There is no other feeling that equals the sheer excitement of hooking into and landing or releasing a steelhead trout. If you are looking to increase your chances of hooking into a steelhead, below are a few techniques that might work for you:
1: Some steelhead fishermen will say that the best way to fish for them is to drift the tail-out of pools. This is where steelies like to be located because the water is a little more shallow and they can intercept anything that comes their way. When drifting, bounce your lure or fly along the bottom and be sure to set the hook at the slightest change in the speed or feel of the line. Using this technique will cause you to sometimes snag something like a rock or log but if you are persistent and patient, your efforts will be rewarded with a hook-up with many call the ultimate fresh water game fish!
2: Sometimes a lure that is moving or brightly colored is enough to entice the strike of a steelhead. When fishing from a drift boat, many fishermen prefer to use spin and glow lures which have both movement and bright color. Don't be afraid to change things up if a certain color or lure isn't producing.
3: If you are lucky enough to find a pool or spot that produces a hookup with a steelhead, and you have released it, don't give up on the spot just yet. Many times a steelie will strike again if you rest the spot for about 15 minutes or so. Steelhead are at times very aggressive and will not let anything go by them.
4: Any successful angler will tell you that when you have hooked a fresh steelhead, it will do anything in it's power to get un-hooked. They will most certainly leap out of the water twisting and turning to get free. An experienced steelheader will know when the steelhead is about to jump so they can be ready to "bow to the fish" with the tip of their rod so the line doesn't break. If you forget to do this, you might lose the one steelie of the day.
5: Study the water you are going to fish and try to pick out the likely holding areas where steelhead will be. Fishing every piece of water that looks good is going to very tiring and probably a waste of valuable time. Once you have located a holding area, study it well and look for other spots on the water that look similar. Once you have found a good location, fish it as much as you can during the steelhead season as the winter water levels, ice and current can dramatically change the bottom of the river thus removing a steelheads favorite holding area.
6: Even if you are an experienced steelheader, know how to read the water and have all your own flys and lures, hiring a local guide could be the best thing you ever do. He or she will have intimate knowledge of the river, the holding areas and also what lures or flys to use to maybe contribute to the best steelhead fishing adventure you have ever had!