It’s mid-February 2019 and I’ve finally gotten a chance to get out Winter Steelheading on the popular Vedder River in Chilliwack, BC. This time frame is ridiculously late for this water system as the season typically starts around late December. This late start won’t always be the case once my two young boys are old enough to get out with me!
Anyway, the river conditions are pretty terrible at this point. We haven’t had any substantial rain in 3 weeks, instead we’ve had a ton of snow paired with very low temperatures here in the greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas. What this means for the water conditions are low and clear. The hydrometric graph for the Vedder was reading at 1.47 meters the day I was out.
The Steelhead Gear for Low & Clear Conditions
With low and clear water conditions, the night before I tied a few leaders focusing on small presentations. These included 4 different colored 8 mm – 10 mm beads each tied 2 inches above a size 2 Owner hook. I also included a few typical change-up’s in some plastic worms (pink and chartreuse/black) and some small jigs.
As for bait, I bought frozen raw prawns from the grocery store. I thawed them out the night before and dried them off. I then put them in a Ziploc bag and doused them in Pro-Cure’s Anise Plus Water Soluble Fish Oil. This oil works great for bait marination over night. On the water, I used a small piece of prawn to tip my Owner hook under the beads or pretty much everything else I was throwing. This is an effective bait and with the oil it leaves a great scent trail in the water.
Success and Heart Break
So how was my first trip out for Winter Steelhead? Simply put it was both successful and heart breaking. The first seasonal trip for me is typically a ton of walking and exploring, trying to find quality water and holding fish (especially in low and clear conditions). This trip was successful in that I found some good water for holding fish fairly early into the morning. In fact, throughout the morning I saw 3 fish landed which I did not expect to see, so that was great!
And of course the heart break. I did hook into a Steelhead and it was short lived as my leader knot to my swivel broke. It was either a poorly tied knot or my swivel was slightly compromised with a little chip (noticed afterwards) which may have compromised the knot. Regardless, loosing that fish was completely my fault. It’s tough to loose fish that way, especially in winter conditions and pressured waters where you only get a few chances at a fish per trip (if that).
Ah well… that’s Steelheading. This certainly has poured more fuel on the drive for me to get out there again soon. On a more positive note…
Meeting people through the BC Fishing Journal YouTube Channel
I think it’s great to be able to connect with people over YouTube. This was the case today as I met a nice guy named Andrew who recognized me from my YouTube channel. He was fishing beside me and shortly after I lost my fish ended up getting into a bullet wild doe. The irony is he caught this Steelhead with the same shrimp cure I outlined in last year’s Steelheading journal & video. I’m not bitter 🙂
Anyway, I filmed the last portion of his fight, landing and releasing the fish shown below (this video is only posted to this Journal page NOT public on my YouTube channel). Congrats Andrew!