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One of the skills essential to a consistant steelheader is learning how and why to cover water. Some steelhead will sit in one spot for days if undisturbed, while others will move around frequently. Steelheaders who catch a lot of fish in a season do so because they know their river well and have developed what is called a Steelhead Circuit
To develop a steelhead circuit requires two things - an understanding of the type of water that steelhead prefer and the time to explore your river regularly to find spots that hold steelhead consistantly. In late march large portions of runs will produce fish because there are so many fish available but in the mid of January you will need to narrow it down to the spot within a spot. This is the exact location where fish prefer to hold in a given run or pool.
These spots will regulerly produce fish as long as the water conditions remain favourable. Once you have located about 5 to 7 of these core areas, you have established a Steelhead Circuit. To take full advantage of this circuit, you must cover all of these spots every trip out. That may mean you have to do some serious hiking, but I never said this would be easy. If you want to catch winter steelhead consistantly, you have to put the miles on.
Another important point to note is that river conditions will affect where the fish hold. For example, when the river is running high fish will tend to hold lower in a pool or run and will slowly move up as the water levels drop. When a river's clairty is poor, steelhead tend to sit very close to shore and when the river runs gin clear steelhead will hold farther out in the deepest water.
What is the best bait? They pretty much all work, but how you fish is more important than what you fish. Your bait does matter, but where you fish and how you present the bait is crucial! This seems to be the least understood componant about steelheading (by most anglers). Changing up your bait makes a major difference in your success rate, no questions asked!
The one characteristic that all good steelheaders have in common is that they have the abilty to interpret all the different variables and make the right decisions on how, what, and where to fish effectively. To be a good steelheader you have to have the right attitude, you must have a game plan and be willing to put in the time and you need to be attentive to what the river and the fish are trying to tell you.
 

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Good stuff steelie 99 , now thats what I'm talking about!!! It looks like you either hade a late
evening or an early night. :D The working a circuit point is a great one. Work an area that you
know well and maybe expand your range slightly as you go. Familliar waters will add to that comfort
level to which builds confidence. Knowing what to expect at the end of the trail will help one
visualize holding spots and stratidgies. Cheers ...Marko... ;D
 

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fishortho said:
I prefer the "short circuit".........I'm gettin' too old to bushwack all day!....just go out for an hr. catch a couple and go home..easy!! ;).......Ortho 8)

Well said fishortho .Its like the story of the 2 bulls on the hill looking down at all the cows ;) but I will change the saying for the young eyes here. The young angler says lets run down to that pool and hook a steelhead! The older fella says lets walk down and hook them all in that pool ;D 8)
 

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Doesn't look like you can count very well Young Gun 1,3,4,2!....you love the sport sooooo much that you only get out if your lucky 20 times a year, your residence is pretty damn close to the CAP too...now I know your parents are to blame...and of course you don't live in fish heaven like I do :-*....like come on.....family b4 fishing?

Mike <")))))><
 

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Good info Steelie 99. I read an article about the circuit fishing a while back. I have a couple of circuits for the different rivers I fish. Some circuits are much longer than others though ;)

fishortho said:
I prefer the "short circuit".........I'm gettin' too old to bushwack all day!....just go out for an hr. catch a couple and go home..easy!! ;).......Ortho 8)
Oh come on ortho, you don't want to joins us for a day of bushwacking? Maybe some rock climbing and repelling? I personally love it, the long hikes and gruesome hill climbs are what keeps me in shape!
 

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Ok, I have to admit that I like the solitute of a nice "bushwacking" trip once in awhile, but it's always an advil day the next day...Old bones, young heart, ...............Let's go!!!....................Ortho 8)
 

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Let's keep the thread on track, huh boys?

Most of the "circuits" or routes I take on a days fishing involve sections of river containing stretches of water that I know well and have chosen for the variety of water I can fish, and the fact that I can follow the route relatively easily on foot. Often I will try and divide my day up into various different routes through different sections of the river. I know right from the start just about every spot I will drift, and when I'm done I will hike it back up to the vehicle and drive to the next "circuit" and repeat the process...This is a very good point that Steelie99 makes. It allows a steelheader to be much more efficient, in the water covered and the time spent. Definitely a very big part of achieving successful hook ups on the river.
Another item of note that might apply here, is to maximize your time. I find it advantageous to do any exploring through new sections of river at the start of the day, then towards the end of the day, save a circuit or two you already know for the last few hours of fishing time. I find this allows me to maximize my efforts.
Really good info here steelie, I only wish I had written it myself! ;)
rib
 
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