Steelhead – “The Change Up”

When I’m Steelheading and having a tough day on the water (usually fishing bait), I’ll often quickly change up my baits/lures to something much different than what I was fishing with. This is called “The Change Up”, a process of changing Baits, Lure / Jig sizes & Scents to present something the fish has not yet seen. To help outline further what some of these change ups can look like, here are some examples:


Give them a Color they have NOT seen. Fish can get conditioned to a single color. This same principle applies to Bait, E.g. Try Pink maggots instead of Roe.


Change up your Scents. I’ve heard one guy using Preparation H as a change up scent (the oil, not the cream). Why? Because the oil has shark liver oil in the product. Apparently, Prep H not only reduces internal swelling, but also fishing pressure.

Opposite to everyone else

If your fishing by other fishermen, see what they are using and put something else on. Do not fall into the trap of “they are only biting X”, Steelhead are aggressive and territorial fish, the change up can be your saving grace on some days.

Overdressed Jig

My favorite change up is an overdressed jig. An “overdressed jig” to me is the combo of adding dramatic pieces of bait, plastic tails and scents to a jig (especially in medium/higher water conditions, see River Conditions vs. Presentation tip for more information).

Pink Worm

I’ve saved one of the best for last, as this a BC classic change up! A 4-6 inch pink worm with a single hook threaded through or on a jig head is deadly. I’m not exactly sure if this change up is an aggression or hunger bite, but fish love pink worms! In addition to the pink worm it never hurts to dress it up with a little scent or small piece of bait as well.

For more information on the Pink Worm change up, you can also see my Youtube videos below.

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