Fishing With Beads: 5 Guide Tips For More Fish

Fishing With Beads

I have been guiding and fishing with beads for steelhead, trout, and salmon for over 20 years and trout beads are still one of my most effective baits. In this article, I will share my best trout bead types, sizes, colors, and rigging methods along with a tip on changing trout beads quickly and easily.

Fishing with trout beads is a great way to catch more trout and steelhead in rivers because trout beads imitate the fish eggs that trout and steelhead love to eat. Fishing with trout beads has become very popular and is a great alternative to using real fish eggs as bait.

Some call them steelhead beads, others call them trout beads, and some just call them beads. Beads come in glass or plastic and they come in a few sizes with lots of great color options. There are also some hooks that work well with beads that you should know about and I discuss all of this below.

Fishing With Beads The Right Way

I and many river guides around the great lakes region will have their clients fishing with trout beads when targeting trout, steelhead, and salmon in rivers simply because trout beads can be very effective when other baits just don’t seem to be working.

I think it’s the way we rig them and the fact that a tiny little bead is less intrusive than other bigger or more popular baits, and sometimes, especially when fish are being heavily pressured, or bombarded by many large spawn sacs, a less intrusive baits is required to get them to bite.

Knowing how to set the trout beads up and when to fish with trout beads is important which is why I will give you the same tips and advice on fishing with trout beads that I give to my clients and friends.

I will show you how to rig them up, the different ways to fish with beads, as well as what hooks to use when fishing with beads.

Fishing With Beads
Fishing with beads is good for steelhead, trout, and salmon

This article is a combination of fishing with beads for trout, steelhead, and salmon because I fish them all the with the same methods and rigging.

The only difference is that I might use a much bigger and stronger hook when fishing for salmon than I would when fishing for little brook trout, but both brook trout and salmon will eat the same sized bead and therefore they can be fished the same way.

I may also fish trout beads a little differently based on bigger or smaller rivers and will often use lighter lines for trout. I discuss my specific methods for trout on my page Bead Fishing For Trout – Easy Guide Secrets.

Steelhead Beads – Also Known As Trout Beads

Some anglers will know them as trout beads because there is a brand that I use called TroutBeads and also because they are used for trout fishing.

Other anglers will refer to them as steelhead beads but whatever you call them they are all basically the same thing and they can be used for fishing for trout, steelhead and can also be great for salmon.

Trout and steelhead beads are hard and come with a very small hole in them so they can be slid up the line and fastened onto the line and not onto the hook. There are also soft trout beads and I will discuss them and their pros and cons.

Steelhead Bead Sizes

Steelhead beads come in 4 different sizes which are good for clear to dirty water situations. A 6mm bead is about the size of a typical egg from a brown trout or rainbow trout and an 8mm bead is the size of a typical salmon egg.

I and many other anglers tend to use the 8mm beads the most around the great lakes rivers where salmon exist but this size will also work in any river whether salmon exist or not. The 8mm size is good for clear to slightly colored water conditions and in faster water situations.

The bigger trout beads get seen better in faster flows and therefore get picked up by the trout more often.

I will drop down to the smaller 6mm steelhead beads under very clear water conditions or during the spring when the steelhead or rainbow trout are spawning.

If the water becomes dirtier or is slightly off-colored I will go up to a 10mm or even the 12 mm steelhead bead size. I rarely fish the 12mm beads unless I’m fishing very big fast water or it’s very dirty.

Best Steelhead Bead Colors

The best steelhead bead colors are often shades of yellows, oranges, and pinks, however, the colors that will work the best will depend on the clarity of the water and the light conditions.

Mottled Trout Beads
Mottled and blood-dot colored beads are popular with anglers that fish with beads.

Different brands of trout beads will have different names for their colors. I cover those best colors down below in the section on plastic steelhead beads and glass steelhead beads.

Trout bead colors can also come with some unique patterns.

Common patterns are mottled trout beads which give the bead a cloudy or milky look. Some trout beads also come in what is called blood dot beads which have a red painted dot on the beads which is thought to attract the fish.

Best Hooks For Beads

Steelhead bead Hooks
Steelhead bead hooks should be small enough to not be seen and to allow the bead to flow naturally

Fishing with trout beads requires the right hook size and shape and some of the best hooks for fishing with beads are the Raven Sedge Hook or the Raven Specimen hooks.

