Category Archives: Gear

A full vest isn’t necessary – beginning steelheaders really can ?nd success with as little terminal gear as a selection of pink, peach and pearl jigs or Corkies, depending on whether they start out as ?oat or drift ?shers. (TERRY WIEST)

Steelheading On A Budget For Beginners


Those who have not had the thrill of a magnificent steelhead on the end of their line simply can’t understand our obsession with winter-runs. We freeze our butts off in the middle of rivers for the chance to catch a fish that many times we will then release! Yes, to some this sounds like we’re nuts. And don’t get me wrong, we kinda are, but experiencing what a steelhead can do to your mind just once converts some of the most hardcore doubters into hardcore anglers, men and women alike.

Deborah Turner shows off a nice winter steelhead.

Deborah Turner shows off a nice winter steelhead. (STEVETURNERPHOTO.COM)


While many would-be anglers are astonished at how much money we sink into our passion, for beginners it really doesn’t have to be that way. You can always start out simple. Believe me, when you get hooked, you’ll be looking at those $300 rods, $200 reels, $400 waders, $200 boots, etc., but two key things for getting into the sport are actually free – the drive to catch one of the most magnificent fighting fish on the planet, and the patience to endure those times when you don’t find fish. For the beginner, the latter may come quite often, but here’s a true fact: Even for highly experienced and skilled anglers, a skunking is always a possibility, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We steelheaders know you have to work for these fish, and maybe that’s why we love them and the sport so much: Catching one is never a given.

But while the motivation costs very little, the basics – rod, reel, line, swivels, hooks, weight, lures – do require a bit of investment. There are two ways we can get started – the traditional drift fishing set-up (my recommendation), and float fishing. Both have their advantages that I’ll discuss below.
To me, this is the method that every steelheader should start with. The premise of drift fishing outlines the entire gamut of how to fish for steelhead and why they bite. It also gives one an enormous sense of pride having conquered the hardest part of steelheading, detecting the bite. Once you’re relatively successful at drift fishing, all other techniques will just kind of fall into place. Another advantage of drift fishing is the rod. A good drift rod can be utilized for almost all other techniques.

But to get started you’ll probably not want to invest too much money into equipment and gear until you get hooked – just in case you’re one of the few who struggle. I always suggest beginners go with a 9-foot fast-action rod rated 8-12 pounds. Again, this is a rod that can be used for other techniques, and the specs are just suggestions. I started out with an 8½-footer rated 10-17 pounds. Looking back, this was a “killer” rod that I caught many fish on. These days, probably not many people would recommend one with those specs as the ideal steelhead rod, but you utilize what you can afford. There are plenty of options out there for under $100. With drift fishing, “sensitivity” is key. The main difference between a sub-$100 rod and a $300-plus rod is that the material used is lighter, stronger and much more sensitive. Learn to feel a bite on a rod at the lower end of the cost spectrum and just wait until you experience what you feel with a top quality stick, such as the G.Loomis IMX Series!

You’re also going to need a nice reel. I always suggest to purchase the best possible within your budget. A smooth drag will pay dividends in fish caught versus fish breaking off, or coming unbuttoned. A baitcaster is preferred for drift fishing,
Brought and even though some of the spinning reels are super sweet, I’d suggest a nice levelwind reel, hands down. Another suggestion is, if you’re right-handed, use a left-handed reel, and vice versa for left-handers. The reason is that when you cast, you don’t want to switch hands to engage the reel and to retrieve. This way you continue to hold the rod with your dominant hand.A full vest isn’t necessary – beginning steelheaders really can ?nd success with as little terminal gear as a selection of pink, peach and pearl jigs or Corkies, depending on whether they start out as ?oat or drift ?shers. (TERRY WIEST)

For under $100 the Shimano Caenan 100 or 101 is a pretty sweet low-profile reel with an awesome drag. I’m 100 percent sold on Shimano’s drag technology and swear by them. For slightly over $100 is the Shimano Cardiff 200A or 201A, a round-style reel preferred by most who are just starting out. Many will stay with the round reel, while others will migrate to the low-pro. It’s all about personal preference – me? I use both.

For gear, the beginner can stay pretty simple. Size 10, 12 and 14 Li’l Corkies in pearl pink are sure winners. Other shades of pink and orange are good choices as well, and it’s wise to have some pink yarn. Tie a quality octopus-style hook (Owner, Gamakatsu) in size 4 or 2 via an egg-loop knot to some Ultragreen 10-pound leader behind 10-pound Ultragreen mainline with a 20-pound swivel between them. Pinch some hollow-core lead onto the tag end of the knot for weight, and you are fishing, my friend.

