Fire Blog

Cowlitz Steelhead Spread Throughout the System
By Todd Daniels | 03/24/2015
Our water levels are at summertime flows. Given these low flows the steelhead aren’t going to race to the hatchery. They are literally spread from the hatchery to the Columbia River. That’s why guys are fishing miles and miles of river because they are so spread out. In year’s past all the fish would be within five miles of the hatchery. .. Read more

Hanford Reach Steelhead: Hot & Cold
By Chris Shaffer | 03/23/2015
The Hanford Reach can be one of the top producing hatchery steelhead systems in the Northwest from fall through early spring. Bank anglers and boaters have a front row seat to steelies returning to the Ringold Springs Hatchery in large numbers. It’s a place where – when the bite is on – anglers can find consistent action on fish they can keep for the barbeque. (Limit is two hatchery steelhead, per angler, per day). .. Read more

Erie Ice Paving Good Steelhead Bite on Niagara
By Ted Kessler | 03/22/2015
Lake Erie froze completely this winter, which creates a barrier protecting the river from mud flows, but also brings challenges, namely extremely clear water. Anglers not adjusting to the clarity find tough outings whether on shore or in a boat. Right now most of the river is yielding 18 feet of visibility. Just before we had a little runoff a few days ago I was in 18 feet of water and you could count the pebbles on the bottom... Read more

Manistee River Steelhead Slow: Finally Picking Up
By Mark Chmura | 03/20/2015
Fortunately, the thaw is here. And, while the river hasn’t harbored many steelhead these past few months, that’s likely to change quickly. I believe the steelhead that came in during late summer and fall got pushed back to Lake Michigan by the ice and are waiting for the ice to clear to migrate up. We still have snow on the ground, but I see green grass, too, and the ice has been retreating daily. Spring is here now and I’m guessing the steelhead are going to come in big numbers, too. .. Read more

Thaw Progressing: Oswego Anglers Locked!
By Kevin Davis | 03/19/2015
Keep in mind, the harbor is still frozen and we still have two feet of snow on the shore, but there’s a few bank anglers starting to come out and that’s only going to increase as the weather improves. For us, we’ve been having double-digit days for a few weeks. Some days we’ve caught and released up to 30 rainbows, steelhead an browns. It’s been insane... Read more

Salmon River De-Icing - Steelhead Starting to Show
By Andy Bliss | 03/16/2015
In the last 10 days temperatures have returned to normal and I’ve been able to get out on the water most of the last two weeks. Water levels haven’t increased yet and we’re still finding a lot of pre-spawn steelhead that are maintaining their position in their winter spots. Our spring pattern might be close, but hasn’t started yet. .. Read more

Big Steelhead Showing on Oregon Coast
By Big Dave Manners | 03/04/2015
On the Wilson, Trask, Nestucca and Kilchis (the rivers we target in the Tillamook area) when we get more rain it’s going to be good fishing. The month of March is when many of our big broodstock fish show (at least the Wilson/Nestucca). We usually see some big natives in March, too. Towards in March we’ll see a bunch of downers cross our path, too. The steelhead season isn’t over here yet. We still have at least a month of solid fishing left and crowds should be lighter than normal with reports of springers showing already... Read more

Idaho Steelhead Best in Decades
By Toby Wyatt | 02/26/2015
The last three months have yielded the best fishing we’ve seen on the Clearwater River in a few decades. Sure, fishing isn’t as hot as it was a few weeks ago when we were catching 20-30 steelhead a day, but who could complain about the 15-25 we’re still catching per boat each trip? It’s still awesome and not going to fizzle anytime soon. .. Read more

Get Your Dip On: Catch More Steelhead
By Bob Kratzer | 02/20/2015
While pure Pautzke Nectar works great, and we still use it solo, at times, I’ve discovered better success combining two different smells for steelhead. This being said I have also worked with different smells, trying to separate myself from the masses of other fisherman. We know that steelhead like eggs as good as anything. Pautzke Nectar is the strongest and best egg scent available. I’m not questioning that. Meanwhile, it’s the other scents we need examine and use more... Read more

Cowlitz Steelhead Turning On Now
By Todd Daniels | 02/09/2015
The best run of hatchery steelhead fishing in the Northwest is on the Cowlitz River in March, with maybe the exception of the Clearwater River in Idaho. With that said, the run seems to be transpiring early this year. The fish are showing up big-time right now. .. Read more

Perfect Natural Color Eggs For Steelhead
By Mick Thomas | 02/05/2015
I’m partial to natural, but I do see guys with yellow eggs, green eggs, red and pink eggs. Meanwhile, I use what keeps my percentage of take up on a regular basis and maybe I’m kicking myself in the butt by not trying other things, but I’m stuck in a rut that’s working. All of my steelhead this year has been caught on natural cured eggs. All of them. .. Read more

Smith River Expecting Fresh Fish After Big Storm
By Mick Thomas | 02/03/2015
We have a lot of rain forecasted in the next several days. With that we expect to see good numbers of fresh fish entering the system. In February, I’m hoping for good numbers of winter steelhead, but we never know until it happens. I expect to see a lot of fishing pressure after this week and weekend’s storm. This will give us a tale of the tape of what’s out there. The more people that are fishing the more the story is told. If we only have one boat out there it’s hard to tell how the river is fishing and honestly pressure has been low recently. .. Read more

Curing Single Steelhead Eggs & Tying Bags For Great Lakes Steelhead
By Josh Choronzey | 02/02/2015
It’s curing season in the Great Lakes and a perfect time to recap how to cure winter steelhead skeins. This method is effective everywhere in the Great Lakes and can be used on the West Coast, too, even though most anglers out West fish pieces of skein. There are many ways to cure eggs. I like this cure because it’s fast and can get me fishing again quickly. Others use processes that take more than a day. Those work, too, but the below method works great for me. .. Read more