I use the same hooks for steelhead as I do for trout but I change the sizes of hooks based on the size of the trout bead, the speed of the current, the depth of the spot, and the clarity of the river.

I use hooks between a size 8 and a size 12 for both steelhead, trout, and salmon. I rarely go smaller than a size 12.

There is no need or benefit to go to a hook smaller than a size 12 even if the steelhead bead is as small as a 6mm bead.

I prefer not to use a hook bigger than a size 8 in clear or slow-moving water because hooks bigger than that can weigh the trout bead down too much preventing a natural-looking drift, and also because the fish might see the hook and not hit the bead.

If I had to choose one hook size for all trout beads and for all conditions I would go with a size 10 Raven sedge hook. The reason this is my go-to hook is that it’s a great hook when I need a stealthy lightweight hook but will it also work in dirtier water.

However, I find that the Raven Specimen hook does hold onto fish better so I use it when a stealthy hook is not required.

I also use the Specimen hooks or a stronger hook when fishing for salmon. The Raven Sedge hooks are not strong enough for salmon.

There are other great hooks that I would use with trout beads and there are some bad hooks that I would never use. Check out the best hooks that I use which are also tested and proven to work well with steelhead beads, see them on my Best Hooks page

In dirtier or faster water I may up-size my trout bead to a size 6 or maybe even a size 4 because the extra weight of the bigger hook can help you get your bead down to the fish faster.

In dirtier and faster water it’s less likely that a fish will see the hook too so a big hook works. The other reason I may go to a bigger hook in faster and dirtier water is that a bigger hook tends to hold better once the fish is hooked.

If you find that you are hooking and fighting fish but a lot of them are coming off, meaning the hook tears out, you probably need a bigger hook or you need a different hook shape.

Some of the best hooks for beads are:

Steelhead Beads – Fishing For Steelhead With Beads

Fishing with trout beads for steelhead is no different than fishing with beads for trout or salmon unless the water that you are fishing is different.

Very small trout streams may require a slightly different setup and presentation in a 5 foot by 5-foot spot that is only 2 feet deep, compared to a bigger steelhead spot that has lots of current speed in a 20 foot wide, 100-foot long spot.

If I’m fishing with trout beads on bigger rivers I will use a float to suspend the beads just off the bottom.

The float allows me to drift the trout beads down to the fish, control the speed of the bait, and it allows me to cover the water well.

There is a lot more to float fishing than just watching the float drift down the river, and anglers that understand this will catch far more fish. There is a reason why fishing guides do things a certain way. Check out my float fishing page so you know how to do this well.

If you are going to use a float, which to some is known as a bobber, I recommend using the right bobber size and style for river fishing. If you use the wrong float you may limit how many fish you will catch. . Check out my Best Floats page.

I will use the same steelhead beads, the same hooks, and often the same presentation for trout, steelhead, and for salmon and only change the way I’m fishing with beads based on the type of water, speed, and depth.

Trout Beads – Fishing For Trout

Fishing with trout beads is a great way to catch steelhead but because some trout rivers can be much smaller, they will require adjustments in your presentation and in your setup so you catch more trout.

Fishing With Beads For Trout
Trout fishing with beads may require a bottom bouncing rig presentation

Since using floats in shallower runs and pools doesn’t always work so well, the best method for trout fishing with beads in this type of water is to use an advanced bottom bouncing method. You can see how to do this on my page on Bottom Bouncing.

With the advanced bottom bouncing method, you can easily adjust for shallow waters that are 1 foot deep to spots that are over 4 feet deep with nothing more than lifting and lowering your rod tip. You are also able to fish 3 foot long pockets or 25 foot long pools using this bottom bouncing method.

Plastic Beads

An assortment of beads for steelhead, Salmon and trout

Plastic trout beads are by far the most common types of steelhead beads because they are readily available and they are cheaper than glass beads.

I use the Trout Beads brand with great success and mostly use the 8mm size.

Plastic steelhead beads also come in lots of great colors and 3 or 4 good sizes.

When trout fishing with beads I prefer the plastic ones because the rivers are not as deep and the plastic beads don’t need to get down as deep. This is helpful because you don’t want to drag the bottom with your trout bead.

