November 15, 2011
By Matt Straw
We're on the road, tracking molten steel. The bite's that hot. The trail blazes deep into the forests of Wisconsin, but I promised to check in. I've tied tomorrow's baits and feasted on trout goujonettes with curried couscous preprared right here in the "steelhead cave," so I have about 5 minutes to talk about jigs before I crash and begin dreaming about tomorrow's bite.
Today, Mary and I hooked more than 25 steelhead and took a few bonus browns. If you live just outside the Great Lakes region and ever thought you'd like to try fall or winter steelheading, this would be the year. Guides from one end of the system to the other are having banner seasons already.
The sporty unit in the photo above jolted a 1/32-ounce, TC Tackle steelhead jig (406/683-5485). All the rain this fall has the rivers brown as soil from harvested and tilled fields is washed away. I painted this one glow orange with Pro-Tec Powder Paint. Glow colors from the sunset side of the spectrum (orange, yellow, pink, red) take steel from brown rivers. The paint itself is creating light, illuminating the sediment in the flow all around the jig. The resulting halo is the brightest thing you could put down there.
This brownie fell for the same glow jig. Glow works whenever rivers have less than 18 inches of visibility and it works at night. Except in Wisconsin, where you will be ticketed for fishing steelhead between sunset and sunrise. Which has nothing to do with glow paint. Intensity of light varies quite a bit between the different colors. As the water clears, the lighter that intensity should be.
Mary was using jigs painted with lime-green nail polish at the same time and keeping up. Obviously, glow wasn't a necessity today. But it can be a critical tool for making presentations more visible when rivers are swollen with rain and sediment.
The brown police never sleep? zzzzzzzz.