The first fish of the year comes after several failed attempts. It’s even sweeter since it happened with the fly rod. To top it off it’s not the only fish that was landed!
I have been poking around a tributary of one of the S rivers in search of metal. My initial thoughts was to master the centerpin with my cured salmon roe. This only proved to be successful for Coho. What I was after was winter steelhead. If been fishing a couple of times and didn’t bother to post reports as the water was high, fish not in, or mostly Coho around. It’s been a learning experience for sure but Thao T. and I decided to try a new spot as things were blown out on a northern river after the big rains from a week ago. We knew this would bring fish in but it also brought out the crowds.
Since out initial exploratory outing proved to be un-successful and limited on time as there is a night closure on this river, the next opportunity was to fish today. I opted to go back to the fly rod and fish beads. I’ve done well using these in Alaska and thought it’d be worth a try as I’ve heard steelhead are egg gobblers and highly territorial.
The water was high, but clear and moving at a fast clip but I decided to shorten the leader, put on the adequate shot and use a single bead. This proved to be the right set up as I was able to connect with 6 steelhead and 1 dolly or cutthroat which I couldn’t tell as it got hooked on its side and self released before I could get a good look at it. Of those steelhead that I did connect, 5 were landed, 3 release and 2 kept for the dinner table.
Comparing the table fare of steelhead to salmon, I remember why I don’t prefer it to a king or coho. I’ll opt to release those fish next time or smoke them up. The texture is mild and softer flesh, most likely because the two bright fish I kept were hens. Maybe a buck will taste better but mostly reminded me of a toned down trout. The fun level was however excellent as I felt that I have a much better grasp of holding water, and fishing techniques.
This type of fly fishing reminds me of nymphing free stone creeks and small rivers in Colorado. I love moving water and the solitude and peace of finding pretty fish in backcountry settings. I won’t be able to try again until Friday, so hoping to find some more willing players.
Rod: Redington Predator 890-4
Reel: Galvan T8
Line: Rio Versitip
Pegged corky strike indicator, short stout leader down to 10# Maxima and small trout bead to match the egg hatch.