We headed out to the coast last week to scratch that steelhead itch that so often strikes in early spring. With limited options within the state this time of year, heading west to the coast is about as good as it gets when a steelhead trip feels right. Here is a photo blog of our short two day trip.
The fish pictured above came with a story. After the strike, she bolted downstream straight at my fishing buddy who was working the run downstream, nearly wrapping around his legs and sending him scrambling for the bank. At the same time the extra fly line I had laying at my feet cleared the guides with alarming speed and looped around the reel, jamming tight. I sprinted downstream to keep from breaking off, at which point the fish turned around and charged back upstream straight at me. The change between running downstream and switching directions and running backwards back upstream was just too much and resulted in a nice fall backwards, frantically stripping line to keep tight the whole way down. Landing in about a foot of water, I kept my rod tip high and managed to keep tight to the fish before scrambling back to my feet. Once back up I managed to untangle the line from my reel, and after a few more spirited runs was cradling this beauty for a quick photo shoot before the release. Having my waders and wading jacket strapped tight saved my bacon, and kept water from flowing into the tops of my waders. Aside from a damp wrist, I stayed completely dry even after taking a swim in a rainforest river.
That’s coastal steelhead on the fly. Hope you enjoy the photos from our trip.
Winter steelheading with the spey rod is all about the experience. Making the cast. Mending the line. Slight modifications to the swing to slow the fly down, get the presentation just right. Sometimes you hook up, mostly you don’t. Aside from some bull trout, this day we went fishless.