Once you have hooked a steelhead, you know that this spectacular and beautiful game fish does everything to escape. Multiple runs of 30 meters and more, where fish often leaps several times spectacularly out of the water. Steelhead takes both dry and wet fly, streamer and nymph. However, fishing with the dry fly is a fishery that endurance awful lot of patience and commitment and demands of the fly fisherman.
A 10-foot fly rod, line class # 8/9 and a Teeny 200 or 300 line and a leader with a strength of 15lbs. is fine. Fish according to the so-called "dead drift" method, whereby the fly given ample opportunity to immerse results several times a day in a take. The size of the fly is partially dependent on the time of year and the level of the water. In the summer larger patterns tied on hook size # 2 and # 4 are recommended.
Long casts are not always necessary, normally 20 meters is enough. After each cast you take a step downstream and repeat the operation until a steelhead has taken the fly or the pool has been fished off. The easily accessible places are known by everyone, so you can meet other fishermen. In the camp I have two pontoons stored and with those we have access to the most beautiful and quiet places of the rivers to fish! Because steelhead can swim upstream in about 20 cm of water, you'll find them often close to the shore. It definitely deserves recommendation for fishing off those shallow places as well!
In some cases, a long two-handed salmon rod can be handy, certainly when long casts are to be made to reach the fish. A 13 or 14 ft Speyrod for a # 8/9 line is perfect. In recent years, Skagit style casting has become very popular because bigger and heavy flies can be used. Another advantage of a long rod is that one has better control over the movements of the fly. Especially the Morice and Bulkley are rivers where a two-handed salmon rod comes into its place. Fishing with a dry fly on steelhead is very popular there.
Although the two-handed salmon rod with dry line and a weighted fly are getting more popular, of course one can still use the single-handed fly rod as well. I did that for about 10 years and I really caught lots of steelhead that way. The actual beaching of a steelhead with a single-handed fly rod is somewhat easier than with a two-handed. The beaching of a steelhead can be done as soon as the fish are going to lie on its side, you can grab him by the tail and gently push it up the shore to unhook it. Unlike salmon steelhead can NOT be lifted by the tail, steelhead has not forked tail. I have a large net over there but don’t like to carry it with me all the time.
And of course always applies: threat the fish with respect, hold it in the water when a photo must be taken and release it after the photo and let it quiet swim away.
In British Columbia, you need in addition to the normal Annual License for most rivers in the Skeena system in the period between September 1 and October 31 (Prime Time steelhead!) also a daily Classified Water license and the license must have a Steelhead Stamp as well. This can all be arranged online nowadays .
I am regularly monitored by rangers, even in places where you only have access with a raft.
And unfortunately, since 2012 it is not permitted for foreigner anglers to fish during the weekends without official guide on these Skeena tributary rivers. Fortunately, there are other small rivers and lakes enough wherever we can fish for trout. I prefer to go to the Rainbow Alley Provincial Park near Babine Lake.
There are lots rainbows behind the spawning sockeye salmon that feed on sockeye eggs