The Best Techniques When Plunking For Steelhead Trout

The Best Techniques When Plunking For Steelhead Trout

If you’re an angler who’s up to any game fish, the steelhead would be your top option. They are strong in combat and may exhaust you once they struggle in your catch. In addition, they also grow big ranging from 24-45 inches in size. With its size and combat skill, you might wonder what’s the best technique when plunking for steelhead trout?

One of the best techniques is to look at a nice location. The area with the highest chance of catching steelhead is the lower part of the water. These trout will not migrate to the high water but will reside on shallow waters with soft edges. Another technique is to fish for steelheads 1-5 days after the river has cleared up. 

Lastly, you have to take note of your tackle and technique. Check the suitable migration route and start from there. Moreover, the Straight Spin-N-Glos are the best ones to use if you want to attract more steelies. Now, what else do you need to prepare?

What is plunking for steelhead?

Plunking for steelhead is a fishing technique that utilizes bait for attraction. All you have to do is, cast out your heavy sinker and set up a holding lane for your rod. If you choose to fish in high water, use this technique because the fish will bite a still bait. Another key point is the action you take in a good lane of water.

Steelheads are good at hiding, so they choose the river’s stillest path. That’s why you have to take note of the riversides and swift water channels. In case the river current rises, the steelies will look for areas to rest. 

The Best Techniques When Plunking For Steelhead Trout

Plunking is a form of entertainment in fishing in which a lightened bait floats along the migration paths of fish. The fish are attracted to the lure and the weight. Moreover, the fish reacts out of anger and will strike at any time. The ends have bells that alarm the angler to reel in the fish.

Below are the three best techniques when you’re plunking for a steelhead trout.

1. Location

The first technique is to choose a suitable location. The area with the highest chance of catching steelhead is the lower part of the water. These trout will not migrate to the high water but will reside on shallow waters with soft edges.

Furthermore, you can check the bends, and you might be surprised to see a steelhead right below your feet. In this case, you don’t have to cast your rod far. Notably, you can fish in areas with less current to avoid getting ripped up.  These areas may include shorelines and migrations routes.

2. Timing

Secondly, you have to fish for steelheads 1-5 days after the river has cleared up. These steelies cannot bite well in high water. So, you have to let the water level drop and check to see if the water’s color has turned green. There will be lesser visibility when the water is brown, and you can only see up to 2 feet at most.

3. Tackle and Technique

Lastly, you have to take note of your tackle and technique. Check the suitable migration route and start from there. Next is to cast your right in the middle. This way, the steelhead will have no choice but to bite your bait. If you’re fishing in high water, you should have at least 10 ounces of sinkers.  So, if you choose 8-17 ounces sinkers, you’ll have a hard time.

Conventionally, you have to let your gear drop down naturally until it reaches the bottom. However, that’s not the case with plunking. You have to support your bait for it to stay in a certain spot.

For you to execute this technique, the Straight Spin-N-Glos are the best ones to use. To attract more fish, you can add some sand shrimp or cured eggs. So here’s what you have to do.

First, once you’ve rigged, check out the soft water edges and throw the rig out. Next, you have to make sure that the rig stays at the bottom. Thirdly, you can use a rod holder or create one. Some anglers use bells to alert them once the fish takes out the bait. Lastly, if you’re fishing in high water, you need to check if the rig stays. 

How do you rig for steelhead plunking?

If you see a river’s motion switch, you need to switch to still-fishing. There are two ways to rig steelhead plunking; sliding and fixed lead.

A. Fixed lead

First is the fixed lead. You need to attach a three-way swivel, take a few beads, and put them on the leader. After that, you have to attach a 24-inch long leader to another eye of the swivel. Next is to keep a swivel with no attachments, and it should face down.

If you see the swivel getting stuck to the bottom, tie a lightweight line dropper. Lastly, to change the leads if needed, you’ll need to tie a snap swivel to another end.

B. Sliding lead

The second rig is the sliding lead. This rig is to keep the bait sitting at 18-inches’ bottom. In addition, sliding lead makes the steelies pick the bait, and you can observe no resistance at all. To tie the lead, you have to slide an eye to the end of the mainline. 

Next, you have to attach the barrel swivel to the mainline. Lastly, using a 12-pound monofilament test, attach the snap swivel to the end of the dropper.

What is considered the best bait for steelhead trout when plunking?

In Pro River Guide, the best bait for steelhead trout is the plastic steelhead worm. Under any condition or technique, this is the best bait to use. Notably, the pink-colored plastic worm is the one to use. However, you can use other colored lures depending on different water conditions.

What are the best plugs to use when plunking for steelhead trout?

When choosing the best plugs, you have to consider the water conditions and the water and weather.  The guidelines are as follows;

A. The plugs should match the water visibility.

B. It should reach the bottom of the water.

C. Plugs in metallic colors should work well in sunlight; while bright, the colored one will be visible in the dark.

D. The plugs can withstand high current and can work slow as well.

The table below will further illustrate the choices when considering the water conditions.

Water ConditionsPlug SizesPlug Colors
Steelhead green waterMediumCopper, gold, silver, and white
DeepwaterLargeUV colors
Murky waterLargeWhite, blue, green, and gold
Clear WaterSmallBlack, copper, and natural colors

Moreover, the table below shows the colors of the plugs suitable for certain weather conditions.

Weather ConditionsPlug Colors
OvercastUV colors, white and black
SunnyGold, silver, and metallic colors
Partly cloudyNatural colors, white, copper, and gold

How do you rig a spin and GLO for steelhead?

To catch steelies in the river with green and slate gray color, use the spin and GLO. So, how can you rig it? 

Step 1: First, you should prepare a strong metal rod holder. Then, with a 25-30 pound monofilament, load your reel. 

Step 2: The second step is to use a slido to the mainline and attach the sinker that you want. You may choose between 4-8 ounces. 

Step 3: Next is to tie a leader between 18-24 inches. If the water is opaque in color, you should use a shorter leader.

Step 4: The leader material should range from 12-15 pound test and then tie an octopus style hook. The octopus-style hook makes it easy to grab when your leader is not in sight. It also comes in handy when you need to access the knot quickly.

Step 5: Finally, place a bead matching the color of your lure and your choice of spin and GLO.

Note: Cast the rod at 6 feet from the shore if you’re fishing in high waters. 

Final Thoughts

As you prepare to catch steelhead trouts, remember the best techniques are watching your time, location, and tackle. Moreover, to carry out the best tackle and technique, you can use the spin and GLO and add more baits like sand shrimps and cured eggs.

You can also utilize the plastic steelhead worm to lure in the steelies. But most importantly, you have to use the appropriate color depending on the water’s appearance. This way, you see better and clearer.

Thus, the best plugs to use for plunking will depend on the water and weather conditions. For this reason, you have to check the weather forecast for the day to avoid delays in your next fishing game.