The best plastic beads are from a brand called TroutBeads and you can get them at Bass Pro Shops – HERE or at FishUSA – HERE

Clear Water
Use: 6mm and 8mm

Medium Clear Water
Use: Size 8mm is best

Dirty Water
Use: Size 10mm or 12mm

Peach Roe

Egg Yolk



Natural Roe

Hot Cherry Roe

Glow Roe


Peach Fuzz

Gold Roe

Apricot Swirl

Mottled Natural Roe

Gold Roe


Milt Roe


Glass Beads

Some anglers swear that glass beads are much better at catching trout, steelhead, and salmon than plastic trout beads, and in my opinion, glass beads probably are better than plastic beads, but only because of a fault in the angler’s presentation.

Glass Beads For Fishing
Glass beads like these ones from Creek Candy Company are great for trout and steelhead.

Glass beads are much heavier than plastic beads so they get down fast.

I do not believe that glass beads are actually better than plastic beads for any other reason then they sink and get into the strike zone faster and they stay there longer.

If that is the only reason why glass beads are catching more fish, then anglers that are catching more fish on glass beads might have a problem with their leader setup or their presentation and that could be causing them to miss fish when using other baits.

If you are catching more on glass beads than plastic beads, you might want to consider that there is something wrong with the way you are presenting your bait and figure out how to fix this so you will catch more fish when using lighter baits.

If you have to rely on a heavy bait to catch more fish you may be missing out on fish with other lighter baits.

Other than the weight, glass trout beads and plastic trout beads are the same! They feel the same, they even look identical to me and to the fish, they are both hard as a rock, and they both do not have a scent that would attract more fish.

There is no other reason for glass beads catching more fish than the plastic beads except for them getting deeper or maybe having a slightly different sound when bumping the rocks on the bottom which could be a possibility except that anglers fishing sandy bottom rivers with glass beads also claim better results with glass beads.

If you are catching more fish on glass beads I recommend considering increasing your depths with other lighter baits and getting those baits deeper with more weight on the leader which will likely improve your success with them.

This may mean your will need to set up your leaders better so that you can get any bait down and deeper just like the heavy glass beads do. Check out my leader setup page.

Trout bead colors and bead sizes can make a big difference when fishing with beads and will affect how many fish you catch. In clear water, I use a smaller beads in natural colors, and in dirty water I will use bright colors and bigger beads.

The best trout beads on the market come from CreekCandy Bead Company and you can get them at

When fishing with beads, I change my sizes based on the conditions. See the chart below for sizing and the best colors to use.

The Best Glass Steelhead Beads Are:

Clear Water
Size: 6mm and 8mm

Medium Clear Water
Size: 8mm and 10mm

Dirty Water - 12 inches or less vizability
Size: 10mm or 12mm

Clearwater Candy Corn

Natural Honey

Frosty Chartreuse Hyper UV

Clearwater Atomic Peach

Tequila Sunrise

Blood Shot Embryo

Clearwater White Widow Hyper HD UV

Blood Shot Candy Corn

Clearwater Atomic Chartreuse Hyper HD UV

Frosty Brown Roe Hyper UV

Bow Roe Hyper UV

Natural Sucker Egg

Toxic Berry Hyper UV

Blood Shot Candy Corn

Trout Crack Hyper UV

Securing Beads To The Line

Trout Bead Pegz
These trout bead pegs are a great way to secure the bead to the line

You can secure the beads to the line using what are called rubber bead pegs. You can also secure the bead with a toothpick, or with bobber stops, or even with small rubber bands.

For proper bead placement see below in the bead rigs section.

Check out the rubber band method on YouTube. If you like this method you will need this banding tool from FishUSA.

There are also some knots that anglers will use to secure the beads to the line. You can see the bead knot method on YouTube

I prefer the TroutBead pegs from over all other methods for securing beads to the line because they allow the bead to slide down when a fish has it in its mouth for a better hook set. You can see how to use the BeadPegz method on my YouTube Channel Here – Coming Soon..

Bead Boxes

I put all my beads in a trout bead box. One of the best boxes is this large TroutBead box from Fish

Soft Steelhead Beads

Soft Plastic Eggs For Steelhead and Tout
Soft plastic Steelhead beads can be very good for steelhead and trout.

