gearing up for march steelhead

March is traditionally the start to “peak” season steelhead here in west Michigan. With March right around the corner the phone has started to ring with eager anglers wanting to know what they need to get ready. What a perfect topic for a post.

Rods and Reels
As for the reels, March is a time when it’s often going to be a frosty morning or even a bit of late snow and winter. The most important reel feature is going to be cold weather performance. Meaning a reel that won’t lock up with ice or free spool the drag after getting wet and then freezing.

It’s either two or single-handed indy rods and remember that if your going to be doing short heavy work, like on the PM, your going to want them overlined by one or two weights.  Here’s a link to a past post on indy rigging.

The exception to the indy rigs is the bastard chuck-n-duck system. While this method is distasteful to many it is still something that you need to be ready to use. High water in the spring is common, so if your not willing to chuck a big chunk of lead to get down your almost eliminating your possibilities of getting into some fish.  Here’s a link to a post on chuck-n-duck.

That old steelhead saying of “you can throw whatever you want for steelhead as long as it’s an egg”, couldn’t be more true than in the spring. Some of my top choices are going to be the Nuke Egg, Crystal Egg, Pearl Jam Shrimp, Steelhead Stone, Spring’s Wiggler, Baby Salmon and SS Buggers. By no means am I saying that these are the only patterns that will work but more saying that a selection similar to this will give anyone enough fly selection to fish whatever the conditions.

Always plan on the worst, possibly snow and wind or a day of 33 degree rain, then your ready for anything. Except for my underwear, I never wear cotton in cold weather on the water.

Fly fishing for steelhead in Baldwin Michigan.

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