Steelhead Bum, Bill Herzog

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Steelhead Bum, Bill Herzog

Steelhead Bum: Bill Herzog

If ever there were a steelhead bum Bill Herzog would be it. He eats and breathes steelhead and because of it he has caught arguably more steelhead than any person alive. And when it comes to landing big, trophy steelhead, he has  no equal. Salmon & Steelhead Journal caught up with him and posed a series of questions. His answers are simple, straightforward and insightful. Read on. You might just learn something.

Name: Bill Herzog


Celebrating my 23rd anniversary of 30 years.


Tacoma, Washington (when rivers are out of shape).


Radio personality, freelance writer, professional bowler.

Number of 30# steelhead landed:


Number of 20# steelhead landed:


Number of steelhead landed:

In the thousands.

Favorite Destination River for big steelhead: 

Babine River. No other even close.

Favorite Home State River for big steelhead:

Upper Quinault.

Most Effective Method:

Trick question. The most effective method always depends on conditions. Favorite, hands down, is the BC Steel spoon.

Tackle Setup:

10-foot rod rated for 8 to 15 pounds. Old school Shimano 201 reel, 15-pound mainline, small ball bearing swivel, #5 split ring, 2/5 ounce 50/50 (silver/gold plate) spoon, 2/0 Ultra Point barbless siwash.

How to Fish it:

Cast across or slightly down from your position. Let your mind’s eye picture its position in the water column. Tighten up just enough until the spoon begins to “thump” … reel ‘til you feel … hold the rod at 10 o’clock, just enough tension to keep the lure wobbling but not so much it drops to the deck or pulls upward and begins to spin. Then brace yourself, the grab is borderline orgasmic.

Years Steelhead Fishing:

41. Yes. 41. Sheeesh.

Steelhead Idol:

Two people: Milt Keizer (the O.G. Spoonman) for pure technique and Roderick Haig-Brown for all my river philosophies.

What I Know About Steelhead Fishing:

Simplistic as it may sound, they have to be where you are presenting. Knowing where steelhead are under a certain condition is 90 percent more important than chosen technique. Keep a detailed journal. My personal, final thought is to be a true steelheader you should challenge yourself to taking a fish with the most difficult technique for the conditions, yet still have reasonable chance for it to work.

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