Soft steelhead beads are made out of softer plastic or rubber and they can also be a good bait for catching catch trout, steelhead, and salmon.

Soft steelhead beads go on the hook instead of the on the line and can be removed and changed more easily than hard beads.

Trout and steelhead may hold onto soft beads longer but they may also see the hook easier through the translucent bead and then avoid eating the soft beads.

There is a way to attach a soft steelhead bead on the line similar to how we rig the hard beads. You can see to do this on YouTube – HERE or for an easier method see this video – HERE

Soft beads are not used very often on the rivers because they do not seem to be as effective as hard beads.

Some of the best soft beads are:

BnR Tackle Soft Beads Pro Pack

This is a great soft bead pack that comes with a quick change rig system that some guys really like.

These soft trout beads look like reel eggs and they feel like them too. They are neutral buoyancy with a self-closing center hole for easy rigging.

Another very popular soft bead that I have used and liked is the Death Roe Soft Beads.

How To Rig Beads – 3 Best Bead Rigs

When fishing with beads I always position my bead 1.5″ to 2″ inches up from the hook for 2 reasons.

First and most importantly, the hook is less likely to be seen by the fish when it’s farther away from the bead which means more hookups.

Second, as the fish tries to inhale the bead the hook almost always gets caught on the outside of the lip which self hooks the fish which then decreases my chances of losing a fish to them spitting the hook out too fast.

If I go any longer than 2 inches I have found that I may miss more fish because the hook is too far away from the fish to self hook them.

Even if the bead is in their mouth the hook may not be in the mouth if it’s too far away because most fish will not swallow a hard bead deep enough to get hooked. And if you do hook a fish with the hook over 3 inches from the bead I tend to hook too many fish in the eye or the gill plate area which is not a good spot for holding onto the fish and you will lose more fish.

If I go shorter than 1.5 inches or with the bead touching the hook I tend to find that the hook goes too deep in their throat which makes it harder for releasing the fish unharmed or for just getting the hook out at all, which is why I never advise putting the hook and the bead too close together.

Some river guides believe that the hook too close to the bead will be seen too easily and the fish won’t bite it. They also believe that the bead can act as a leverage point at the lip and the hook can come out easier. Both of these I think are possible which is why I always have my hook 1.5″ to two inches from the bead.

I have also heard some people saying that a bare hook is considered snagging but in this case, there is never the intention to snag a fish and the fish are eating your beads so it’s not snagging.

In my opinion, having the hook away from the bead is better for the fish too because the hook usually gets caught on the outside of the mouth instead of deep in the throat of the fish.

Should your country, state, or province have rules that do not allow a bare hook to be used like this, some anglers will tie a piece of thread or yarn onto the hook so the hook is no longer bare and is now considered legal. If this is a concern in your area please check with your fish and game department to be sure.

Single And Double Bead Rigs

When fishing with beads I will use a single steelhead bead rig in water that is 3 to 8 feet deep, but when I fish water that is 4 to 10 feet deep, I will often use a double steelhead bead rig so that I can cover the bottom and cover higher up in the water column.

With the double steelhead bead rig, I will often use two different bead colors to see which one the fish prefer. If one color gets hit more than the other color it could mean that the fish prefer that color. But, it could also mean that that particular bead they want is in the strike zone more often than the other bead so it gets hit more.

If one bead is getting hit more often, instead of putting on two beads of the same color, I will keep switching the bead color on the one that doesn’t get hit until I find a color that they want. This way I have 2 colors on the line that are hot colors. You could also run 2 of the same colors if you wanted to see if that works.

Steelhead Bead Setup

Steelhead Bead Setup
A typical single steelhead bead setup for water 3 to 8 feet deep

This is my standard single trout bead rig that I use when guiding for steelhead or for trout on very big or fast rivers.

For trout, I will drop down to a 3 to 6-pound leader section at the bottom and for salmon, I will up to a 10 or 12-pound test leader.

This is the same for the leader diagram below.

Steelhead Bead Steup - 2 Bead Rig
2 Bead Rig – This is a steelhead bead setup with 2 beads for water between 5 and 10 feet deep

This is the 2 bead rig that I use when I’m guiding.

You could add a bead and bait combination instead of two beads.

It is up to you to experiment with which bait goes where but my rule of thumb is that my confidence bait goes on the bottom.

