the Tailout July 2020 - Page 10

TIPS & TAILOUTS TECHNIQUE Summertime Stealth for Steelhead It’s no secret that the months of August and September bring with them the lowest flows of the year. It also happens to be an excellent time to target summer steelhead. Catching summer steelhead on smaller rivers during these months of the year can be challenging though. By implementing some stealth and structuring how and when you fish for steelhead during these months, you can greatly improve your low-water summer steelheading experience. Selecting the Ideal Back Bouncing Reel When it comes to effective back bouncing, selecting the proper reel is as paramount as selecting the proper rod. Reels must be small enough to be palmed comfortably in hand, be light enough to maintain the comfort and balance of the rod, pack enough spool capacity to hold plenty of line, have a smooth drag that can stop a Buick, have a thumb bar that is easy to maneuver while maintaining your grip on the rod, and built sturdy enough that you can hand it down to your children someday. Daiwa’s Lexa300HL reel (see photo) is a perfect example of an exceptional back bouncing reel. It is compact, has a low profile design, extremely comfortable and allows for an easy, secure grip on both rod and reel while bouncing. Operation is buttery smooth and the thumb bar is nice and crisp. Re-engaging from free spool required just light pressure on the reel handle, and the UDT carbon drag capable of 22 pounds of pressure will stop any salmon that swims. The sturdy, aluminum frame and side plate felt very strong and a line capacity of over 200 yards of 50-pound braid was also excellent. The Lexa™ is available in both right and left handed models in two sizes and three gear ratios. Keep a Low Profile When water is low and clear, steelhead tend to become very wary. Bright clothing, wading deep, and throwing heavy gear is a sure way to not catch many fish in low and clear water. Tone it down! Wear subdued colors, stay out of the water when possible, and use smaller, lower profile gear and baits. Keep a low profile when you approach holes and scout the water before you make your first cast. Being stealthy always pays off! Be Time Sensitive Don’t hit snooze on the alarm clock… the best low-water summer steelhead fishing occurs early! The first three to four hours of daylight are the most conducive to catching fish. Unless you have ample cloud cover or shade on the water, fish during low light periods of the day. Evening fishing can also be productive, though I recommend avoiding water that was subject to splash and giggle inner tubers and swimmers during the afternoons. Sure, you may catch fish during other hours of the day, but your best angling will occur in low light conditions. Cover Water Fishing the same traveling lane for a few hours at a time may be productive during heavy flow events, but it’s not terribly productive during low-water summer steelhead conditions. Look for tailouts, riffles with depth and structure, and shaded runs for low water summer steelhead. Go to the river with a game plan. Hit water that you know have produced in the past during prime fishing hours and then explore for new water once that ideal timeframe has ended. TYLER COMEAU 8 SALMON THE TAILOUT & STEELHEAD JOURNAL 38