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Steelhead are migratory rainbow trout born in rivers but spend a large portion of their lives in the Great Lakes or the ocean for that matter. These chrome missiles are known for venturing back into creeks or streams to spawn in mid to late October. The typical spawning season lasts until early May giving anglers the chance to tango with this feisty trout for all but 8 months out of the year. Steelhead typically feed to sustain their body weight and when they enter the river systems in the winter they are considered sexually mature. They are known to eat your typical trout patterns but are also attracted to bright colored flies. In this piece, we will highlight 5 effective fly patterns for great lakes steelhead, the materials needed, and step by step instructions on how to tie these killer flies.

The How-To tying videos in this piece are brought to you by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions.

The Nuke Egg

Materials Needed:

Jeff Blood’s Blood Dot Egg

Materials Needed:

Steelhead Woolly Bugger

Materials Needed:

Jeff Blood’s White Death

Materials Needed:

Sucker Spawn

Materials Needed:

While these few flies are known for catching steelhead, there are many patterns that do the trick. Bright colors and flash are a must with steelhead flies and if presented properly, your reel will likely be screaming! Take the tips from this article to fill your box and the Great Lakes won’t know what hit them, tight lines!

Behind the Fish: Steelhead/Salmon Biology with Scientist John McMillan

Tips for Small Water Great Lakes Steelhead

A Taste of Steelheading


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