Trout Bead Setup – Bottom Bouncing Rig

Traditional Bottom Bouncing Rig for steelhead beads
This is a traditional bottom bouncing bead rig.

This is a traditional bottom bouncing rig that I use as a steelhead bead rig when fishing with beads in shallow and faster pools.

It can also be used in deeper and bigger rivers that are too deep for float fishing.

There are some other variations to set this up and to fishing with it which can be seen on my Bottom Bouncing page

Shallow Water Bead Setup – Advanced Bottom Bouncing Rig

Advanced Steelhead Bead Setup
With this steelhead bead setup, you could use 1 or two beads or use some other type of bait on your dropper tag. The second bait is optional.

This is my most productive steelhead bead rig when I am fishing with beads for trout or steelhead in smaller to medium-sized rivers where there is a lot of pocket and shallow runs.

This steelhead rig is an adaptation of an advanced nymphing setup used by myself and by world champion tournament fly anglers around the world.

This method is better than any other method I have used when fishing with beads in spots that are 12 inches to 4 feet deep.

This method gets your bead 6 inches to 1 foot off the bottom almost all the time which is where most fish feed. The added sighter up the line allows you to adjust your depths and see even the subtlest takes from trout and salmon.

There are a few things you need to know about this setup first if you want to fish it well which you can see on my Bottom Bouncing page.

How To Fish With Beads

Fishing with beads can be done using spinning reels, a baitcasting reel, or many guys that Centerpin Fish will use beads. If you want to learn to Centerpin fish better check out my page on Centerpin Fishing For Beginners.

There are two main methods when fishing with beads in rivers that I teach my clients.

Fishing with beads either requires using a float also known as float fishing or doing something known as bottom bouncing. Both these methods are great for catching trout, steelhead, and salmon in rivers and I will discuss them further below.

It is not advised to fish with beads that are stationary and held on the bottom by a heavy weight since the bead is hard, has no scent, and may be picked up and then spit out within seconds.

When fishing with beads you need to set the hook faster and more often since the steelhead beads are hard as a rock and the fish will pick them up and try to spit them out within a second or two. If you are slow on your hook sets you may miss more fish.

It’s also not advised to trot or check your steelhead beads too far ahead when using a float for the same reason.

If you are fishing with beads and you check or trot your bead way out in front of your float they will grab the bead and then spit out the bead before the float even moves, and this means you won’t even know that they were there. This happens more often than anglers realize when they trot too much with artificial baits.

If you are not sure what trotting or checking a float is and you want to know more about float fishing or better float and leader angels that will ensure that you catch more fish check out the page on Float Fishing.

Quick Change Trout Beads

One of the big downsides to fishing with beads is that in order to change your bead you often need to cut the hook off, then slide the bead off, then put a new bead on, then secure it in place, and then tie the hook back on.

That ends up taking a lot of time that could be better used to catch some fish. And on very cold days it’s even tougher to do when your fingers are freezing.

That is why I and many guides and the serious anglers that I know will pre-tie our bead rigs.

A pre-tied bead rig, also known as a bead leader, allows you to quickly make a change with only one knot.

I simply make up 10 to 20 pre-tied bead rigs when I’m at home and I secure them to a rig holder like the Lindy Rig holder in the picture below. You can usually get the Lyndy Rig Holder at this link.

I make my bead rig leader about 14 to 16 inches long. Remember that you might lose an inch or two when you tie it on so keep that in mind.

I will often double up this 12 slot rigger or I will have 2 or 3 of them for different sized beads and different colors.

Trout bead rig holder with pre made bead rigs
This is my Lindy rig holder full of pre-rigged bead leaders on it.

Bead Storage And Organization.

Home trout Bead Box
I store my beads at home in lager boxes but when on the river small pocket sized boxes are best.

I have a tone of beads! Lots of colors, sizes, and types of beads for all the different conditions. There is no way I could bring all my beads with me on a guide trip.

At home, I store all my beads in large bead boxes.

On the river I only take what i call day boxes which is just enough of an assortment of beads to last a few days or more and as the colors deplete I just add more.

These day boxes are small enough to fit into a fishing vest pocket or a fishing pack.

Bead box for day use storage
This is my on-the-river day bead box. I have two of them with me at all times. When this box is closed, it fits in the palm of my hand.