The technique is simple: cast upstream (always) and let your presentation glide down and through the hole. With the leader being about 3 to 4 feet long, allow the weight to “tick” the bottom every few seconds. You do not want it to drag bottom, but not touching bottom is not good either. The periodic tick will let you know you’re in the strike zone, roughly 1 to 2 feet above bottom.

As for the bite, well, that’s something you’ll just have to experience to feel. Many say it’s like sponge sucking your lure in. After years of experience, it becomes instinct, so much so that it’s actually one of the hardest things about fishing to describe.

One of the most well-known drift fishing areas to explore is below the hatchery on the Bogachiel River, just west of Forks. Pay attention to how others there are working the water, especially those who are catching fish. Don’t crowd anyone, but don’t be afraid to ask questions of fellow anglers. Watching others fish for steelhead is second only to experiencing it yourself.
Now, while float fishing happens to be my favorite technique for steelhead – in fact, I’ve written a book on it (Float Fishing for Salmon and Steelhead; Amato Publications) – I don’t necessarily feel it’s the best for beginning steelheaders. Why? It can be deceptive as to how steelheading should be. You cast a float out with a jig suspended underneath, watch it glide downriver, the float disappears, and boom – you have a fish! Well, it doesn’t always work that way, and to be ultraeffective there are many fine details that will distinguish you as an expert float fisherman. But compared to the skill it takes to detect one while drift fishing, feeling the bite is a no-brainer.

A float fishing rod is a specialty rod, therefore it’s techniquespecific and of not much use for other methods. While I prefer the G.Loomis 1262, unless you know you’re going to love steelheading and float fishing will be your preferred technique, I’d try a less expensive rod first. There are several float rods out there for under $100. Look for a rod that’s between 10 and 10½ feet long and rated 8-12 pounds with moderate action. The 1262 is rated 6-10 pounds, which you’ll appreciate once you have a few fish under your belt.

For a reel, go spinning! While some very good float fishermen still use baitcasters, the majority overwhelmingly employ spinning reels. Again, as with drift fishing, the drag is key and Shimano is the leader of the pack. For $100 get a Symetre 2500FL – this is a super-good reel with an incredible drag for this price point. Now if you want to feel something special, try the Stradic CI4 2500. It’s like butter!

The set-up is simple. Use 30-pound PowerPro main line. Slide a bobber stop, a bead, a 3/8-ounce float and another bead on the mainline. Tie a palomar knot to a ¼-ounce inline weight. Add on a 3-foot leader of 10-pound Seaguar. Attach an 1/8-ounce jig to the leader using a clinch, or reverse clinch knot. And as for terminal offering, overall you can’t go wrong with a pink jig. Anything that’s close to the Beau Mac SMJ #02 and you’re money. You may want to get a few in pinks, whites and peaches, all in the 1/8-ounce size.

For reference, the size of the float is equal to the inline weight plus the weight of the jig, so a ¼-ounce weight plus a 1/8-ounce jig
equals a 3/8-ounce float.

And here you go. Cast your presentation out and let it glide through the holes or slots. You do not want the jig to touch the bottom. Your float will tell you if this is the case by bobbing or going underwater. Adjust the bobber stop by 1-foot increments until you no longer touch the bottom on the drift. You are now in the strike zone. If the float goes down, set the hook!

There’s probably no more famous float fishing water than Reiter Ponds on the Skykomish River. It’s as if Mother Nature created the spot solely with the intention that steelheaders would one day discover the method works really, really well here. Again, watch and talk with other anglers. Watch where they cast, how long their line is from float to jig, etc. This is a popular place to fish and many winter-runs will be caught here this season.

While this tutorial was extremely brief, if you want to know more about float fishing, please read my book. If you want to talk to experts who can set you up within your budget, talk to Gabe Miller at SportCo in Fife and Brian Kim at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle (

“Send them down,” says Miller. “We’ll take care of them and set them up, no matter what their budget.” You don’t need to spend a fortune to get started steelheading, but once you catch that first one, plan on adding to your collection – like the rest of us! NS


Cowlitz River Rigging, Your Store For Stihl Products, Kioti Tractors, Filson And Carhartt

At Cowlitz River Rigging, our mission is to sell only the finest products and provide only the best customer service in the world!

Cowlitz River Rigging is a full service logging supply shop located in Longview, WA. We are stocked with over 19,000 square feet of logging tools, clothing, chain saws, and much more. We carry new and used logging equipment. We are a dealer for Filson and Carhartt clothing, as well as numerous other brands of logging clothing.


We are an elite Stihl Dealer with a full service chain saw shop and carry a full range of Stihl products including blowers, trimmers, and accessories.

We offer the complete line of Kioti tractors. Be sure to check out our services page. We offer fast and reliable service of your tractor by factory-trained technicians.

