Nothing beats the feeling of having a hot hand swinging flies for steelies on the Feather River. My steelhead card is marked with at least one steelhead landed for each day I fished which is the best I've ever done. All of the fish I've caught are hatchery fish which means winter steelheading tactics; cover water and be prepared at all times.
|Cloudy Day. Perfect Steelhead Weather|
I recently bought a new switch rod outfit.
Rod: Echo SR Switch 5WT 10'8''
Reel: Hardy Marquis Salmon I
Line: Royal Wulff Ambush Line
This would be my second switch rod aside my Redington CPX 7WT. I was in the market for a lighter switch rod that would be perfect to fish my local waterways such as the Yuba and the Feather River. My 7WT CPX rod worked well but I wanted something a bit lighter that would cast well and give the fish a better fight. I've never been more satisfied with the Echo SR. The sweet singing of the Hardy Marquis is icing on the cake. Steelhead beware!
|Darker Fish But Legit Eater|
I broke in my new switch rod a few days ago on the Feather River. There are still a lot of fish in the hatchery section however most of them are still in spawning mode. With exception of one, all of the fish I've caught have been fresh looking hatchery fish. You can usually tell whether or not they are fresh from their coloration and the way they fight. Fresher fish are brighter, have more energy, and will give you a good strong fight; spawning fish are usually darker, don't often pull as hard, and will quickly succumb to defeat after a few short runs. When swinging you always want to be targeting the freshest fish in the system as they are more aggressive and willing to bite.
I've been doing well swinging with my EZ Alevin with an attractor nymph. When swinging flies always tie on flies that you have confidence in. Doubting your fly selection quickly results in a downward spiral in confidence. You'll start to question everything, "Is it my flies? Am I getting down deep enough? Should I make my leader longer? Am I swinging through that run slowly enough?" Confidence, patience, and persistence is the key to a steelhead on a swing.
I ventured further away from the hatchery section in search of spring-run steelies but haven't found any yet. Spring-run fish on the Feather River are usually wild fish with adipose fin intact. Hopefully a few more winter storms and warmer spring temperatures will bring them up.