Bank Fishing for Steelhead & Salmon

Posted by Susan Carter on

Sight-Fishing Steelhead When bank fishing for steelhead, there is a specialized technique worth highlighting that is rarely applied on salmon. Sight-fishing allows anglers to find fish, then figure out the best way to catch them. 

Locating steelhead, offering them a presentation they can't refuse, then watching them gobble the attractant is a thrilling sequence. But this style requires diligence in order to find consistent success.

Anglers intent on sight- fishing for steelhead must take an offensive approach. That is, a strategy must be well orchestrated prior to wading into a stream, finding a fish, then convincing it to strike. Oftentimes the search for fish begins 100 yards or more from the stream, depending on the surrounding topography. The more quickly fish can be seen, the less likely the chance of spooking them.



Steelhead have excellent sight when it comes to viewing objects out of the water. For this reason it's imperative anglers try and locate fish from a safe distance. Expect fish to be in the hole, don't hope for them to be there. By knowing fish are holding in an area, you're more apt to slow your approach and more thoroughly search the section of water for steelhead.

A controlled approach is critical, and that's why it's advantageous to spot fish from afar. Elevated hillsides overlooking a stream, trees, bridges, even a friend's shoulders can offer vantage points by which to more easily spot fish. Some steelheaders are toting ladders to their favorite bank-fishing holes, using their elevated positioning to gain a better viewing angle into the water, and with good success.

By putting yourself in control of the situation from the outset, your chances of catching fish dramatically increases. This means getting as close to the fish as possible without spooking them, before making the first cast.


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