FEED (AND FIGHT) SUPER STEELHEAD
Egg patterns and nymphs are staple flies for Great Lakes steelhead. While there is no hardand-fast rule as to when to fish nymphs vs. eggs, different stages of the fall run can help you pinpoint which will work better.
Put an Egg on It: In early fall, steelhead eat gobs of lake-run brown trout and salmon eggs daily. Eggs will remain productive as long as there are spawning salmon and brown trout in the river, or as long as fresh steelhead are still running in. Even if there are few eggs left for munching, fresh fish running up from the lake are instinctually looking for them, so a late runner will swipe some Estaz or yarn.
Nymph Like a Natural: Big black stoneflies or girdle bugs shine as fall turns to winter and there are no more fresh steelhead shooting upstream. Now that the fish are posted up on holes (many of which have been pounded with eggs), they can become more discerning. The egg feast is over, which forces the steelhead to feed on other river forage like nymphs. If you’re hesitant to give up those trusty eggs, try a stonefly with a pink, orange, or blue belly. It gives you the best of both worlds.