Steelhead and Smallmouth together again oh my! Like the coming Total Lunar Eclipse it doesn't happen but on a very rare occasion, we have steelhead and smallmouth runs coinciding. With the changing of the seasons being so far behind this year (3-4 weeks behind schedule) the spring spawning runs of both the steelhead and smallmouth bass is overlapping this year. Which means getting to target two of the biggest brawlers at once. For the angler, there is not a much more enjoyable outing available as you get to pursue two of the most fierce fish that our Great Lakes produce.
As for the steelhead, we have all 3 modes going on: fresh fish entering the system daily, actively spawning fish, and dropbacks exiting the system. With these fish you can target them in various ways such as nymphing with both insect patterns and egg patterns. The dropbacks are looking for meat, so swinging a fly or stripping a streamer will provide some potentially explosive takes.
The smallmouth have just started entering the system and are reacting very well to stripped streamer but as the water temperatures continue to climb the surface bite will become a fantastic way to spend an evening on the water.
Pro tip: Get out the streamers or buggers (but just about anything will do). Add a heavy, heavy 10' sink tip and go target the deeper holes. Swing or strip. I find just doing a lazy swing does really well (especially with a large white bugger or baitfish pattern). You'll find both dropback steelhead and smallmouth mingling together and have a good chance at both.