FishHunter 2 Apps Sonar

Fish Hunter

FishHunter is a completely portable smartphone fish finder that measures water depth and surface water temperature as it works to pinpoint fish. Manufactured with military grade specifications, the downward facing sonar transducer is securely wrapped inside a sealed, waterproof rubber ball. Using a high frequency transducer the FishHunter fish finder provides superior resolution and accuracy in all marine weather conditions.


Can’t remember where you caught that big one?

With FishHunter in your tackle box you gain access to military grade sonar technology, including GPS tracking, mapping and navigation to your best fishing spots. By tracking your spots you’ll never have to remember again.


Have you ever wondered what it looks like where you’re casting?

Take a few casts with FishHunter and you’ll see exactly what the bottom looks like, where the structure is, and where the fish are before you cast your lure. Right on your smartphone.


No matter how smart you are, your memory will never be as accurate as FishHunter!

You can keep detailed information on your catches, photos, type of fish, weight & length and bait used right inside our app. Now, who would dare say “you did not catch that big one”?

Finally a smartphone fish finder that’s actually smart.

Water Walls A Great Addition To Your Home, Office

Contractors are calling wall fountains one of the best new additions to home design. But who do you contact when you’re considering a wall fountain for your home or office? Luxe Water Walls is the exclusive reseller of Boss Fountains, which means you’ll enjoy significant, exclusive benefits.


Turn imagination into possibilities

All Boss fountains feature a superior water distribution system that removes many common maintenance concerns. You can turn them on and walk away. The fountain is completely self-contained, so you won’t have to refill the tank and you can even add a direct plumb option that will automatically refill your fountain. It’s performance that you’ll take for granted, but it’s impossible to ignore.


And when you choose Luxe Water Walls, you get a great product that is backed by some of the finest customer service professionals in the industry. Their customer service is second to none and every Boss Fountain is manufactured and crafted in North America. This means that your fountain will be created with a quality standard that is the highest in the industry.


Bring the great outdoors inside

One of the most stated reasons for wanting a home fountain is the desire for a soothing environment that brings the peace and tranquility of the outdoors inside. Luxe Water Walls are a unique gift idea for that person who has a passion for nature and the great outdoors. Everything about a Luxe Water Wall conveys the soothing elements of nature. From the full, uninterrupted sheet of water to the polished river rocks that give it the tranquil sound of a babbling brook, there are many reasons to find tranquility in these exceptional products.


When you visit, you can browse a large selection of wall fountains includes a gallery of custom fountains that are designed to exact specifications. A popular design option is our laser etching process that allows you to have a landscape or animal etched into the slate or other surface to make these even more dramatic. You simply provide us with an image, usually a photo, of what you want and our skilled artisans will bring it to life in a dramatic way. One of the best parts about working with Luxe Water Walls is the dedicated customer service professionals who take a personal interest in your project and keep you updated through every step of the process.


Before your fountain is etched, you’ll have an opportunity to review a rendering of the finished product. All projects are different, but it’s possible to have your fountain delivered within 2-3 weeks.


For more information, visit and be sure to find them on Facebook and follow them on Pinterest and Houzz.



New Lines Of Tinsel For Salmon-fly Tiers

UNI-Products, a world leader in the supply of spooled fly-tying materials, announces the addition of small and medium copper UNI-French Oval tinsel to their comprehensive selection of tinsel products. Among others, the new sizes will be appreciated by salmon-fly tiers wanting a more subdued look than that offered by gold or silver for their oval tinsel tags and ribs.


With the inclusion of the new sizes UNI is now able to offer UNI-French Oval in four colors and twelve sizes—silver (4), gold (4), copper (3) and pewter (1). In addition to regular single-color packaging, UNI offers a combo package with 20 spools of the most popular sizes of UNI-French Oval, UNI-French Embossed and UNI-French Wire.

Ask your local fly-shop for the new UNI-French Oval Copper sizes and visit our website for information about all our products.

Look to UNI-Products for the best in specialty fly-tying materials and accessories.


Makers Of The Ripchair, Howe And Howe ‘A World Leader In Extreme Vehicle Fabrication’

Howe and Howe Technologies, Inc., is a world leader in extreme vehicle fabrication and one of the foremost creators of advanced robotic platform solutions and applications.

HHlogo final


With a reputation for innovation, efficiency, and outstanding ethics, Howe and Howe Technologies continues to exceed expectations and impress industry and clients alike, from the U.S. Government to national utility companies to Hollywood movie makers.


It is the ability to approach a problem uniquely, and overcome any obstacle or challenge that a project presents, that has allowed Howe and Howe to show, time and again, that sharp minds with the right motivation can change the world.



