Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Prospecting with conventional tackle

There's a very nice run that I like to fish that always holds bass in summer, but the pickings have always been slim in steelhead season. It has all of the characteristics of a great steelhead spot, yet it has produced very little.

When I joined Loomis I also by default joined Shimano. I felt that I should learn something about conventional tackle so I bought some spinning gear and went fishing with it. Yesterday I was out on this run with my favourite smallie stick, the Loomis 10' 6" 5 wt. switch and I picked up a few small ones. I then went back to the vehicle to exchange it for a Shimano spinning rod to try the same run to see if I would get better results. (The fly rod won, BTW.)

When using soft plastics, we can bury the hook point in its body, effectively making the bait almost snag proof. If we add weight, we can run it over the bottom. I had just such a rig and I was working the bottom thoroughly. Cast and step, cast and step would bring the same bottom bouncing results. A further on down the river suddenly my casts weren't touching bottom until well into the drift. I worked the spot over and discovered that there was a very large hole out there, much deeper than the rest of the river. Now I know why the steelhead weren't where I had expected them to be - they had a better spot.

Short of drifting over this spot with a boat, I would have never known it was there without the bottom exploring, weighted soft plastic. My local river tends to have a fairly flat bottom and sudden drop-offs aren't common unless cold ground water is entering the river. This cold water would hold steelhead in the early season because it was cooler than the surround run and later on, because it would be warmer.

Interestingly I did not pick up a single bass in that hole, which is more confirmation that this is a cold water seep. They tend not to be in them when the water around these spots is closer to their preferred temperature.

I think I'll go fish the bottom with a spinning rod in a few more spots - it's amazing what we can find.