Fly Rods and Steelhead
pity the man that comes easy to the sport of steelheading. This is
the guy we've all heard about, the one that buys a fiberglass fly
rod and on the first day, before he has figured out how to use it,
lands a trophy steelhead of over twenty pounds.
one hand you might think that the poor fellow would be hooked for
life, but really, where does he have to go after a fish like that?
Imagine if he caught that fish on a dry fly! The lost soul may as
well hang up his chunk of fiberglass and pick up golf.
true and proper way to become obsessed with the square tail takes
years of pounding empty water and miles of river trails. The best
steelheaders I know have been quoted that the fewer steelhead they
catch, the more they fish.
all like to catch a few fish every time out but I think that would
take away from times we actually do land one. I mean what if every
few casts resulted in a violent take from a hot steelhead? They
would be no better than maybe a Pink or Chum salmon. No, steelhead
are fish of a thousand casts and rightly so.
good steelheaders are well rounded fishermen. With this I mean
that when they can't fish for steelies they will fish for other
species of sport fish. In fact the best rods I know came to
steelheading after going through the learning process with other
first squaretail came innocently enough in my eleventh year. I was
fishing for cutts in a small stream close to my home with a nine
foot fiberglass fly rod and a jar of single eggs. I fished with no
weight, a floating line and a short leader. The technique was
simple, pierce the eggs onto the small hook, pendulum swing them
into the current and allow them to drift naturally with the
particular stream, as with most small streams, was filled with
weeds and obstructions. In those days cutts were plentiful and the
limit was liberal. I was cleaning up on the little slash throats
when suddenly the rod was nearly jerked from my hands. I couldn't
allow the fish to fight too much as he would surely tangle in the
weeds. I did the only thing I could and yarded on the fish until
it lay ten feet up the bank. Promptly it received a headache from
the closet rock I could find.
and proud I rode home that night with a stringer full of cutthroat
and the biggest trout of my life jammed in the rat trap of my
bike. I had no idea that I had just caught my first steelhead, as
far as I was concerned, this was a large lost rainbow trout, which
some how found its way into the creek. It wasn't until a few years
later that I realized what I had caught and killed and it wasn't
for a few more years that I caught another.
now hold a very special place in my heart. I had to graduate from
specie to specie and fishing method to method before I finally
settled on fly fishing for steelhead as the pinnacle. It began
with a bobber and worm for squaw fish and crappie, to a spinner
for trout and then onto a fly. Next came a bar rod for salmon,
followed by a drift rod and then again a fly. Somewhere in there I
came onto sturgeon and lowly carp as well as large mouth Bass.
wouldn't go so far as to say that steelhead are harder to catch
than others. In fact when in the right conditions, they are
probably one of the easiest fish to catch. I think for me what
makes them so special is the method that I get to use and the
beautiful places they call home. There simply is nothing better,
in my mind, than feeling the hard
aggressive take of a hot steelhead. Especially after having fished
a beautiful river, often for many fruitless hours and enduring the
mental game of not hooking fish.
I still spend more time searching for others species of fish but I
cannot think of another that will ever fulfill the spirit and mind
the way that the steelhead does.
to the GOC