What Size Hook For Steelhead Fishing

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What can get a bit confusing with steelhead, is that this fish belongs to the same species as rainbow trout, but acts much more like a salmon. So, for those of you who are wondering, a steelhead is technically a trout. Either way, if you plan on reeling in one of these magnificent creatures, you will need the right gear. So, what size hook for steelhead is best?

If you are going for a good general hook size for all steelhead, size #4 is a good option to consider, although for larger steelhead, many people use size #2 hooks, and others even go so far as to use size 1/0 hooks. Just remember that the size of hook you use doesn’t just depend on the fish being angled for, but also the bait being used.


Does Hook Size Matter With A Steelhead?

Yes, what size of hook you use for steelhead does matter, and realistically the size of hook you use matters no matter the kind if fish you are going for.

First and foremost, many people do catch and release steelhead, which means that smaller hooks tend to be better from a humaneness standpoint, because they cause much less damage to the fish than larger hooks.

With that being said, if you are looking to catch and keep a steelhead, then a slightly larger hook is probably best.

Something that you do always need to keep in mind when it comes to fish hooks, is that the size of the hook is important in terms of both the hook set and the presentation.

Generally speaking, larger hooks will hold onto bait better, and they usually allow for a more solid hook set too.

However, if the hook is too large, it will ruin the presentation, because the fish will be able to clearly see the hook underneath the bait, thus potentially scaring it away.

With all of that said, if the fish in question are not particularly scared or skittish, and your main goal is to land a big steelhead, then a large hook is probably best, with the size #2 and the 1/0 generally being best.

What Kind Of Hook Do You Use For Steelhead?

Of course, there are a few different types of hooks that you can use for steelhead, but there is one specific type that is usually considered best, and this is the wide gap hook, particularly for float fishing.

Trout really like to come feed at the surface, which makes float fishing one of the best ways to catch them.
For the most part, the wide gap hook is considered best for float fishing, particularly in terms of the type of bait that is most often used for steelhead fishing.

For steelhead fishing, wide gap hooks allow for a great presentation that should not scare them away, they are great for holding onto bait, and due to their shape, they allow for an easy and solid hook set too.

Best Steelhead Hooks To Use

Besides the wide gap hook, there are also a few other kinds of hooks that you can use for steelhead fishing, and these include the following.

Octopus Hook

Octopus hooks are fantastic if you are fishing in an area where the fish are skittish and will not readily bite.

Octopus hooks are fantastic for holding onto bait, and they allow for a very natural presentation that should not scare the fish away.

Just make sure that it is a high-quality octopus hook, so that it does not bend when fighting a large steelhead.

Circle Hook

Going to the other end of the spectrum, if what you want is a hook that will allow for a very fast and easy hook set, more or less without any effort required on your end, then the aptly named circle hook is a great way to go.

That said, circle hooks are probably not the best in terms of achieving a natural presentation.

Baitholder Hook

In the sense of allowing for a very natural presentation, as well as being ideal for the use of live bait, there is usually nothing better than a good old baitholder hook.

How Do You Rig A Bead For Steelhead?

Something you may be wondering is why some people put red or orange beads on their fishing lines when angling for fish such as steelhead.

The main reason is so that things like sinkers and bobbers cannot move up and down the fishing line.

When sinkers move on the fishing line, they often slam into the knots used to tie the lines together, and this can cause damage to the knots.

Beads can also help bobbers to stay in the proper position. The other reason why people use orange or red beads is because they look like fish eggs, and yes, fish like steelhead love eating fish eggs.

So, how do you rig a bead onto your fishing line for steelhead?

  1. Get your leader line and thread the bead onto the line.
  2. Tie the hook onto the end of the line.
  3. About an inch above the hook, affix the bead to the leader using a bead peg (small piece of silicone that you shove in between the hole of the bead and the line). This will hold the bead in place.

Best Bead Size For Steelhead

If you are fishing for salmon or steelhead, then the best size of bead to go with are size #1 and the size 1/0 (use the larger bead for larger hooks and baits).



Now that you know exactly what type and size of hook to use for steelheads, as well as how to deal with those pesky beads, your chances of catching one should be greatly improved.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.