|by Jeff Pierce
I finally got a chance for some on the water product evaluation this past Tuesday on the Salmon River. I was joined by Global Products Manager Geir Sivertzen (Dr. Hook). We floated a section between Altmar and Pulaski with Mustad Prostaffer Capt. Troy Creasy. Capt Troy, who has been on the Prostaff for a few years, is a full time guide and also owns and publishes Lake Ontario Outdoors magazine (see links at the bottom of article). Thankfully the wind was light as the temperatures were COLD ( 19F / 7C ) and boy did the lake effect snow hit us hard for a while. We literally had to shovel snow out of the boat!
|We set up to fish salmon and trout eggs under floats which is a very effective technique for Steelhead. I was fishing cured and cut salmon skein while Geir was running eggs sacs. Fishing cured skein is probably the very best technique when float fishing and bottom bouncing. Skein puts a great deal of scent into the water which excites the fish and its movement on the hook draws strikes as well. I cure my skein with Pautzke’s Fire Cure ( www.pautzke.com ). This cure is brand new to the market but I have been lucky enough to have fished it for several years now. The cure was developed by Mark Yano who is a friend of mine and he has shared this amazing stuff with me over the years. Without a doubt, it has helped me to catch more and better fish. I can’t tell you how many days we completely outfished all the others anglers around us because we had the best bait and the best hooks of course! Marks cure was highly sought after in the Pacific North West for years and just this year he finally sold the recipe to Pautzke’s. If you fish eggs, you have to get some of this cure, trust me.|
|When running skein I snell my hooks and also use a bead. This forms what is called an egg loop and the bead allows me to clear the hook of washed out bait and rebait quickly, especially in cold weather when the hands don’t work so well.|
|For fishing skein, there are several great hook choices. The right-hand hook image shows anUltra Point 9523UPBR. This is a wide gap, extra short shanked hook that is great for fishing skein as well as single eggs and egg sacs. For Steelhead I’m normally using sizes 4, 6 & 8. The 92567R and 92568BLN are also great choices for skein, singles and sacs. For Steelhead I’m primarily fishing sizes 6 and 8.|
Geir was fishing loose cured eggs that were tied into egg sacs. This is by far the most common way in which eggs are fished for Steelhead. While the above mentioned hooks are great fish fishing sacs, the very best hook for this is the Signature CO68. This 2X strong, 2X short hook is the perfect shape for running egg sacs. It hooks and holds fish very well and that is why many of the best Steelhead guides fish this hook almost exclusively. Sizes used vary depending on the size of the eggs sacs being fished. The most commonly used sizes are 8, 10 and 12. For those fishing very small offerings the may slide down to a size 14, 16 or even 18. I try not to go any smaller than a 12 and prefer to fish 8′s and 10′s as these sizes offer a gap wide enough to hold a fish better than the smaller sizes. The Mustad classic 37132 is also quite popular among the sac fisherman.
Geir was running 8 pound Thor in clear as his main line with 4 and 6lb Thor as leader material. I was running a prototype Mustad super line in 15lb with 6lb and 8lb fluorocarbon as leader. The rods are long (9 – 12′) and very light to protect the light leaders and help to keep as much line off the water as possible.
The fishing was steady on this day. With the exception of a couple spots, we picked away at them here and there, getting into a fish in most of the holes we stopped at. It was just a matter of covering the right water and putting your time in. I hooked the first fish of the morning at out second spot. It was a nice little Steelhead of around 3 pounds. It’s always good to get the skunk out of the boat. As the morning went on we continued to hook a fish here and there. At times the ice on the guides and heavy snow made it tough to keep the line tight during a drift, see the float and hook up well but that’s all part of the game.
Halfway through the morning I hooked into a real solid fish that took a few good runs and just did not want to come to the net. After a 10 minute fight, we had what turned out to be the biggest fish of the day in the net. It was a chrome bright hen Steelhead of around 13 pounds. After a couple quick photos she was released to thrill another angler another day.
My cured skein proved to be what the fish really wanted this day as I ended up landed and releasing 5 Steelhead, losing another just before release and lost 4 others after a couple head shakes with one break off. I also managed a nice male Brown. Geir managed to catch a few as well, landing a small Salmon and a nice hen Brown trout. He had one other fish hooked up briefly.
It ended up being a great day on the river with great company. Just getting out on the water is fantastic but it’s even better when you are fishing with good company AND the fish cooperate for you. As always, the Mustad hooks proved very effective and the new Mustad Ultra Line proved itself as well in some tough conditions. If you have never fished Steelhead before you really need to give it a try. Pound for pound, Steelhead are one of the very hardest fighting fish on the planet. I must warn you however as chasing these silver bullets can become addictive and before you know it you will be standing waist deep in a river chewing ice off your rod guides and dodging icebergs floating down the river!
Links to prostaffer Capt. Troy Creasy: