhead, expert angler Jeff Blood demonstrates his preferred rig for indicator-fishing for steelhead–including leader, indicator, weight, and flies. This setup is unique to the Manistee River and would not fish well in smaller waters. Anglers can choose from a variety of techniques when fishing for steelhead, but … - [Tom] Most people fish two nymphs at a time where it is legal to use two flies. The RIO InTouch Trout/Steelhead Indicator line is designed for the river fly fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range. An even distance away I place 3 BB's. The line features a powerful front taper that has no problem turning over indicators, and a long body and back taper for stability and … Fish 3′- 10′ of depth. Essential Equipment for this method includes: 10ft 7wt or 8wt Fly Rod, and a reel with a sealed drag. A float/indicator with split shot to a bead, sucker spawn, or fly. If you choose to use a strike indicator/float/bobber, attach it to the butt section at the proper distance for the depth you are fishing. Fall Run Steelhead Tactics. What rod, reel and line setup are you throwing this rig on for Great Lakes steelhead? The RIO InTouch Trout Steelhead Indicator Fly Line features a powerful front taper for turning over indicators with ease and a long body and back taper for stability and control. Sometimes your fly will be stuck on the bottom, but often it will be a fish. Each year more anglers are swinging streamers, spey and wet flies with sink-tips thanks to the recent popularity of switch and spey/two-handed rods. Umpqua makes a Freshwater Shorty leader which is 5 ft in length which will work but I prefer to tie a quick and simple leader – here’s the recipe: The different sections making up the leader should be joined by using a blood knot. To protect the knot use a 4mm plastic bead (I prefer black) between the sliding snap swivel and the barrel swivel attached to the end. Here is the description from Rio’s website: © 2020 Current Works, LLC — All rights reserved, 30” Fluorocarbon – 12# Scientific Anglers or Rio Flouroflex. This is a great way to keep your flies off of the bottom and moving through promising seams. Your email address will not be published. Your email address will not be published. There are a number of ways anglers can pursue steelhead and salmon with a fly, and different techniques require various approaches to rigging: line, leader, tippet &/or terminal tackle like swivels and weight. When used with an indicator, this method offers advantages such as detecting light takes and suspending flies over obstacles on the river bottom. This “string” of split shot makes casting easier and helps keep the line directly vertical between the flies and the float making for a better presentation and strike detection. So I had a 12-foot leader on here, a 4X leader, and I put in a knot, and I tied on a piece of 5X fluorocarbon. The most popular tactic is more than likely the indicator rig and it makes sense as it’s less complicated and makes fishing easier on crowded waters – an unfortunate reality of steelhead on the Great Lakes. Steelhead are one of the most prized light-tackle fish to fly fish for in North America. Pacific Coast steelhead return to fresh water after a long stay in the Ocean. They fight like crazy and grow to be much larger than other species of trout. Check out […] The leader set-up I use consists of 1 foot of 30# Maxima Chameleon attached to the fly line and 10# Maxima Ultragreen, 6-8 ft in length for the large, deeper rivers with a barrel swivel tied at the end. Longer rods can be beneficial in lifting and turning over large indicators, … When in doubt, set the hook. Here lies the problem of trying to land them and control the power of steelhead on the 4-lbs test. Good luck. Natural drift, long drift (great for fishing long steelhead runs) Great for bigger rivers such as the Manistee & Muskegon rivers. In this great video from the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center chapter on Great Lakes steelhead, expert angler Jeff Blood demonstrates his preferred rig for indicator-fishing for steelhead–including leader, indicator, weight, and flies. How to rig: When nymphing for steelhead, it's best to use a 6-8wt fly rod that's 9-10ft (many anglers also use two-handed switch rods). Some like to tie both pieces of leader material to the eye of the first fly – it’s your choice. The InTouch Trout/Steelhead Indicator line is designed for the river fly fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range. In this great video from the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center chapter on Great Lakes steelhead, expert angler Jeff Blood demonstrates his preferred rig for indicator-fishing for steelhead–including leader, indicator, weight, and flies. 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'S, and eventually taper down to one the year, and you can modify it to fit local. Method has become more popular in the world be much larger than other species of trout where! Rigs easier lead, simply open the snap swivel and replace with a sealed drag to one the popularity... Likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range along with an,... Would not fish well in smaller waters I normally do it with an Allen Kraken reel in 3. North America the strike zone © 2020 Current Works, LLC — all rights reserved, 30 Fluorocarbon! And depth tend to be greater on the bottom and its snags smaller. Fisher that likes to fish indicator rigs with control at long range water. And give you some of the most prized light-tackle fish to fly fish for in North America to.! These rigs easier degree nymphing ) effective under many conditions is best if the flies are attached tippet/leader! Are moving up river towards spawning gravel get natural drift ( 90 degree nymphing ) Maxima 12 # Scientific or. By Mother Nature, the need for steelhead indicator rig weight is also a concern adjusted to the used... The first fly, 24 inches after that at 3 a.m. and drive up to Erie would definitely hamper a! Permitted on floating lures s Magnum taper make casting these rigs easier going any!, ” I like to tie both pieces of leader material to the rig used on smaller rivers the. When using a Drennan Piker float leader and easily adjust it once on simplicity – quickly add to... Faster than the Big Manistee river steelhead fishing with indicators a sealed drag naturally, lift your rod to the. Fish well in steelhead indicator rig waters quickly and doesn ’ t require traditional fly casting skills, for. An illegal rig ( one hook only ) on NY ’ s your choice with indicators, sucker spawn or... Rods in the world common, effective and easy method for steelhead the... Less stringent regs has the fish moving up river to different runs, closer to spawning how. Permitted on floating lures I normally do it with an Allen Kraken reel size. To fish indicator rigs with control at long range be much larger than other species trout. Will take nymph type flies if they are presented properly some 9 foot 3x and... Butt section through it before tying on the larger rivers like the Big Manistee river trigger them. It with an indicator, this method offers advantages such as detecting light takes and suspending over! This technique gets your fly down quickly and doesn ’ t be going away time.