Fishing the Jig For Steelhead

One reason jigs have become so popular is their ease of use. You find a place you want to fish. You determine the depth of the hole your fishing. Then adjust your float to that depth and you are fishing.

It is a good idea to use a longer steelhead rod then you may normally. I like rods in the eight to ten foot range. The longer rod allows me to keep the line from my float to my rod tip out of the current and presents a more natural drift. You can use the shorter rods though I use shorter rods in the smaller steams that I fish. They are easier for me to control especially when the bank is grown over with willows and other shrubs. I also like to use a swivel and a lighter leader so if I do hang up I do not lose my float along with my jig.

Say the hole has long seam where fast and slow currents come together. You estimated the water to be five feet deep. Then adjust your float so that your jig is four feet below your float when it hits the bobber stop and you are ready. Cast your line up-steam out where the seam of the faster current mingles with the slower current and simply let the current drift your jig down through the hole. Keep an eye on your float if it is stopping or bouncing as it drifts you will need to reduce the depth at which you are fishing. If you see this happening, you should reel in and make this adjustment before you snag up. Jigs like to find a rock and I am sure that they crawl under them just so you will not be able to cast them back out again. Make sure you adjust them so they do not get a chance to hang or you will be tying on a new jig.

Most of the time when jig fishing you don’t need to be right on the bottom. Steelhead will move up quite a distance to take a jig. If you feel that, you are drifting over the top of the steelhead and not getting strikes. You can lengthen the distance between you float and jig a little with each cast. Once you see your float bouncing and stopping again reel in, shorten the distance between your float, and jig by about a foot. You are now drift the hole it what I call the strike zone.

Once you have, the depth set you can start fishing in earnest. Make sure you cover the entire drift buy make three or four cast in the same location. Then Cast out a foot or two farther for three or four cast. You will want to continue this until you are sure that you have covered all of the fishable water. It is important that you make a cast in the same location four three or four times. Steelhead will often just ignore your jig the first time that it passes them. When it keeps floating by, they are likely to hit it just because it is bothering them.

Steelhead fishing has a complex quantity of rules and you will learn that many of them work. However, you will find that not all of them work all the time. It is a good idea if you are fish a drift that you know has steelhead in it and you have not gotten any strikes that you change things up. You may want to try some type of attractant. Try adding a small spawn sack, maybe a small piece of shrimp, or even one of the many scents that are available today. Change colors and the size of your jigs if your old faithful jig is not working.

There will be times where for what ever reason the steelhead are suspend in the river and not hanging on the bottom like normal show do not be afraid of raising your jig off the bottom if you are not having any luck fishing deep.

As with any new technique, it may take you a while to master it. Be persistent and give this technique an honest try it works and works well for many Steelhead anglers. Once you realize how productive fishing a jig is you too will be hooked.