Guide Tip: Use a bead box that has each compartment covered.

This way if you drop it you wone be spending the next 30 minutes picking up all your beads and you won’t need to reorganize all of them.

Fishing With Beads In Lakes

I do not fish with beads in lakes and do not recommend fishing with beads in lakes or ponds because the beads have no scent, they sink, and they are very hard so any fish that will bite them will quickly spit the bead back out.

There are also many other baits that would be far more productive than fishing with beads in a lake so I would never use something that is less effective at catching fish.

Cool River Fishing Accessories

Simms Taco Bag

Simms Taco Bag

It’s a wet wader bag for storing your waders after a day on the water and it’s a mat to stand on to keep your feet dry when getting your waders on and off.

Duffel Bags and Stream Packs

SIMMS Duffel Bags and Stream Packs

Having a dedicated bag to pack and carry your waders, vests, boots, jackets, and more is a good idea. Waterproof and mesh bags are available.

Waterworks Release Tool

Waterworks-Lamson Ketchum Release Tool

Protects your flies from damage caused by forceps, This tool gets all hooks out easily. Even deep hooks come out with this tool.

Clip-on Magnifiers

When I flip these down to tie knots a lot of guys say ” I need to get some of those”. These are great for anyone that ties knots. Make sure they are lined up properly for the best view.

Got A Question About Fishing With Beads For trout Or Salmon

I have been guiding for over 20 years and I have been fishing with beads for longer than that. If you have a question, comment, or would like to share an idea or a tip, please let me know in the comments section below.

Tight Lines



  • Graham - River Guide / Instructor

    I am a full-time river fishing guide with over 20 years of guiding experience and I run one of the top river guide services with a team of great river guides. I have guided about 3000 anglers and this website is a compilation of the tips and methods that I teach my clients and other guides. Check the About Us page in the bottom menu for more about me and our river guide contributors.


  1. Where I trout fish at here in West Virginia is mostly lakes and the tailwaters
    of dams. These are almost always stocked trout. Could you use this bead fishing methods in these locations? Also would I use the 6-12 mm beads for the same water conditions?
    I have read a lot of your articles and they are very informative.
    I am almost 72 and just got into trout fishing this year.

    1. Hi Lonnie, Almost always what will work on wild trout will work on stocked trout and there is a chance that some fish would spawn in that tailwater current and the trout will be eating it so beads could be a good idea. If the water is very clear use 6mm and 8mm beads. I’m glad you liked the articles, there is more coming and I will be revising some of the old stuff to make it better. Good luck

  2. Although this method has been very successful for me, I’ve stopped using it of late because of all the fish that come off. I hook a fish, fight it, and then, it’s gone. This doesn’t happen, btw, when I fish other styles, such as Euro. Reading your article made me think that perhaps it’s the hook I’ve been using. For fishing medium sized streams for medium to large trout, is the Raven sedge hook still your hook. of choice and could the reason for all my lost fish be the fact that I’ve been using TMC 2488 hooks in sizes 14-18?

    1. Hey Alex,

      This is not an uncommon problem for many anglers and it does sound like a hook issue. Be sure to have your hook 1.5″ from the bead. If the hard bead is too close or touching the hook it can sometimes prevent hook penetration or even pry the hook out. If this is the case, trying a soft bead might be a good idea.

      If you are losing the fish during the fight it’s usually because your kook is tearing loose or you are giving them slack. If it’s tearing loose often you need a new type of hook.

      A larger wider gap hook such as a #12 0r #10 Raven Wide Gape Specimen hook might be a better option, many of my guides have switched to that hook because they feel it holds better. I still use the Raven Sedge hooks often, but I’ll often use a size 8 or 10 with a bead. The size 16 and 18 hooks will not penetrate well and therefore are prone to ripping out easier.

      The wider and the bigger the gap on the hook, the more flesh it grabs and the fish will stay on longer. If you see the upturned hook point on that Raven Specimen hook, that upturn tends to hold on better as well. This is why you will often see many of the high-end competition barbless fly hooks having an upturned point.

      Hope that helps, Good luck.


  3. Thanks for your reply, Graham.

    Could you tell me if your #1 choice of hook when fishing 6mm beads for trout would be a 10 Raven sedge hook? If so, what knot would you use to attach the hook to your leader (I’m especially interested in whether you would snell the hook)?

