How to Set Up Fishing Gear for Steelhead Fishing

by Larry Anderson
Bobbers and jigs

Bobbers and jigs

In the streams and rivers in which they live, steelhead are a favorite sportfish species among fishermen. Steelhead are a form of rainbow trout that spend time in large water bodies -- whether the sea or the Great Lakes -- and return to streams and rivers to reproduce. This is when many anglers prefer to target these hard-fighting fish, in part because that is when they are most accessible, especially to novice anglers. One of the best rigs for catching them is a bobber and jig.

Select the proper rod and reel. For fishing with bobbers and jigs, a 7-foot, medium-heavy action rod coupled with a spinning reel works well. Since casting and letting the rig drift is a big part of steelhead fishing, choose a reel that has a large spool.

Select the proper equipment. Eight- to 15-pound monofilament line works well. The clearer the water, the lighter the line you should use to reduce the chance that a steelhead will see it. Choose a pencil-style bobber that affixes to your line without slipping and several 1/8-ounce to 1/4-ounce jigs with pink marabou skirts. The bobber should be large enough to float even with the jig dangling beneath it but small enough that it goes under when a fish bites.

Tie the jig to the end of the line using a Palomar knot.

Determine how deep the water is in the area in which you plan to fish. The jig, for the most part, should be fished just off the bottom. So if the water is 3 feet deep, for example, set the bobber about 6 inches above the jig.

Set the drag on your reel before you begin fishing for steelhead. The fish are powerful swimmers, which, when combined with the current in the river, means you run the risk of having a steelhead break your line if the drag is set too tight. Turn the drag mechanism -- depending on the reel, it is a knob on the top or bottom of the reel -- counterclockwise until it takes a firm tug on the line for the drag to release line.

Items you will need

  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Line
  • Bobber
  • Jig

About the Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

Photo Credits

  • Multi-coloured fishing floats are spread out on a table image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from Fotolia.com