| As the waters cool in late fall,, the first of the winter run steelhead will start slipping into the rivers. Many of the early fish are summer run Skamania strain fish that avoided entering the 70ºf.+ rivers back in July, and have had several extra months of growth out in Lake Michigan.
The Seeforellen browns, a fast growing strain, will also be coming in to spawn in November and December. As long as water temperatures stay above 36ºf., these fish will be very aggressive, frequently hitting a fly near the surface.
Many anglers tend to park in one spot, & never move. As long as fish are moving through the area, there will be some action, but there's a more efficient & more effective approach: casting, letting the fly drift & swing, & then taking a step or two downstream & repeating. Rather than waiting for the fish to come to the angler, this presents the fly to every fish in the run.
This is the classic presentation for Atlantic Salmon.
|Seeforellen browns look and fight like Atlantic salmon||A December "Summer Run".||A 15# male that mistook a black marabou for lunch.|
|L. Michigan brown trout.||Swinging a wet fly by stepping downstream between casts.||Photo by Joe Solakian >|
| Through a process of unnatural selection,(taking early run fish for brood stock), the hatcheries have created a strain of Coho that tends to enter the rivers in October. Fortunately for the trophy hunter, there are many Coho that remain out in the feeding grounds until November & into December before making their run. Double digit weights approaching 20 pounds are not uncommon, and the fish are very aggressive.
A mid-winter thaw raises water levels, and brings the Chambers Creek steelies up from the lake. Hi-density sinktips are usually needed to reach these fish. Flashy patterns from the West Coast can be effective, as can huge marabou flies that attract fish from a distance.
April's shirtsleeve weather may seem like strange conditions for steelheading, but it's the time to fish for the Ganaraska strain steelhead. This strain, developed in Ontario, has been stocked by the Wisconsin DNR to extend fishing opportunities well past the "normal" seasons.
|16# Coho, minutes from the lake.||Drifting a fly through broken "Pocket water".||Wisconsin's stocking program has created a run of Splake in Green Bay streams.|
|A coin bright springer.||A Chambers Creek male in spawning color.|
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