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Steelhead: West or East

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  • Steelhead: West or East

    Good article about Pacific and Great Lakes steelhead.
    https://www.themeateater.com/fish/fr...ally-steelhead


  • #2
    Good article Matt , my cousin who lived in Washington state for several years preferred the Pacific sea run Rainbows . I never caught one but I imagine I would be satisfied ( well satisfied ) with a eastern steelhead . It’s on my bucket list ! Thanks Matt

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post
      Good article Matt , my cousin who lived in Washington state for several years preferred the Pacific sea run Rainbows . I never caught one but I imagine I would be satisfied ( well satisfied ) with a eastern steelhead . It’s on my bucket list ! Thanks Matt
      The bucket list for me, too. I've caught a couple of steelhead on lake-fishing trips, but still haven't tried the tributary fishing.

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      • #4
        Interesting article Matt. Thanks for posting. I've got many happy memories from steelhead fishing on Lake Michigan. I enjoyed all aspects of fishing for them on that lake; from 25 miles off shore to deep in the streams and tributaries. What makes a steelhead for me is that it is a BIG rainbow (ocean or no ocean). I've caught many over 20 pounds. They are similar to silver salmon (i.e. "Coho") in the open water but they jump and change directions much more.

        It's easy to tell if you have a Coho or a Steelhead on the end of your line just by:

        a) the Coho's feel of a straight pull at 20 mph for 200 yards or

        b) The steelhead's changing direction every second (which feels like a jackhammer on the end of your line),

        c) In the streams, Cohos run for the deep water of the lake and steelheads go for the surface, east, west, up in the bushes, etc.

        The Skamania strain of steelhead are instantly identifiable. You know right away that you have have a "steelhead on crack"! They not only fight on the surface but they jump 3 feet in the air above the water and often do it five times in ten seconds.

        My opinion is that both east coast and west coast fishermen should be elated they have the opportunity to pursue this great eating fish and game fish. They put up a great fight and make some of the finest table fare you can imagine. I don't really know how one would distinguish the difference from one coast to the other because it seems every steelhead puts up his own unique fight. You never know what you will get. I've even had to track them down through the bushes on the shore line. And I swear, I must have had some Skamania that were air born for over five minutes before I got them to the net.
        Last edited by DakotaMan; 09-11-2021, 11:25 AM.

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        • #5
          We limited out on King Salmon out of Saugatuck, MI

          I believe we went out on the 'Best Chance' boats. We chartered 3 boats, each boat has 8 limits available.

          https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...mageHoverTitle
          Click image for larger version  Name:	earl guinn '84.jpg Views:	2 Size:	543.8 KB ID:	780011 Click image for larger version  Name:	roy anderson 1987.jpg Views:	2 Size:	114.1 KB ID:	780010
          Last edited by jhjimbo; 09-11-2021, 05:53 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MattM37 View Post

            The bucket list for me, too. I've caught a couple of steelhead on lake-fishing trips, but still haven't tried the tributary fishing.
            I've never caught a steelhead from a river.
            A few years back a friend invited me up to fish the salmon river. The temperature was 4 with winds and lake affect snow , i fished for 3 hours tops. It was the worst fishing experience of my life.
            I even had trouble using my key to unlock my truck. Never again!!!!!!!!!

            I do not recommend winter steelhead fishing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Danbo View Post

              I do not recommend winter steelhead fishing.
              Your comment brought a smile to my face Danbo. Winter steely fishing is tough indeed. Only the obsessive fishermen will be found on the shores, trying to survive the frozen tundra in the dead of winter. For 17 years while I lived in the Chicago area, January would find me on the shores of the quarter mile long Commonwealth Edison power plant cooling water exhaust stream. It was the only open water for miles and it was filled with bait fish. Steelhead trout and Coho salmon would come from miles around to feast in this stream. If you could figure out how to tie a fly on 4 pound tippets in -10 degree 25 mph winds you had a chance. You couldn't tear me away. I'd rig up my two 11 foot noodle rods before I left the house and if I lost a fly, I'd have to walk a quarter of a mile to get in the car to warm up in order to tie on a new fly.

              I ran a brown wooly worm five feet ahead of a 2 ounce pencil sinker with 350 yards of 6 pound backing line. I'd cast upstream across the 20 mph current and let the sinker bounce across the rocky bottom as the current swept the line downstream. The steelies ran around 15-25 pounds and landing one would make your day. I'd fish from sunup until dark many a day. I can always remember constantly thinking... "This will be my last cast!" and then WHAM. I would have a steely skyrocket out of the water, zipping up and down the stream for a half hour before I could land him. That would warm me up and keep me going for another hour.