For more, see these web pages:

hoochie kite

Wide-rolling, Drag-free Kitetail Flasher Works For Salmon, Trout, Even Halibut

Randy Sadler has been fishing most of his life. In fact, you could say that fishing IS his life. Raised in the small town of Tofino, on B.C.’s wild west coast, Randy began commercial fishing with his father when he was 14 years old and purchased his first troller at the age of 19. Today, 27 years later, he continues to support his wife and four sons by chasing salmon and tuna from the top of the Queen Charlottes to the Oregon coast.

Also an avid sports fisherman and an inventor at heart, Randy has never been afraid to try new ideas to improve his success at fishing, whether on the high seas or a quiet lake. Several years ago, he set out to design a lure that would be as effective as a conventional flasher, but would eliminate the unwanted drag and large size. Many prototypes and “practice” fishing trips later, the Kitetail was born.



Randy’s many years of experience, combined with his love and knowledge of both commercial and sport fishing, has resulted in an effective product.This lightweight, adjustable, drag-free lure is versatile for many species of fish. He is excited to pass the Kitetail on to other fishers, so that they too can enjoy its benefits and success!

“For 33 years I have fished salmon, halibut, trout, etc., watching fish drag behind the boat. Perfecting an alternative to the full-sized flasher was my goal,” says Sadler.

Unlike any other product on the market, the new Kitetail Flasher not only imparts the same wide rolling action as a full-size commercial flasher, it is also less than one-third the size, lightweight and completely drag-free when a fish is hooked.

hoochie kite

Originally designed, tested and perfected for targeting salmon and halibut on the high seas, the Kitetail has also proven highly effective for trout and other freshwater game fish, making it a versatile addition to any tackle box. It can be trolled with hoochies, small spoons, anchovy, etc.

Put the “sport” back in sport fishing and let ’em run wild with a drag-free Kitetail Flasher!


Submit your Kitetail Lure story and be entered to win $100 in prizes from Method Marine Supply Ltd. and Kitetail Lures!

Draw date: July 30, 2014

Kitetail Lures
Box 137; Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Ph# 250.725.2129; Fax: 250.725.2996


Genesis Automotive & RV Repair, Your Home For High Quality Auto, RV, Generator Repair Work In Tacoma

Genesis Automotive & RV Repair, Inc., is your home for the highest quality automobile, RV and generator service and repairs in Tacoma, Wash., and the surrounding Northwest! We are also a certified ONAN generator repair facility.

Genesis Automotive & RV Repair is locally owned and operated providing reliable services since 1993. We provide an honest service for our customers and their vehicles, always treating our customers with the utmost respect and professionalism.


Today’s automobiles and RV’s are technologically advanced, and our goal is to keep our technicians up on the current technology so that we will be the leader in repair services in Washington.  To assure this we require that they obtain a minimum of 40 hours a year of continued education. Our technicians are very well trained and provided with a clean, safe work environment which leads to happy employees who do an outstanding job.

Please call to set an appointment or with any questions you have (253) 948-4844.


Pat’s Backcountry Beverages Lets You Pack Beer Anywhere Your Feet Can Take You

Tired of not having beer during sporting adventures because of its weight?

Well, Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has the answer for you!


They’ve created the world’s first craft beer concentrate along with a portable beverage carbonator that’s sure to make you the most popular guy or gal at camp! Bring beer ANYWHERE!

Available at

Funtime RV In Tualatin Features ‘Superb’ Locally Built Models, And Is ‘Committed To Our Customers’

Funtime RV Inc. has been in the RV business almost 20 years. We have grown because of our excellent reputation and superb products. We truly believe in under-promising and over-delivering to our customers. They always express their experience as the best they have ever had, and would gladly refer family and friends to us.


Also, as a locally owned dealership we have superb products. That gives us a very good representation of what customers are buying today. We are almost exclusive Forest River, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, dealers, so we carry a lot of travel trailers and fifth wheels built in nearby Dallas, Ore. That reduces cost to our customers and it allows us to support the local economy as well. Plus, when we pick up RVs built there ourselves, not having to pay freight cost keeps our prices down.

The product that we carry that are built in the Western Oregon town are the Salem, the Surveyor, the RPod, and the Wildcats. Other Forest River products we carry are Cardinals, Blue Ridge, which are fifth wheels, while our motorhomes are Sunseekers, Soleras, F3s, Georgetowns and the Legacy diesel pusher. Plus, we have toyhauler Sandstorms and XLRs.

We are committed to our customers and want them to know they are important to us.

We are located at 18605 SW Pacific Drive, Tualatin, OR 97062

Our website is; our phone number is 866-925-9620; and you can email us through our contact page.