Steelhead Fishing with Jeff Blood
Coming into this first stop, I was pretty nervous about how the day would go. I had only caught two steelhead prior to this trip and didn’t know much at all about the art of convincing these big chrome fish to take a fly. As soon as I met up with Jeff, he immediately started dropping key tips that would end up putting me on four fish that day.
Here is an image of a solid steelhead from the ANGLR Tour episode with Jeff Blood.
His first tip was using a swivel between his tipped and leader. The reason behind this is the fact that when you are fishing during the fall in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York, there are plenty of trees dropping leaves. Anyone who has chased Steelhead knows the struggle of hooking a large leaf on a drift and then watching it spin your line a million times as you try to shake it off. The swivel is a simple way to eliminate all of this line twist and give you an easy spot to attach tippet to. One may think that a swivel would get in the way of a drift, but after using it I totally forgot that I even had it on my line. It makes no difference to your drift.
Fly Fishing the Blood Dot
Jeff’s second tip that led to our success on the water was to focus on the amount of weight you are using, not the fly. He let us know that as long as you have a good egg imitation, then you only have to vary the depth you are fishing them. Now, Jeff uses the Blood Dot pretty religiously, because it is a near perfect egg imitation. When it comes to weight, Jeff would place a varying amount of split shots anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches above the top fly when rigging up his rods. As we fished a specific drift, we would watch for the “ticks” on the indicator as the egg patterns bumped the bottom. If there were too many ticks, we would take a split shot off, fish the eggs slightly higher, and be right into fish. If we weren’t getting any ticks, a few more split shot weights would do the trick to get the eggs down to the fish.
Here is a close up image of the Blood Dot Fly, it is clear that this fly is a fantastic egg imitator!
Target the Ledges When Fly Fishing for Steelhead
The third tip that I was given by Jeff was to look for ledges in the water. The fish like to hold in deeper water so if you located a shelf or ledge under water, it is as simple as floating the shelf line. That is where your best chance of hooking up will be. Once you locate the shelf, you can dial in on the amount of split shots you need to get your double egg rig down to the right depth… next thing you know a fish is on the line.
Jeff Bloods’ Fly Fishing Setup
Jeff’s go-to rig was an indicator at the top of his nine foot leader. At the end of the leader was the small swivel which I discussed earlier to prevent line twists. From the swivel, a lighter tippet line was tied on with about a foot of tippet with the varied amount of split shot weights. Another 18 inches past the split shot was the first fly, and then six to twelve inches past the first egg fly was the second and final egg pattern.
This rig allows you to easily cover water and utilize the roll cast. If you have done any steelhead fishing, you’re going to need to become familiar with the roll cast. This technique allows you to recast your line without any false casts. There are lots of great YouTube videos that demonstrate the roll cast and it can be pretty quickly picked up.
I hope that I was able to provide some useful tips for you thanks to my learnings from Jeff Blood during our time on the water. If you are interested in seeing these techniques in action, then you can head to our YouTube channel and watch the first episode of the ANGLR tour where we were fishing Conneaut Creek. Thanks for reading and let me know your best tips for Steelhead fishermen in the comments!