Chetco, Smith, Rogue, Umpqua, Elk, Sixes, Coos and Coquille Rivers at their Best! phone_iphone541.813.1082  /  206.388.8988

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.

Steelhead candy, ready to fish.

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.

How to make steelhead candy, roe curing tips

For a hands-on lesson in side-drifting with roe for winter steelhead, check out to book a guided drift boat trip with one of our local, year-round professional fishing guides.

Nice steelhead caught during the 2021-22 season on the Chetco with Capt. Andy using steelhead candy.
Cured eggs, ready to be bagged and put away until it’s time to fish.
A cluster of roe, yarn and Fish Pull, ready to catch steelhead.

Our Signature Trips

•   Chetco River   •

The Chetco is one of Oregon’s premier salmon and steelhead rivers, and our most popular fishery. It produces more kings over 50 pounds.

•   Smith River   •

The Smith River is known for its large run of giant king salmon, as well as numerous steelhead of over 20 pounds.

•   Rogue River   •

The Rogue River is one of the few rivers in the world that has salmon and steelhead fishing twelve months a year!

•   Coquille Bay   •

The Coquille and Coos Bays have most prolific early fall salmon fishing on Oregon Coast!

•   Elk and Sixes   •

For sheer numbers of king salmon, the Elk River is hard to beat. The Elk and Sixes both have late fall runs, peaking in December.

•   Brookings Ocean Charters   •

Capt. Andy Martin spent 10 years guiding in Alaska but now guides and runs charter boats year round in Brookings, Oregon.

Call Captain Andy Martin   •   541.813.1082 / 206.388.8988 Wild Rivers Fishing, P.O. Box 1646, Brookings, OR 97415