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1. How to Start Thinking like a Fish (1 of 15)

One minute you’re cruising safely through a big black body of water and the next you’re forcing your way over hallow gravel on a bright sunny day. You’re instantly aware of the shadows and movements and a new world of hyper-color you have only the faintest memory of. Predators abound and the only way to kill the anxiety is to get moving and find a place rest.

So what are steelhead looking for? Current Obstructions Depth or COD

1. Current- Steelhead are fans of straight flow. Flow that comes right at them and isn’t boily or twisty is great steelhead water. They prefer a moderate flow and nothing to fast or practically still. Choppy current is great because it gives cover and lots of oxygen.
2. Obstructions- Features in the river that break up migration make fish eager for a break. Braids can make fish nervous and the only remedy is to find a good spot to hide. A set of falls might test endurance and steelhead are eager to relax after.
3. Depth- This is one of the biggest considerations. There is no magic depth but they seem to be found most often from 3-5 feet. Most importantly the lie needs to be deep enough to provide safety.

Structure deserves an honorable mention here also! Although a big boulder, chunk of ledgerock or big stump isn’t a must, it sure sweetens the deal. In another video we give structure the stand-alone attention it deserves.

Productive water doesn’t need to be perfect to hold steelhead and you might compromise on one or more of these features and still catch fish. That said, a clean and choppy 4 foot deep gut after a gnarly canyon is pretty tough to beat!