How to make Steelhead Candy
Catching steelhead with a soft bead below a float is all the rage these days on Northwest rivers during the winter. Bobber-dogging beads is effective, and easy. But long before drifting beads was the go-to method for most guides, tossing a cluster of roe combined with a Puff Ball or Corky was the top method for catching steelhead.
While I occasionally fish beads in my drift boat, I still prefer to rig up my side-drifting rods with a tiny combination of natural roe, yarn and a Corky or Fish Pill. There is something special about seeing that rod tip twitch as a steelhead snacks on the roe cluster, versus the hung-on-the-bottom pull down of a steelhead hooked with a bead. There are also many days when a steelhead will hit a gob of roe after it has passed up an a dozen beads speeding by in a popular spot.
Years ago, I filmed a series of videos for Pautzke Bait Company on making steelhead candy, a sugar-infused roe cure that steelhead can’t resist. The natural roe cure remains my go-to bait for steelhead. This video is a decade old, but still full of useful information for beginning and experienced steelhead anglers.
For a hands-on lesson in side-drifting with roe for winter steelhead, check out www.wildriversfishing.com to book a guided drift boat trip with one of our local, year-round professional fishing guides.