Saturday, November 7, 2009

Swinging for Steel

There are many ways to hook a Great Lakes steelhead on a fly. Some ways are more effective than others -- depending on the water conditions. But the most exhilarating way to hook a steelhead is on a swing. Swinging large streamers, tied to imitate bait fish, is a relatively simple fishing technique. It involves casting a fly slightly downstream in the current and mending the line so it slowly swings through the the run. As it swings, first broadside to the current and then straight downstream, the fly entices a fish to strike. At least that's the theory.

The reason it's such an exciting way to hook a steelhead is there's no doubt about the take. Unlike dead drifting nymphs and egg flies, there is no need to watch for subtle changes in the lines movement through the current. When a steelhead strikes a fly on the swing the jolt can all but rip the rod from your hand.

This morning on the Grand River (300 cfs), while fishing the inside seam of deep run, a steelie crushed a white minnow fly, put up a spirited fight and ultimately rolled into the net. The fish was one of only two to come to the hand today. But the brilliant blue sky and unseasonably warm temperatures made for a great day on the river. Will try to repeat it Sunday.

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