Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Steelhead

As the guiding season is winding down, and I am getting my fill of Montana trout, I get an itch that just needs to be scratched. It starts as just a thought while rowing my boat down the river in late summer, but by the first bitter cold days of October I have a nagging urge to drive hundreds of miles to stand waist deep in rivers casting to fish I may not see for weeks at a time. Maddening yes, but once you get the first steelhead grab of the season, they have you hook, line, and sinker.
Steelhead are a fish like no other, running hundreds of miles upstream from the pacific, past predators and dams, in their quest to reach the spawning grounds. Beginning in late summer, steelhead migrate out of the pacific moving through rivers like silver ghosts, slipping up fast riffles and resting in slow tail-outs. Some days they chase and eat flies with reckless abandon, while other days you can't buy a bite. O the joys of fishing for steelhead.
It is hard to beat working a good steelhead run. Cast and step, cast and step, repeating till you hit the end of the run. Often times it takes an hour plus to hit every little bucket and sweet spot, allowing you to be in tune with the water as you slowly swing away. When your fly drops into the prime buckets you can feel the line almost come alive, dancing with the hydraulics of the river. You hold your breath when you hit those sweet spots, hoping that your fly's swing is interrupted by the pull of big wild steel.

As we are leaving the grips of the first major winter storm of the season I am getting pumped for another steelhead trip this coming week. New flies are tied, the truck is filled to the brim with camping gear, and food is prepped. This time tomorrow I will be off to Washington in search of new water and hopefully some steel. 

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