The growing popularity of bead fishing has totally changed the way anglers chase Salmon and Steelhead in Northern Michigan. Beads are a highly effective and very realistic egg imitation that anglers can use in place of more traditional yarn flies. What most anglers love about bead fishing is the minimal investment in hooks. As they rigging is entirely modular with hooks being independent of beads, anglers can carry a pack or two of hooks for the day and be set for a day on the water. Of course there is some enjoyment in the seemingly endless color options bead manufacturers have put out for us all to choose from.
Here is what you will need to get started fishing beads for Michigan Salmon and Steelhead:
Typically, we like to carry a variety of colors in both 8mm & 10mm for varying water conditions. When water is up and dirty, it's effective to present a larger bead that the fish can easily see. In normal water conditions, 8mm is the standard in our fisheries. Early in the spawn most anglers will be fishing brighter red and orange beads to match fresh eggs. Eggs change color after they have been deposited which is why you'll see anglers with a vast array of colors on hand. We like to carry beads in: natural roe, glow roe, cheese, egg yoke, cream, and clown.
Pegs allow anglers the affix beads to their line. Although there are knots that can be used, we always prefer pegs as they allow a straight connection to the hook. Though most pegs come in a translucent white, other colors are available so anglers can create a "blood dot" effect.
A good strong hook is important, all salmon and steelhead fisherman can agree on this. We trust hooks from Gamakatsu such as the C14S egg hooks and Octopus models. While a standard clinch knot will secure egg hooks, a snell knot can be used with octopus (up eye) models which will maintain a straight connection and often better hook-up rates.