Mid May/Early June

Mid May-June Fishing

steelhead, fresh out of the stream

By now, the water has warmed a bit, and things are changing. Though you can still find browns in very shallow water (<10 feet), they are now starting to concentrate off points in slightly deeper water. We will continue to flatline with similar patterns of spoons and stickballs.  However our depth will be deeper, anywhere from <10 to 30 FOW. This fishing can be much more “point” specific. These browns are hanging on structure. In deeper water, you can start running more riggers and begin using dipseys.   Probably my favorite setup for browns is a dispey on a 3 setting back 25-50 feet, with a small flutter spoon.

Lakers are still available, and often represent a late morning option, once the brown bite dies. They will be found in 80-140 FOW right on the bottom. However, we will also start to catch incidental lakers suspended on the surface over deep water (100+) when fishing steelhead.

Big lakers are around

Steelhead fishing in May and June is probably my favorite fishery. By May, the rainbows have finished spawning and are back in the lake putting weight back on. They will pretty much always be in the top 20 feet of the water column, and are almost always somewhere from 80 FOW-400+. As with early season brown trout, we fish steelies with top lines off planer boards and off short riggers. A deadly setup is brightly colored super slims back 60-100, down 6-12 feet. The biggest difference here is that steelhead love, if not require, brightly colored orange and red spoons. I tend to use more split shot in front of the spoon. I usually use 2-4 split shot to keep the lure down a few feet. Additionally, steelhead are suspended on top over deep water.

There is really no structure to fish, other than surface temperature variations. These fish like temps up to 60 degrees, though the best fishing is when the surface temp is in the 52-56 range. We are often in search for surface temperature breaks, where the temperature abruptly changes a few degrees in a relatively short distance. This can often be seen on the horizon, and in severe cases can be indicated by a fog line.

steelhead, average size about 3-6 lbs

Steelhead are fun to catch. They are acrobatic and their first instinct is to jump. It is vital to keep the line tight, as any slack line will allow them to spit the hook. Most typical steelhead lures are small and therefore have a single treble hook, which makes this all the more important.

Sporadically, kings will show up suspended below the steelhead during this time of year. Kings in late May and June is random and short lived, but certainly more consistent than what we see in April. They tend to be in the 80-300 FOW range depending on conditions.  They will be suspended from 40-100 down. Fishing steelhead on top and kings below with riggers and dipseys can be some of the most fun fishing you can imagine.

A late May Mixed bag
caught may 22, a beautiful chrome salmon