There are 3 things you must ask yourself before you decide if the section of river you are fishing is “Steelhead water” and will you have a chance of catching these magnificent fish.
1.) Adequate depth to protect the fish from predators, boaters, and anglers. Rarely will you find a fish in water less than 2 1/2 feet, try focusing on water that is in the 3-15 foot range.
2.) Current Velocity, the best current speed is anywhere from a slow walking pace, to a slow jogging speed. Remember Steelhead want to get from point A to point B using the least amount of energy required. They don’t want to be battling rapids, but they like a little water disturbance.
3.) River bottom structure, Steelhead DO NOT like sand. Sand irritates a Steelhead’s gills. They will rarely hold in sandy bottoms. Instead look for structure that consists of small to medium sized boulders. These could be the size of a baseball, basketball, or bigger. Also, Cutbanks, Ledges, Depressions, Channels and Logs are also great assets.