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Steelhead Photo of Dan Colville

 

Size and Type of Bait

The choice of bait depends, not only on the water conditions, but also the activity level of the fish.

In shallow, clear or slow water (2 to 4 feet deep), or when targeting spooked/inactive fish, smaller baits are generally more effective:

When targeting active fish at medium depth (4 to 8 feet) or in stained water, there is a large variety of baits to choose from:

In fast and deep rivers, dirty water or for aggressive fish, large bright baits are usually the most productive:

Remember to pack a good selection of colours. Steelhead can be notoriously selective, aggressively hitting one colour and totally ignoring another. Top colours are chartreuse, white, hot pink and fluorescent orange. In general, use natural colours in clear water and bright colours in dirty or fast water (and in low light conditions). Try different baits if the fish are not responding, some days roe bags will hardly draw any attention while a jig or yarn egg will produce no stop action. Also try working the same pool with variety of baits to produce a bonus fish or two. Once you have a good selection of baits and colours for the water you plan to fish, it is time to get out to the riverbank and rig up your gear.