The leaves are starting to change and the temperature in Northwest Pennsylvania is decreasing. These two signs alone point to the start of fall, but even more so, the start of the fall steelhead season. For the most seasoned anglers, spoons are a great way to attract early-season steelhead, but beginners should not be discouraged. Casting spoons for steelhead is a great way to ease into fishing and have a higher chance of catching something every time you cast out.
A spoon, in general terms, is a piece of metal with a split ring and at least two single or treble hooks attached to its lower edge. Spoons can be used when trolling, off of planer boards and off of downriggers. One of the more popular uses in the Great Lakes region is casting from shore.
Spoons are available in multiple color combinations, as well as different sizes and shapes. For steelhead, the best color combinations are generally more natural, like gold or silver paired with blues, greens or oranges. The most popular shapes for steelhead fishing are oblong and teardrop.
Typically, early in the season, steelhead in the creeks and tributaries of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes are more aggressive, looking for something flashier and faster to catch their attention. Regardless of where you’re fishing, there are two main attributes an angler can change when trying to find the perfect spoon for their area. The first being the size of the spoon and the second being the retrieval speed and technique.
Dirty, muddy water calls for a larger spoon (creating a bigger flash and producing more sound), while a smaller spoon can seem more natural to fish in low, clear water. Keep in mind, most decisions having to do with sizes and colors of spoons should be based on the baitfish native to your local region. Usually, natural colors (blues, silvers, greens) will work anywhere in the United States for steelhead.
The second variation an angler can maximize for their potential catch is the speed and technique used to cast and retrieve the spoon. Different types of retrieval include a slow retrieve or a start and stop retrieve. Changing the retrieval of the spoon can help keep fish interested and potentially attract more fish.
Spoons are a very popular lure for steelhead all over the country because you can cover a lot of water and also cast them a far distance without too much effort. Spoons also allow anglers the ease of not having to carry bait (either live or artificial) or other items typically used for steelhead fishing with any other type of lure.
There are a few special qualities spoons hold over other lure types like their unique action, the flash of the spoon and the slight variations in body bends. Most spoons are made from a hardened metal like stainless steel, tungsten or tin. The weight distribution, hook size and hook location make a huge difference when looking at the quality of a spoon. Some of the best steelhead spoons at FishUSA are Moonshine Spoons, KO Wobblers, Little Cleos and Kastmasters.
The best setup for your spoon is pairing it with a fluorocarbon leader, which limits visibility in the clearest water. Adding a swivel on the end will also allow for the spoon to create the best and most natural action possible.
The fall steelhead season is a great time to experiment with spoons. They are easy to cast and almost always bring something in. Remember to stick with natural color combinations and appropriately-sized spoons. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned angler, steelhead fishing with spoons will help create the enjoyable and, hopefully, successful outing you want.