By Andy Bliss | 03/04/2013
Most anglers familiar with steelhead fishing on Upstate New York’s Salmon River don’t look forward to March. Pre-spawn and spawn have the fish in a non-feeding mood. Steelhead fishing becomes tough as the fish start spending more time searching for spawning gravel and less time eating.
The bite becomes finicky. The steelies are active for a day or two and then develop lockjaw for a few days. Along with these biological deterrents, Mother Nature throws her little twist into the equation, normally bringing high, dirty water due to spring thaws. Most veteran steelheaders have learned to accept these trying times as part of the dues paid to enjoy the incredible post spawn action.
But, if you’re like me, I want to catch lots of fish every time we are on the water. What does it take to get these inactive lookers into active feeders: Pautzke’s BorX O Fire! At this point in the season most of fish have seen every steelhead bait out there. Plus, you now have the added smell of fresh eggs in the system. In turn, they have learned to distinguish any artificial meal to the real thing.
I’ve always used fresh eggs when steelhead fishing. But, when these fish start to become less active BorX O Fire cured eggs seem to make them bite. Throughout March I’ll be fishing BorX O Fire cured spawn bags.
Why does BorX O Fire work so well? Eggs that are cured in Natural BorX O Fire milk out, then they milk and then they milk some more! This milk sends a scent trail that every fish in the run picks up. Unlike an uncured egg that puts out a scent trail that last one maybe two drifts, these eggs last cast after cast.
Steelhead aren’t aggressive right now. Therefore, strong and constant milking eggs stimulate them into feeding. Often these fish sit dormant in a hole, but when that constant smell of milking eggs is presented they can help it, they bite! Plus, with many fish starting to stage once you get that first one to commit, it often activates the rest into feeding, leading to more bites.
In March, concentrate deeper water, namely runs and holes sitting downstream of spawning gravel. The steelhead are going to stage in these spots prior to moving up on to the gravel to spawn. Look for spots that are deep enough to cover the steelhead and where you can’t see bottom. These locations provide enough depth allowing steelhead to rest and feel comfortable.
This time of year you are going to find a lot of your fish in the upper third of the river. Nevertheless, the middle and lower still fish well as more fish come in. There’s still fish everywhere. And, we are also getting drop backs. Keep in mind there’s spawning gravel from mid river up. However, the upper third is the area that harbors the best spawning grows.
For more information on Bliss’ Salmon River steelhead trips please visit chasintailadventures.com