By: Colton Bowers
Setting up a winter steelhead rod for float fishing
Float fishing is one of the most productive ways to target winter steelhead and has some other great benefits as well…the rigging is drifted suspended or lightly dragging the bottom of the river so less gear is snagged and lost which means less time retying with cold fingers.
Start with a 9.5 to 10.5 ft medium action spinning rod and a spinning reel. The mainline for your reel should be braid. Power Pro or Fireline are good choices in 30 pound test…this mainline choice is important as you want to be able to see the line well and also you want it to float so the line can be mended during a drift with minimal disruption to the bobber and rig.
Tie a 9 to 10 foot length of mono-filament line “bumper” to the mainline (12 to 15 pound line seems to work best). This bumper serves two purposes…first it serves as a shock absorber when you set your hook and it also allows your high vis braided line to stay on the surface of the water away from the fish. Your slip float set up will be on this bumper.
Starting from the top and working your way down, tie a bobber stop to the bumper. You can slide this up and down the line to adjust the fishing depth. Slide on a small bead, then the bobber, and then another small bead.
Tie a double eyed sinker onto the bottom end of the bumper (lead with swivels molded into both ends) then attach a small dual lock snap to the bottom end of the lead. Lead size should be ¼ to 1 ounce in weight.
Leader is usually 8 to 12 pound fluorocarbon, depending on water conditions. Length is 2 to 3 feet in length. Tie a small barrel swivel to the top end of your leader, that will then be attached to the dual snap. You will be able to switch leaders quickly by removing and attaching to the dual snap.
Bait, jigs, plastic worms, and beads are the most popular and productive for float fishing.
Bobber and lead sizes usually vary between 1/4 ounce to 1 ounce, keep in mind that the weight of your bait, jig, or worm should be considered when selecting your bobber size.
I hope this helps you get out and catch a big one! This is how I do it and I’m pretty successful at catching!