The hook you use for steelhead matters. I know this because I’m a fishing guide, and I have tested out dozens of hooks. The best hooks for steelhead are ones that have a high hooking and holding percentage. This means they hook better and hold onto the fish better.
My first experience with anglers being picky was shortly after I opened up my fishing tackle store, and guys were coming in looking for specific hooks. Then this guy walks in and wants me to order him 1000 hooks, all the same style, but in a couple of sizes.
When I asked him why he wanted so many hooks, he explained he was buying for a bunch of guys who lived in an area where they couldn’t get them, and this one particular hook was what they all caught their steelhead on. He said it hooks well and holds well.
So I ordered his hooks and got some extra for myself to try. These hooks quickly became one of my favorite hooks when guiding, and I’ve netted over a thousand steelhead on that hook since.
Since then, I have been out fishing with some very skilled anglers and fishing guides and I have narrowed down the four best hooks for steelhead fishing.
The hooks I and other fishing guides use for float fishing are below
The Best Hooks For Steelhead
- Raven Specimen hook – Best all-around hook for West Coast and Great Lakes steelhead.
- Daiichi 1150 – This is a proven light-wire hook for Great Lakes Steelhead.
- Raven Sedge Hook – This is very similar to the Daiichi 1150 but less expensive, and I use this more than the Daiichi now.
- Gamakatsu Octopus hook – This is a very popular and well-liked hook that is very similar to the Raven Specimen.
- Raven Specialist hook – Another good hook by Raven
- Redwing Tackle Blackbird Sabretooth Hook – Similar to the Gamakatsu Octopus hook and liked by many Great Lakes anglers.
What Hook Size For Steelhead?
My rule of thumb is to use a hook that is proportionate to the bait that you are using. A larger bait gets a larger hook, and a smaller bait gets a smaller hook.
If you use a giant hook on a tiny single egg, the steelhead will see it and likely avoid it, meaning fewer bites.
However, if you use a tiny hook on a very large bait, your hooking percentage is low, meaning more bites but fewer fish landed.
Match the hook to the bait, and be sure you are using the best steelhead bait, and you are good to go.
I may also use a smaller, lighter wire hook when fishing very clear water or fishing for spooked fish.
I will often upsize my hook in dirtier or faster water where the fish grab the bait fast and don’t inspect the bait and hook.
Pro Tip: Larger hooks tend to hold fish on better but do not overdo it, or you may get fewer bites.
Conclusion To Best Hooks For Steelhead
There are many hooks you could use for steelhead fishing, but you would be wise to use proven hooks that have been tested in all situations and with all types of steelhead baits. Stick to what works.