    Finally, thanks for the great website. There’s so much great information here!

    1. Hi Alex,

      I use the Raven Sedge hook or the Daiichi 1150 when I need a stealthy hook. This might be in low clear water or in very slow water when the trout or steelhead can see the hook or when they have plenty of time to investigate the bait, in which case they may see a bigger thicker hook.

      If you want the best hook for hooking and holding fish, try the Raven Wide Gape Specimen hook or another similar wide gap hook.

      Although I don’t normally use a snell knot, (I usually use a Double Davy, Improved clinch, or Trilene knot), a snell knot could be a good option and it may increase your hookups, or not. I may do a video on why or why not a snell knot could be better or worse but it’s too hard to explain in words. I would suggest doing a trial and error with the two knots to see which has the best hooking percentage and best holding percentage.

      Good Luck.

  4. I ordered Raven Sedge and Wide Gap hooks and my hookup ratio went way, way up. Thanks for the advice.

    Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on snelling vs. using a knot when fishing beads. A video or just a few words would be most welcome.

    1. That’s Great to hear Alex,

      Although I don’t normally use a snell knot, (I usually use a Double Davy, Improved clinch, or Trilene knot), a snell knot could be a good option and it may increase your hookups, or not. I may do a video on why or why not a snell knot could be better or worse but it’s too hard to explain in words. I would suggest doing a trial and error with the two knots to see which has the best hooking percentage and best holding percentage.

      Good luck


  5. Why use an offset hook when you can use a non offset like the glo bug hooks, I would think the offset causes some missed hook up, since they aren’t taking the hook into their mouth, and are smaller hooks likr size 14 better for soft beads pegged on the line?

    1. Hi Dean,

      I believe that most of the time the fish will be hooked on the outside of the mouth as the bead is inhaled into the mouth, therefore offset hook or not, as long as the hook is not too far from the bead it should still hook up the same. I’ve tried both, and have seen an equal hooking percentage. Small hooks and small gape hooks have a much lower hooking and holding percentage. Therefore, I would not recommend a size 14 hook, unless the fish are extremely hook shy.

      Many of my guides and buddies are using the Raven Wide Gape or a similarly shaped hook when using beads, and with good luck.


  6. I like fishing beads made from natural gemstones, like Stone Cold Beads. They’re allot like glass beads but stronger. They also come in several excellent natural colors. Best of all is the weight of an 8mm bead is the equivalency of a #4 split shot. Killer effective when bobber dogging or drifting off the bottom. Just thought I’d mention the stones since you didn’t cover them here. But then again I think Stone Cold Beads is the only company that manufactures them. Thanks for sharing the article, it was very informative.

  7. Hi Graham,

    Thanks so much for all the information and insight on your sites.

    Would it be acceptable to just add a worm on the hook in this bead setup to create a two bait rig? Or do you recommend other adjustments per your two bait article?


    1. Hi Michael,

      I’m not a huge fan of adding a bait to the hook with a bead, I prefer to let the bead do its job on its own. But, I have had clients ask me to try adding a worm, or a spawn sac, or even changing the hook to a nymph fly and the results are usually not any better than the bead on its own, and sometimes it can be worse.

      However, I have seen others do this set up where they use a worm or eggs sac on the hook, and it can work at times.

      One thing I have noticed is that if the water is super clear and low, or the fish are pressured or spooked easily, the less intrusive your presentation is the more effective it is. A bead and worm on the hook is a lot of stuff coming at the fish all at once and it’s unnatural, and that can prevent them from biting at times.

      I have used the 2 bead or two bait rigs where the baits are spread apart 12 to 20 inches (my preferred method) and I have struggled to get fish to bite and then switched to a single bead or single bait and started to catch fish immediately.

      Under dirtier water conditions or when the fish are aggressive multiple baits can be good and I almost always use a 2 bait rig under these conditions.

      When fishing or when guiding, there is a lot of trial and error, or try and succeed. In your case, try a hook with no worm through the pool first and cover the spot well. Then try adding a worm or other bait to the hook and see what happens, if it works great, if not, hit the next pool with the worm and bead first and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, start cycling through your baits to figure out what they want.

      Good luck,


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