Chasing Ontario Steelhead with Dave Naluz

Dave Naluz is an avid trout angler in Ontario. After talking with him, it became obvious he has a real passion for steelhead fishing. Dave is kind enough to discuss his steelhead fishing with us. He talks about the equipment he uses for chasing big fish with a Center Pin rod and reel. Lots of good stuff here. So, keep reading to learn all about Dave…

It doesn’t take long on your Instagram page to see you are a trout guy. What do you love about trout fishing?

Trout was the first fish I can remember going after as a child. My uncle took me out to a trout farm and I remember having such a blast. As I grew older I found out that there were migratory trout in the tributaries of Southern Ontario, I would ask my parents to drop me off at the river and I would spend hours fishing, watching other anglers and exploring the banks. I’ve fished for other species as a child, bass, walleye, perch, catfish, but none of them gave a better fight than a steelhead or salmon. I also find that steelhead are some of the most difficult species to catch as so many factors will contribute to a successful outing, I find the challenge of hooking into one extremely gratifying.

You are a centerpin fisherman. When and why did you get started with centerpin fishing?

Originally I started with a spinning rod and reel like most kids, but then I got into fly fishing which is what I thought everyone was doing. I met a lot of fly fisherman on the rivers and they would give me pointers on casting, drifting, swinging, presentation etc and it was fun and all but then I noticed that there were a different group of anglers catching fish at a much higher rate than me and my friends.

I learned about the centerpin again from anglers on the river and made friends with them. At first I was hesitant to switch but after a year or so of getting out fished every time I went out I decided to try my hand at it. I’ve probably been using centerpin for almost 15 years now and haven’t looked back at any other type of fishing when it comes to targeting steelhead.

Did you find it difficult to learn? What were the biggest challenges?

I found the learning curve pretty easy as I came from a fly fishing background. Having no drag took a little getting used to but it wasn’t all that hard. Probably the hardest thing about using a centerpin is casting. Again since I had come from a fly fishing background and had many friends that I met on the river learning was quick and easy for me, but I can understand why casting can sometimes be a daunting task for beginners.

What is your favorite centerpin rod and reel combination?

Currently I am running a custom tied CTS Affinity 4-8 13ft float rod that has Titanium YSG Fuji guides. I also have another custom tied CTS Affinity 3-6 float rod that I use in the spring for drop backs and spring run fish. My reel at the moment is a 5 inch Kingpin Zepplin but am looking to upgrade to a custom reel.

I love the CTS affinity blanks because of the power to weight ratio and the overall crispness of the rod. I used to think a rod is a rod and a reel is a reel and having a more expensive one isn’t going to catch me more fish, and this is true but until you fish a high quality blank and reel you don’t know what you are missing out on. All my rods are tied by Chris Speil of Spiel Custom rods in Hamilton, Ontario. In my opinion the best custom rod builder in all of Ontario.

dave-n-02What is your favorite species of trout to chase?

My favourite species of trout to chase is definitely migratory trout or steelhead, specifically the skamania, summer run steelhead, strain found in Lake Michigan and the Pacific North West. The amount of energy these fish posses is out of this world, fighting one is so exhilarating.

What are your favorite trout waters?

I mainly fish the waters of Southern Ontario as that is where I live my favourite water around me is probably the Credit River as that is my home waters and where I grew up and learned everything about fishing for migratories.

There is also the Big Head River in Meaford Ontario as the most beautiful in terms of scenery and quality of fish. I find that the strain steelhead out of Georgian Bay are much better fighters than anything we have coming out of Lake Ontario even though Lake Ontario on average will produce bigger fish.

Biggest trout so far in 2016? What is the fish story behind it?

The largest fish of 2016 was a 12 pound steelhead out of the Credit river just after ice out in February. The temperature was above freezing but there was a lot of slush still flowing down the river. Fishing was slow at first but as the water warmed up fish started to become active. I was drifting a chartreuse coloured bead between the ice chunks when suddenly my float started darting up river. She gave me a good 10 minute fight up and down the pool before I was able to land her.

Thank you Dave. If you would like to follow Dave, check him out on Instagram.

1 thought on “Chasing Ontario Steelhead with Dave Naluz”

Comments are closed.