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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

By Catch--Multiple Steelhead While Trout Fishing

Just Three Days Later

You know fishing was good last outing when you're out again just three days later.  This outing materialized out of a recent phone call from a guy I'd crossed paths with a couple years ago.  He's a keen fisherman that fishes both gear and fly.  As he'd never caught a steelhead on a fly he thought maybe I could show him the ropes.  I probably burst his bubble a little when I said I wanted to trout fish but the consolation was that picking up a steelhead as by-catch was a possibility.

Different Holds?

I led him straight to the zone that was hot the last time I was out.  The river was a little lower and the depth not quite enough to keep big numbers in this shallow to moderate depth riffle.  We fished from above and came up blank while touching a couple of trout.  Then we moved around some trees on the bank to have another go at the riffle from below as it was very good from this vantage point last time out.  I was soon into a couple of trout, one of which was a decent brown.  I thought I was pretty much done with the slower water so I started to move back down while attempting to throw out to the seam where the slower water joined the main flow.

Huge Brown

The biggest fish often position themselves with access to escape to the biggest water.  As my indicator drifted down a monster brown sucked in my fly and took to the air twice straight in front of me.  I started yelling for a camera man right away.  This fish was probably in the 25 inch range and thick.  He peeled me into my backing while jumping another two times and running toward the willow trees at my bank.  I chased and ran toward mid river to hold him away.  This manoeuvre worked as he turned back towards mid river and ran downstream.  Unfortunately there were more willows below that split the river's flow and he darted through a gap in these willows.  It was going to have to be a surgical operation if I were to pull him out of a very strong current and back through the gap in the willows.  I wound the line up fairly short in preparation for my next move but as I went to lead him through the gap the hook sunk into a good sized branch and it was over.  I really wanted to get a close look at this brown.


We moved downstream and split up the run with me taking what I thought was the poorer lower portion.  First cast my indicator dips within ten or fifteen feet and I'm into a very fresh late winter steelie.  I had some troubles closing the deal but eventually led him to a back eddy where he tipped onto his side and he was mine.  A bit of quick video and this 12 pound range steelhead was released back to the river.

New Holding Water

Last outing the top of this run was a little too strong to hold fish or to present a fly decently.  My fishing partner this day had thoroughly worked the top of the run but didn't move above a big sweeper where there was a soft water eddy.  I moved up around him and started to probe.  Unlike last trip, I could present a fly nicely and the fish were stacked in here.  After poking four trout in rapid succession, I called my buddy over to clean up the scraps.  He managed one more and then things turned cold.

More Steel

We moved further upriver to a new run.  A guided crew had fished all our water before we got to it, including this run.  I was the tail gunner for this corner pool and mopped up nicely with a trout on briefly.  A couple casts later I was into my second steelhead of the morning.  This one booked it.  It took all my fly line and probably another 100 yards of backing.  Just when I thought he would hold up, he would turn and run further downriver around the corner.  I eventually beached a fish that had good colour for this time of year, although it carried noticeably less depth than the previous fish.  This one was likely in the 10 lb range.

First Steelie on the Fly

A half dozen or so steelhead were holding in the next run.  It wasn't long until one of them was on and unfortunately, back off, my partner's line.  It was his first steelhead hooked on the fly and he seemed pretty excited about the inauguration.  We both managed to hook another trout or two before jetting home early.  Two great days of fishing back to back--gotta love it.


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