Drifting bait for steelhead

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Finally, a steelhead hit and the fight was on.

It had been a long day of fishing with the wind playing havoc with trying to get a good drift over prime winter steelhead habitat – the deep holes. You know how the wind can be on the Salmon River near Riggins, especially in late winter and early spring.

The wind kept knocking the jet boat off drift and it became frustrating. But, every once in a while, the wind would settle down and the drifter, pencil sinker and shrimp would bounce perfectly along the bottom of the river in about 11 to 14 feet of water. The fish finder showed the bottom of the river and this area looked perfect for waiting steelhead.

The 35-degree water called for drifting bait on the bottom. The steelhead were hunkered down in deep water like they usually are this time of the year. We tried pulling plugs but didn’t hook into any fish.

Then persistence paid off. We hooked into a nice steelhead. The other boat with us also got into a fish.

So, if you’re heading up to the Salmon River, don’t forget the shrimp and plenty of drifters and pencil sinkers.

Photo by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman

Posted in Into the Outdoors