So here we are in 2015, and what a year it's shaping up to be. With weather that has been slightly above frozen, it has been awful tempting to go and chase some steelhead. Every chance that I thought the weather would hold out for me, I have packed the truck or hopped in with another crazy, usually Jed or Ricky Bobby, who also believes standing in a river in the middle of January is not only a good idea but exactly what they want to do. And based on the fact that I can count the number of people I have seen on the river over the last month on one hand, we are few and far between. Just for the chance that maybe, if you stand in that river long enough swinging and stepping, you will feel the tug or pull of a steelhead stopping your fly.
Being able to step into a steelhead run just over an hours drive from the house makes day trips very do-able. Western Montana is one of the premier areas for access to world class fly fishing and I have always preached about how special the immediate area which I live in is. My increased desire to chase steel and how near they run to my house from the Pacific ocean is only making my love for this area and fish grow.
|We may need a bigger net...|
I am still green when it comes to steelhead fishing. With off and on success over the last three years, I am anything but proficient at catching steelhead on a regular basis. These last few weeks though, I feel like I have had a major breakthrough in my steelhead fishing. For the first time I am feeling very confident on not only the water I choose to fish, but also the flies that I tie and use. As with anything in life the more time you spend doing something the better you become, and trust me I have spent my fair share of fishless/biteless hours standing in a river trying to figure out what drives these 'unicorns' to bite. Yes there are good and bad days, but I feel like the good are beginning to at least approach equaling the tough days. If the steelhead gods are willing this trend will continue into the rest of the year.
|Bankside fires are sometimes a necessity|
Fishing for steelhead is an act that allows for plenty of reflection time. Cast, step, cast, step, whistle some Grateful Dead, and think about all the craziness and beauty in life seems to be the constant theme throughout the day. Often times when fishing a run with someone no words are spoken unless our slow crawl downstream is interrupted by a fish or when we reflect, over a beer or swig of Tullamore Dew, on how we should have got a grab behind that boulder we covered with swing after swing. It is very much a solo adventure while working a run, and a shared experience and sense of elation when one of us swing up a fish. Either way we keep moving onwards towards the next good run or tuck tail for the warm comforts of a bar room and a belly-buster burger. Already making plans for who has coffee duty and which run we want to fish at first light the following morning.