Get Your Dip On: Catch More Steelhead

By Bob Kratzer | 02/20/2015

We are in the heart of winter steelhead season and always looking for the hot ticket to catch more fish. For several years I’ve been working perfecting a dip to enable my clients to gain an edge. It’s been a staple of ours in the past to dip eggs, jigs, yarn and other artificials in Pautzke Nectar, but as any good fisherman does, we constantly pursue perfection, which is what I think we’ve achieved with a our new, improved dip.

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.

Steelhead react well to shrimp smells, which we can find in a variety of oil scents. Anise is another favorable scent in the steelhead world. Through several decades of guiding for steelhead, it’s no secret they have a sweet tooth. They are sugar junkies. In fact, they enjoy vanilla, too. Meanwhile, they have been prone to react positively to other scents, too, namely garlic and squid.

I’m always going to stick with my mainstay (Pautzke Red Nectar), but have realized adding different scents to the Nectar give us an edge. These new scent formulas are consistently working well on steelies. Our new “Dip” which you’ll see in containers on the front of my boat as we drift downriver, consists of shrimp, anise, garlic, vanilla, squid and egg smells and if you want to catch more steelhead you’ll want to coat your lures with something similar to this whether casting eggs, flies, plastic worms, beads, yarn, jigs or other artificials.

How Do We Dip?

Mix below contents into a half-quart plastic jar (or similar container)

1 full bottle Pautzke Red Nectar
1 full bottle Mikes Shrimp Oil (Or other scents mentioned below)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Natural BorX O Fire

Note: I add the sugar to sweeten the dip and the BorX O Fire to thicken the liquid, thus helping it stick to your lures better. Keep in mind, the Red Nectar is always the base. Feel free to use the following scents to add to the Nectar. When substituting anise for shrimp I only add half of a bottle of Mike’s Anise or a tablespoon of pure anise oil, which is much more potent. When trying the other scents, use the following amounts; vanilla: 1/8 cup of vanilla extract, garlic: 2 tablespoons: squid 1/8 of cup.

Try one of the combo dips to increase yours bites and to separate yourselves form the rest. By using the dip I can add that great smell to my lure choice. Give the dip a try and increase your catch.

Is It Really This Easy?

The above formula is effective for bait and artificials. When bait fishing with eggs I simple place the eggs and hook into the dip between holes or when I want to freshen up the bait. When fishing floats and jigs I drop the jig in the dip every 8-10 casts to keep my jig fresh and juicy. Fortunately, with this dip it will not stick the martials together. When worm fishing do the same thing every 8-10 casts. Plug fishermen should place plugs in the dip between each hole. My most common use is when I am fishing yarnies, in which I soak them in the dip every few casts to keep that potent smell. In fact, fly anglers can benefit from dipping, too.

Editor’s Note: Veteran guide Bob Kratzer has spend a lifetime guiding for steelhead. He runs Anglers Guide Service in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. For more info on his guided salmon and steelhead trips please visit