              Those noodle rods would flex so much that the big fish could not break even 4 pound line but it would take forever to land one in that current. The steelheads would zip up and down the stream but the Cohos would zip almost a quarter mile out into the lake before I could land them.

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              • #8
                I have been to Pulaski but not in 4 deg temps.

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                • #9
                  The east coast fish are more fished at than the west coast fish. I lived within 9 miles of Pulaski's Salmon River but could never fish it because of the constant crowds of people on the river. People use incredibly light gear in the east. My first encounter with an Alaskan steelhead ended with the fish breaking off my 8 lb test tippet on the take. I use 14 lb test now for Alaskan Steelhead. I've caught them to 40 inches in Alaska on a flyrod, but never caught one back east.
                  Last edited by labrador12; 09-16-2021, 12:58 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by labrador12 View Post
                    ... People use incredibly light gear in the east. My first encounter with an Alaskan steelhead ended with the fish breaking off my 8 lb test tippet on the take. I use 14 lb test now for Alaskan Steelhead. I've caught them to 40 inches in Alaska on a flyrod, but never caught one back east.
                    The light gear is just for the challenge, lab. The 11 foot long noodle rods I use make it tough for any fish to break the line just by jerking it. I always use several hundred yards of backing. In the lake, from a boat,I can follow them if necessary. In the rivers, the steelhead seem to want to run up and down the river so much that they seldom pull out more than about 100 yards of backing. I have been spooled many a time by big Cohos and Kings though in the rivers.

                    One of my luckiest catches was about a 32 pound King salmon that pulled almost all my backing out and was making a big loop, circling back for the dock upon which I was standing. The drag of the several hundred yards of 6 lb line being pulled in a circle was enough to break the leader without even bending my rod. To my surprise, just as the leader broke, the fish swam by me right in front of the dock. I reached out with the net and netted the fish while it was still cruising at about 20 mph. I was able to recover my fly even though the leader had broken.

                    You can't do this in areas where river fisherman are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, but if you are out in the open it's fun. I even fish streamer flies on this rig 50 feet behind downriggers 30-100 feet deep to get hookups on this rig. I rarely have a broken line but it does take a lot of fishing time to reel one in.

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                    • #11
                      I've never fished anythi g but ocean run salmon. Kings and silvers.
                      Kings run hard and dig deep, but they don't last long. They burn out pretty quick.
                      The silvers don't last long either but they run short distances and jump sometimes.
                      I'd rather catch kings than silvers, but I'll take what ever hits! 😃!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                        I've never fished anythi g but ocean run salmon. Kings and silvers.
                        Kings run hard and dig deep, but they don't last long. They burn out pretty quick.
                        The silvers don't last long either but they run short distances and jump sometimes.
                        I'd rather catch kings than silvers, but I'll take what ever hits! 😃!
                        My cousin got back from the Alaska trip I was invited on. Haven’t spoke with him yet but his wife told my wife he brought back so much salmon and cod they’d be sick of it shortly.

                        Sounds like we’re getting a care package 😎👍

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fitch270 View Post

                          My cousin got back from the Alaska trip I was invited on. Haven’t spoke with him yet but his wife told my wife he brought back so much salmon and cod they’d be sick of it shortly.

                          Sounds like we’re getting a care package 😎👍
                          Marinate the salmon overnight in Teriyaki sauce and chopped up onion.
                          Place salmon, skin side down on tin foil and place over a hot, charcoal fire.
                          Be sure and grill more salmon than needed.
                          Enjoy!
                          I like to strain all the onion bits out of the marinade and place it on top of the salmon while it cooks. AWESOME!

                          Crumble leftover salmon in a bowl and add minced onion. Add 1 egg and enough flour to make a patty. Coat with Panko bread crumbs and pan fry. 😋🥰

                          The grilled salmon is awesome! The patties made from the grilled salmon are about a "G" on a scale of 1 to 10.

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                          • #14
                            My sister-in-law has a cousin who lived alone in the Alaskan bush, sounds like a life right out of one of the TV shows, Last Alaskans or what not, who used to send us a big package of smoked salmon jerky every year. That stuff was great. Just packed with flavor, and way more sustaining through a long day of hunting than plain old beef jerky.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
                              My sister-in-law has a cousin who lived alone in the Alaskan bush, sounds like a life right out of one of the TV shows, Last Alaskans or what not, who used to send us a big package of smoked salmon jerky every year. That stuff was great. Just packed with flavor, and way more sustaining through a long day of hunting than plain old beef jerky.
                              Mine is a bit of a foodie and a good cook. He’s very adept with his smoker so I’m sure he’ll have a batch of salmon done before very long.

                              Comment

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