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Drift Boat Fishing Tips

Drift Boat Fishing Tips

Drift Boat Fishing Tips

There are several different methods for fishing steelhead.  These tips are for fishing from a drift boat.

DRIFT BOAT FISHING

SIDE DRIFTING

Side drifting is one of the most popular methods in conventional steelhead fishing. This can be done with bait, yarn and rubber worms.  This method runs your gear alongside the boat for a longer, more natural looking presentation.  On my guided trips I set up my gear the same from the line on the reel to the amount of lead and the leader. 

This is crucial for getting them to fish the same so the lines don’t get crossed.  The person on the side we are going to fish casts first and then the other will cast almost instantly.  They will land just a few feet apart when in tune.  If we get too much of a spread between the lines I can’t row the boat to fish both of them effectively. 

When everything is in tune this is one of the most effective ways to catch steelhead.  Have a lot of leaders tied up as you will go through them.  These Olympic Peninsula rivers are full of hang ups.

Side drifting can also be done with a float or bobber with bait, jig or rubber worms under it.  With this method you want to keep your bobber tilted slightly up stream.  Braided line is good for fishing floats as it stays on top of the water and is easy to mend (lifting the line off the water so it doesn’t drag your float forward or downstream). 

The reason for having your bobber tilted slightly back is so your presentation goes down the river first.  When using a jig, I like to tip it with a shrimp tail.  This is a lot easier on gear especially on the rivers around the Olympic Peninsula.

DRIFT BOAT FISHING

PULLING PLUGS

Pulling plugs, or sometimes called back trolling Hotshots, Tadpollies, Kwikfish, Flatfish or bait diver, is also effective for steelhead.  I like to set them out in front of the boat equal distance from the boat. 

Then I row down the river at about half the speed of the water.  I like to have the rods in the pole holders so the hook doesn’t get set too soon. 

My personal, largest steelhead was caught on a Tadpolly in the Sol Duc river with a good friend.  The fish weighed in at 27lbs.  What a fight a steelhead that size can put up!

DRIFT BOAT FISHING

SPOONS AND  SPINNERS

I don’t do much of this because I have great success with the other methods mentioned.  I do have guys who like to fish with spoons at times.  We like to set up on the inside of a bend on the river, cast out and let the spoon drift down the river. 

By being on the inside of a bend the water will pull the spoon so the line stays tight. The fish will pick them up. 

When using spinners you cast out and reel in just fast enough to spin the blade but not too slow or you'll hang up on bottom.