Steelhead is a highly prized game fish and one of the most popular fish to catch in the U.S. Also known as rainbow trout, these majestic cold-water creatures reside in the North Pacific Ocean and Great Lakes before migrating to rivers freshwater and smaller lakes. Known for their excellent vision, strength, and size, catching a rainbow trout will not be easy. Whether you plan to catch and release or keep for food, having the right rod, line, and steelhead flies can help you land something worth bragging about.
Steelhead Fly Patterns also known as fly bait or lures
The key to catching rainbow trout (or any other fish) is selecting the right bait. The bait is essentially a lure to trick the fish into hooking onto the line. The more authentic the lure, the better your chances of attracting fish. If you’re fishing for rainbow trout, you’ll need to have the right steelhead flies in your tackle box.
When selecting the correct steelhead fly patterns, knowing factors like water level, temperature, and clarity is essential. It also helps to know which flies are native to the area. And if you plan on targeting large “trophy” trout, you’ll need a durable fly that can withstand the power of a fighting fish. The best steelhead flies will be divided into four categories; dead-drift (mimicry of eggs), dead-drift (mimicry of river invertebrates), action and color response activation, or a combination of the other three.
Fly Fishing Line, Backing, Leader and Tippet
Imagine being in the river for hours trying to catch a rainbow trout. Suddenly, you feel a tug as a fish tries to eat the rainbow trout fly. Just as you grab the rod to reel in, the leader or tippet breaks and your fish disappears. Almost all first-time anglers have found themselves in this position. That’s why you need to select the right fly fishing gear, including fly line, backing, leader, and tippet.
While there are several fishing lines to choose from, monofilament and fluorocarbon are the most common. As with any piece of equipment, you should do your due diligence before making a purchase. Anglers who want to avoid the above scenario should consider factors such as the weight, strength, and visibility of the fishing line, as well as the type of tippet and leader.
Fly rods and reels
While you could simply select the cheapest or most aesthetically pleasing fly fishing rod and reel, that’s not ideal. As with flies and fishing lines, there are certain factors to consider. Let’s start with the fishing rod. When deciding which fishing rod to use, fly anglers must consider action, construction, weight, and length.
The action of a fly fishing rod is essentially how the rod moves and flexes as you cast line and catch fish. The action is divided into three categories; heavy, medium and light. When fishing for steelhead trout, a light action rod is ideal as it will be easy to cast your light steelhead trout fly and will be more flexible when the trout is in the air.
Graphite and fiberglass are the most common materials used to make fly fishing rods. While either can suffice, graphite rods are lighter and stronger, ideal for catching rainbow trout on the go. When it comes to rod weight, the lightest rod is also ideal for fishing for rainbow trout. Last but not least, longer fly rods are suitable for larger rivers, while shorter rods work better on smaller rivers called tributaries and streams.
The purpose of the reel is vital to successfully catching rainbow trout. Ultimately, anglers need to purchase a reel that accommodates the weight of the fly line, backing, and rod. It must also have the proper drag system to apply enough resistance and speed regulation that it will resist when the trout bites your fly and tries to escape.
There is no denying that fly fishing for rainbow trout is a mainstay of freshwater sport fishing. Ultimately, if you want to improve your success in catching rainbow trout on the go, you need to equip yourself with the right gear. Whether you’re heading to the Trinity or Klamath river systems in Northern California or any of New York’s Lake Erie tributaries, using the right rainbow trout fly fishing rod, lines and fly patterns They will help ensure that your fishing trip is worthwhile.