Northern Michigan Steelhead Action Slow, But Improving
By Kyle McClelland | 01/28/2015
If I had to choose one word to summarize the beginning of our winter steelhead season in Northern Michigan it would be "struggle." So far, this has been one of the worst winters for chasing chrome I've experienced. Nevertheless, there remains enough steelhead in our streams to keep me pursuing them several times each week. .. Read more

Central Tennessee Rainbows Taking Center Stage
By Chris Shaffer | 01/22/2015
The man was correct. The smallest trout we saw all day was 10 inches. Most were 12-14, which is incredible for a state sponsored stocking program, rare in fact. The TWRA is luring anglers with trout that are huge for planters. In fact, you’d be far fetched to find these anywhere in the Southeast, outside of Cherokee, which is a private hatchery. They don’t even stock them, on average, this big in California, I told him... Read more

California North Coast Steelhead Roundup
By Alan Borges | 01/20/2015
This year from the Eureka area on California’s North Coast to Brookings, Oregon, we’ve had two really good storms. These storms keep our rivers from being too low and clear to fish, while also bringing in fresh steelhead. This winter our rivers have had decent numbers of fish in them... Read more

Making Steelhead Candy
By Andy Martin | 01/18/2015
When it comes to winter steelhead fishing on the West Coast, few things are as effective as naturally cured salmon or steelhead eggs. Presented properly, steelhead often can't resist a natural-colored cluster of roe as it drifts down the river. In 10 years of guiding, and many years fishing on my own before that, I've tried just about every cure out there. The most effective cure I've found for getting my customers onto fish day in and day out is what I call "steelhead candy," a mix of Pautzke's simple yet very effective BorxOFire, combined with a few extra ingredients. .. Read more

Nashville Area Rainbow Bite Hot
By Chris Shaffer | 01/15/2015
While there has been a lot of rain locally in January, and many rivers and creeks are higher than normal, we kept on course and arrived on site at Nice Mill Dam Recreation area in search of planted rainbows. Roughly a 20-minute drive from the Music City, this popular wintertime fishery near Murfreesboro and Symrna isn’t a secret to anglers. Even on a Thursday morning anglers littered the banks. Participation is high here and increasing annually as more folks become aware of the winter stocking program. .. Read more

Tipping Jigs With Salmon Eggs
By TJ Hester | 01/14/2015
I use Balls O Fire eggs exclusively, but who doesn’t out West? A jig tipped with Balls O' Fire emits scent, gives trout a real egg to key in on and a visual target. Meanwhile, the small profile doesn’t weigh down the jig, thus making it off balance, nor does it hinder the fish attracting action. .. Read more

Northwestern Ontario Lake Trout on Dead Baits
By Tom Armstrong | 01/14/2015
While it’s sadly not all that atypical for life in Northwestern Ontario in January, our trip started off to a frosty start with temperatures below -30 C. We were heading a couple hours west, towards Atikokan, ON, where the winter lake trout season opens a month earlier than where I live in Thunder Bay. There are some great lake trout lakes in this area. For anglers willing to brave the cool January temps great fishing is available... Read more

Texas Hill Country Trout Showing Strong
By Chris Shaffer | 01/12/2015
Weaving from Canyon Dam through Gruene and into New Braunfels, The Guadalupe River is what many anglers wouldn’t believe existed if they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes. A shallow, yet fairly wide system, this well known tubing and rafting river brings dreams to anglers who from December through March don’t have to drive to New Mexico, Colorado or Arkansas to catch planted trout because cold, clear, clean water rushing out of the base of Canyon Dam keeps the system primed for truckloads of rainbows each week. .. Read more

When To Treat Steelhead Eggs With Brine or Powder Cure?
By Bruce Hewitt | 01/07/2015
It’s a common question I get asked a lot. People are curious how I’m able to get achieve bright, vibrant colors in my eggs, while also getting them to stay together when casted. Honestly, it’s simple. I choose the correct cure for the type of eggs I’m curing and their maturity. For the purpose of this tutorial let’s act like we’re curing eggs from a female winter steelhead. We’ll cover immature and mature eggs, as each should be cured differently. Many anglers often make the mistake of curing all eggs the same, which is why consistent eggs aren’t always achieved. .. Read more

Nearly 20,000 Steelhead Around the Upper Columbia
By Brad Wagner | 01/04/2015
Now that the holidays are over I look forward to some of the best steelhead fishing of the year on the Upper Columbia River in North Central Washington. With nearly 20,000 adult steelhead above Priest Rapids Dam there’s plenty of fish to catch around here and I’m expecting a great season. .. Read more

Epic Day For Idaho's Clearwater Steelhead
By Jason Schultz | 01/02/2015
It started in the morning with a hook up coming on the first, second and third casts! It didn’t take long to realize this day was going to be special. It wasn’t going to be a matter of how many steelhead we could find, rather how many Clearwater Killer B’s could we get to the boat. We were on a huge number of fish and it was time to go to battle!.. Read more

Chetco Among Northwest's Top Steelhead Rivers
By Andy Martin | 12/23/2014
Steelhead are present in the Chetco from Thanksgiving through March. Peak season is the last week of December through late February.Steelhead average 6 to 10 pounds on the Chetco, but bigger fish are common. The river record is a whopping 28 pounds.Each season, fish over 20 pounds are caught, with numerous fish between 15 and 18 pounds... Read more
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