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Lake Erie Steelhead Fishing Techniques

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Lake Erie Steelhead Fishing Techniques

Lake Erie’s central basin has proven has proven to be a gold mine for catching trophy steelhead trout. If you plan to visit in search of Lake Erie steelhead, many fishermen suggest fishing from May through the end of October.

A local fishing guide from Wall Hanger Charters explained steelhead trolling techniques, saying, ” We can run planer boards out the side of the boat and run ten lines off these boards. The jet drives can go down 10 to 50 plus feet depending on the length of the line. In the spring, we are typically running 10 jets back 30 to 40 foot leads in 20 foot of water with worm harnesses and flutter type spoons, the baits of choice. We also run crank baits at this time of year, typically back 100 feet.”

He went on to explain mid-season fishing, explaining, “As the water warms, and summer is upon us, we move to deeper waters running 40 and 50 jets with leads of 60 to 125 feet back. This is also the time we start to use dipsy divers back the same amount of lengths. When using dipsy divers we run a 6 foot lead behind them with Michigan stinger spoons in various colors.”

Some of the hot colors are perch, watermelon and chartreuse. During Spring fishing, trolling speeds are typically 1.0 to 1.5 miles per hour. As waters warm, speeds increase to 1.5 to 2.2 miles per hour. As the water warms even more in the summer, fishermen troll deeper waters with downriggers and dipsy divers fished down deep. During this time of year, speeds are increased to 3 miles per hour, catching trout and walleye.

Trolling an S pattern really also helps to trigger these fish during the spring. The bait fish in the deeper waters are larger alewives, smelt, and emeralds. This is the time to use larger spoons in the 4-6 inch range. Up to 16 rods at one time are used in deeper waters. 8 rods are run on planer boats, 6 dipsy divers and 2 down riggers. The dipsy divers are set on different settings of 1, 2, and 3. The downriggers use 10 pound balls with leads of 25 feet.

In addtion to fishing for trophy steelhead and walleye, the region is known for excellent catches of yellow perch.

For more steelhead fishing tips and techniques, visit Lake Erie Fishing Charters.

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Steelhead Fishing Tips

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Steelhead Fishing Tips

With the Northwest experiencing the best Steelhead runs in years, the staff here at Hungryhook decided it would be a great idea to give you tips on how to catch these giant Rainbows.  Whether you are brand new to Steelhead fishing,  or a seasoned vet, we’re sure you will be happy to use these tips.

1)  The Rig: We like to use 12 lb test Stren Extra-Stength Mono on a 7 1/2 ft fishing rod.  You need to ensure you have a longer fishing rod in order to have enough action and play to fight through the current.  We then use an 1/8 out pink or black jig hooked with frozen shrimp.  Make sure you hook the shrimp on like you would a grub on a jig.  Then attach a bobber-stop and bead on to your line, and use a weighted bobber to keep it straight in the water.

2)  Depth:  We like to test the bobber-stop.  On your first cast, you want to be able to hit the bottom of the river so that you can then raise the bobber-stop incrementally until you are 1-2 feet off the bottom.  If the fish are rising, you can obviously lower the bobber-stop to allow less leader.  If it is your first time out, find the bottom, and then lift the bobber-stop up your line about a foot.  You do NOT want your lure dragging on the river floor, or you will be cutting your line all day.

3)  Landing the Steelhead:  Make sure that you have crimped down all of your barbs, as most waters will not allow you to fish for Steelhead with a barbed hook.  Due to the loss of the barb, it is crucial that you have your drag set loose enough to let the fish run in the current without snapping your line, but tight enough to allow no slack in your line.  I like to tighten down drag as far as possible, and then loosed it about 3 turns.  Also, do not allow your fish to run with the bait without landing the hook.  The moment you feel a hit, reel down the slack, and HAMMER it!  Then hold on, fight the fish out of the current, and bag a lunker.

4)  Fishing Area:   Here in Idaho, we love to fish the Snake River, and the Dam in Orofino.  These are both hot spots, and capable of producing a great day of fishing.  Watch for the currents that drop into deep pools.  These pools will hold the most fish.  Finally, ensure that your Steelhead has a clipped fin.  This is a sign that they are a planter fish, and ok to take. 

Now get out on the river, get your rig set up, and land a lunker.  When you are done, submit a pic here at and we will get you up on the wall of fame.  While you are there, learn about the plethera of other tips and techniques you can use while on the water.

Happy fishing, and as always, respect the lake….

At – we are dedicated to building the Northwest’s #1 Fishing Site. Join us to learn all about the sport, post your own pictures, and get everything you need to know about your local lake in order to have an amazing fishing day.

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Float Fishing for Steelhead – Techniques & Tackle, by Dave Vedder

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Float Fishing for Steelhead – Techniques & Tackle, by Dave Vedder

  • 62 pages with color illustrations.
  • Copyright 1995.
  • By Dave Vedder.

This book contains a wealth of information that will prove invaluable to the beginner and experienced steelheaders alike. By following the simple techniques described and fully illustrated in Float Fishing for Steelhead any steelheader will be able to increase their catch and their enjoyment of the magnificent sport of steelheading.

Price: $ 14.95

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This short film showcases a typical day of bobber fishing for Winter Steelhead on the Oregon Coast. This piece was shot in a single day, during low water conditions in early February, 2009. Join Oregon River Guides staff and custom rod builder Sean Tate for this fun, fast moving film that illustrates just how effective bobber fishing in low clear water can be. Video sponsored by and created by

Professional Walleye Angler Jon Thelen talks about slip bobber fishing.

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Float Fishing for Steelhead: Techniques & Tackle

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List Price: $ 15.95

Price: $ 8.90

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