Steelhead Fishing Lures & Spinners
Steelhead fishing lures are a topic that holds near and dear to me. I began crafting fishing lures as a child and have accumulated over 40 years of experience catching steelhead in rivers, almost exclusively on spinners. Techniques and gear used to catch steelhead have become an ever-changing phenomenon that keeps evolving. However, the methodology behind casting spinners into rivers to catch them has stood the test of time.
Contrary to popular belief, spinners can be one of the most productive lures for catching steelhead when suitable gear is properly presented. Anglers who are truly dialed in on spinner fishing are using the same blueprint that has been consistently catching steelhead for decades.
Fishing Technique With Steelhead Fishing Spinners & Lures
Steelhead are skittish yet stealthy predators that lie in wait for opportunities to feed. They are notorious for blending in with deep pockets, riffles, downed trees, boulders, and heavy cover along river banks that camouflage them from being seen. The trick to catching them is identifying areas where they might hold up, selecting the best steelhead fishing lures that can run efficiently through their strike zone without spooking them, and then presenting the lure in a manner that entices them to strike.
Steelhead have been known to jet all the way across a river to hammer spinners but the typical strike zone is generally within 24 inches of a river bottom and up to three feet of sight distance for a fish. That can vary depending on the speed, depth, substrate, temperature, and clarity of water.
River current will grab the line and naturally guide the lure deeper into fish holding seams as the blade on the lure screams, “bite me steelhead!” One side effect of this tactic is losing sight of the lure as it gets pulled under and disappears into the unknown. That is just another aspect that makes spinner fishing for steelhead challenging and so much fun! This technique is highly effective for retrieving or swinging spinners across wide open spaces and tail outs where the lure may or may not be visible throughout the entire drift as well.
As a spinner finishes its drift, the line will tighten up as the lure begins to surface slightly downstream of the angler. If a fish doesn’t bite or the lure misses its mark, try again and adjust every cast until the spinner hits a desired drift. Spinner fishing is a repetitive game where persistence, focus, and practice pay off. Executing these key factors while using the right steelhead fishing lures is what separates consistently successful spinner anglers from the not so successful ones.
Best Steelhead Spinners Size
Size matters! Subtle presentations of smaller, well-balanced spinners will outfish larger models when targeting steelhead. Kodiak Custom size #4 G.I. Spinners were originally developed for catching steelhead and my tackle box is stocked heavily! If I had to choose only one spinner to use for the rest of my life it would be a Kodiak Custom size #4 orange G.I. spinner. This line of universal fishing lures is the most durable inline spinner in its class, which regularly catches fish as large and powerful as chinook (king) salmon, northern pike and lake trout, to steelhead, smaller trout, bass, walleye, and many other species of sport fish. Kodiak Custom G.I. spinners fish productively in streams, lakes, ponds, and salt water.
Best Steelhead Spinner Colors
Steelhead are not too finicky about colors but orange, red, silver, gold or any combination of those are generally best colors for steelhead fishing lures that catch the most fish. Chartreuse, green, pink, blue, and black are all productive colors in most water conditions as well, whereas the darker tones seem to perform better in clear water.
Trolling Spoons for Catching Steelhead
Wild steelhead, commonly recognized as sea-run coastal rainbow trout, are native to cold watersheds of the Pacific basin, ranging from the Northeast Asia region of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia to the west coast of North America stretching from Alaska to northern California.
Hatchery programs have also introduced steelhead in several locations around the world including the Great Lakes of North America. Stocking programs in the Great Lakes system opened the door to alternative methods of angling for steelhead in open water, where they forage and spend most of their life before migrating to a tributary or hatchery to spawn.
Trolling spoons that mimic bait fish that steelhead feed on are the best type of fishing lures to use in these open water conditions. Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle offers a good selection of natural bait fish imitations in our line of trolling spoons that will also catch salmon, lake trout, bass, pike and many other open water dwellers that reside in and around steelhead feeding grounds. Whether it’s a hatchery fish or wild, steelhead are worshiped by seasoned anglers for their high-energy fights, explosive acrobatics, and stone-cold awesomeness! Tie on a Kodiak Custom lure and catch your steelhead today!
Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle is the #1 brand of steelhead fishing lures in Alaska, and it’s worth trying in your home waters too!