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Indicators Anonymous
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I was reading Dana's review of the Loop and he mentioned that P. Stadigh and him were discussing the similarities and the differences between fishing for each species.

I was very curious as to those who have fished for both, what are your opinions of each fish. How does fishing for each species differ? How does the behavior and timing for each species differ? How do their fights and the thrill of each fish differ??

Just curious...thought it would make for a very good discusion.

:)
 
J

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I've fished for both, though I've spent more time chasing steelies. The biggest difference I notice is the speed of the fly. One is usually trying to slow down the drift of your fly when steelhead fishing. Almost all mending is done to either reposition your fly or to slow it down. When I make my one or two trips a year for Atlantics it takes awhile before I'm comfortable with the faster swing usually required for them. You'll often end up mending to increase the speed of your fly rather than slowing it down.

The fight seems to vary as much from river to river and in different water temps than between the two species. They also don't necessarily position themselves the same way in the river. The most common example of this is that Atlantics will far more often be in front of a rock in the faster water, while a steelhead will usually be behind a rock looking for slower water. I also find, especially here in the midwest, that steelhead spend more time, particularly very early in the day, in very shallow water near the bank. In my admittedly limited experience, that is not nearly as common with Atlantics.
 

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I find more difference in the rivers they inhabit than in the species. In some rivers on the Gaspé they seem to like a fly that moves faster with a down stream mend, others prefer a slower drift, more like what's been described above as steelhead swing. In New Brunswick, I've generally found slow moving drifts to be more productive.

Most of my steelhead (wet) have come to slower swinging flies, although faster moving "waked" dries have worked — and even in instances they've not actually taken the fly, the fish will then often come to a wet at a similar speed.

The Atlantics I've taken on dries, have been to absolutely dead drift dries and I've had fish come up 5' or more to some of those. I've not raised one on a waked fly, although I've used it less.

I find the fish very similar. I've had spectacular aerial battles with both; long, fast runs with both; and "loggy" fish of both species.
 
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